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Battle for the Big Sky
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Battle for the Big Sky
Representation and the Politics of Place in the Race for the US Senate


Other Titles in:
Congress | Elections

November 2014 | 280 pages | CQ Press
Battle for the Big Sky delves into one of the few competitive races of the 2012 election: the US Senate campaign in Montana. Author David C.W. Parker was granted exceptional access by both candidates over the 21 months preceding the election, allowing him to tell the story of the race in rare and fascinating detail, while also exploring the impact of Citizens United and so-called "dark money" on the campaign. The Montana setting offers readers a view into the rising political influence of the West, the importance of "place" in politics, and the impact of congressional styles and constituent relationships on campaigns and elections. Parker skillfully weaves political analysis into his narrative and places the race in the broader context of congressional elections and the research literature.
 
Chapter 1: What Happened in Montana Won’t Stay in Montana
Do Campaigns Matter? Montana Votes ‘Yes’

 
The Rise of the West

 
Building Constituent Connections

 
A Ringside Seat

 
 
Chapter 2: Montana: The Last, Best Place?
Place-Based Connections

 
“One of Us”

 
Montana: The Place

 
Montana and the Feds: A Love-Hate Relationship

 
Montana: The People

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 3: Jon Tester’s Creating a Buzz
Prepolitical Careers and Representational Style

 
The Dirt Farmer from Big Sandy

 
Jon Tester Goes to Helena

 
Going Belly to Belly with Senator Burns

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 4: Denny Rehberg: A Man in a Hurry
The Billings Rancher

 
Forget Me Not: Denny the Insurgent

 
Denny and Max

 
Montana’s Lone Congressman

 
Two Early Political Careers, Two Different Paths

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 5: Representational Style: How Congressman Rehberg and Senator Tester Govern
Home Styles in the Big Sky

 
Washington Work

 
Explaining Washington Work to Constituents

 
Home Styles and Town Halls

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 6: Campaigning in a Citizens United World: The Early Days of the Race
Priming and Framing

 
Farmer Jon or Barack Tester; Rancher Denny or Irresponsible Dennis?

 
Citizens United: More Money, Less Control

 
The Pledge That Wasn’t

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 7: What Voters Know, How They Decide, and When Campaigns Matter
How Individuals Make Voting Decisions in Congressional Elections

 
Montana: Independent Voters Facing a Rich Information Environment

 
Representational Relationships: What Did Montanans Know and When Did They Know it?

 
Talking Politics: The Bozeman Focus Groups

 
Reinforcing an Information Advantage

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 8: The Message Matters: The Politics of Personality and Issues
Do Campaigns Matter? What Political Science Says

 
Rehberg’s Decision

 
Information Advantages and Voter Learning: How Personality Trumped Issues and Resources

 
The Final Stretch

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 9: The End Game
How the Campaign Mattered

 
The Democratic Brand

 
It’s the Economy, Stupid?

 
“Responsible” Decision Making: The Politics of Representational Style

 
Dan Cox: Spoiler?

 
The Democratic Ground Game

 
A Final Look

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 10: Lessons Learned
Future Directions

 
Conclusion

 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2


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ISBN: 9781483368634
£25.99

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