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Campaign Crises: Detours on the Road to Congress

R. Sam Garrett
Campaign Crises: Detours on the Road to Congress
ISBN: 978-1-58826-671-2
2009/220 pages/LC: 2009026974
A related title:  Inside Political Campaigns: Chronicles—and Lessons—from the Trenches edited by James R. Bowers and Stephen Daniels
"Provides meaningful insight into how competing candidates interact, about how campaigns evolve, and about who carries advantage into election day."—James M. Glaser, Political Science Quarterly

"An informative, enlightening case study of an overlooked aspect of congressional elections. Highly recommended."—Choice

"An excellent book. Garrett draws on extensive interviews with political professionals to highlight aspects of the campaign process that are too often missed by detached scholars.”—Michael Burton, Ohio University

"Garrett has crafted an innovative book that both enlightens and entertains. Providing first-rate analyses and adding important layers to our understanding, he helps unpack the dynamics behind the contact sport of electioneering."—Burdett Loomis, University of Kansas

"Delving into the hearts and minds of consultants in the know, Garrett offers an insightful look at the tense moments that make or break campaigns. Anyone interested in what happens to candidates on the campaign trail will enjoy this excellent book."—Leah Murray, Weber State University 


Choice Outstanding Academic Book!

How do sleepy congressional campaigns become heated battles? What happens behind the scenes during pivotal moments?

Sam Garrett explores the dynamic process of electioneering by focusing on the insights and activities of political professionals: the consultants, party officials, staffers, and others who make a career out of campaigning. As his analysis makes clear, how these experts handle crises—be they real, imagined, or manufactured by or for the competition—often shapes electoral outcomes. 


R. Sam Garrett is a research fellow at American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, as well as an analyst with the Congressional Research Service.


  • Campaigns, Crises, and Modern US Politics.
  • What Crises Are and Why They Matter.
  • Campaign Leadership and Strategy During Crises.
  • Recognizing and Creating Crises: The Cleland-Chambliss Race.
  • An Environment of Crisis: The Torricelli-Forrester-Lautenberg Race.
  • A Crisis of Epic Proportions: The Wellstone-Coleman-Mondale Race.
  • Subtle Crises and Fair Fights: The Cantwell-Gorton Race.
  • Conclusion.
  • Appendix.