Born to Run; Origins of the Political Career

Overview

What makes young aspiring politicians take the leap and enter the electoral arena? Born to Run tells the stories of nine young politicians from all walks of life who enter races at the state and local levels in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Georgia, Nebraska, and Maine. Across the board, Gaddie finds a great range of motivations, strategies, and success rates among his carefully selected group. He doesn't rely strictly on interviews (although they provide lots of colorful detail), but hit the campaign trail along with his...

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Born to Run: Origins of the Political Career

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Overview

What makes young aspiring politicians take the leap and enter the electoral arena? Born to Run tells the stories of nine young politicians from all walks of life who enter races at the state and local levels in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Georgia, Nebraska, and Maine. Across the board, Gaddie finds a great range of motivations, strategies, and success rates among his carefully selected group. He doesn't rely strictly on interviews (although they provide lots of colorful detail), but hit the campaign trail along with his subjects to observe firsthand the pressures and challenges with which a new candidate is faced. Five years of fieldwork are amplified by survey data on candidates, legislators, and activists that bear out in greater numbers what Gaddie discovered on the ground. Working in the tradition of Richard Fenno's esteemed Home Style, Born to Run contributes to developing a more comprehensive model of political ambition that accounts for the origins of aspiration and the uncertainties that accompany every political career, but especially the early ones. Born to Run is irresistible for students of the same age as some of the candidates, invaluable to anyone who has studied campaigns and elections from the top down, and intriguing to anyone who wants insight into some potential rising stars within both the Democratic and Republican parties.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Given that America's weak organizational parties leave much of politics subject to the ambition of potential officeholders, this book offers fresh insight into a much neglected question in American campaign and electoral politics. Highly recommended.
Booknotes
Keith Gaddie has done us a great service in undertaking the extensive effort that was required to research and write this book. He points us toward the vital importance of a qualitative understanding of politics. . . . He shows us that the American politcal system has the great virtue of attracting young citizens to public life and giving them a chance to succeed.
Rhodes Cook
Keith Gaddie has written a wonderful book about the new era of self-starting candidates and their experiences in campaigning and governing at the state legislative level. It is a fast-paced combination of intriguing personal stories, detailed research, and insightful conclusions. . . . Most definitely, two thumbs up.
Hastings Wyman
In Born to Run, Keith Gaddie displays a solid knowledge of political science, American history, and grass-roots politics as it's actually practiced in such disparate locales as Georgia, Oklahoma, Maine, and Wisconsin. He's also got a good ear for the personal narrative in this highly readable and very informative book.
CHOICE
Given that America's weak organizational parties leave much of politics subject to the ambition of potential officeholders, this book offers fresh insight into a much neglected question in American campaign and electoral politics. Highly recommended.
Richard Fenno
Keith Gaddie brings scholarship, a keen observer's eye, and political savvy to these fascinating, close-up studies of nine young politicians—their ambitions, calculations, campaigns, triumphs, and disappointments. For any young person thinking about getting involved in electoral politics and wondering, 'What's it like?' this engaging book is the place to begin.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742519275
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/2003
  • Series: Campaigning American Style Series
  • Edition number: 240
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Keith Gaddie is professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Foreword by David L. Boren Chapter 2 I Political Ambitions, Political Careers Chapter 3 II Lifecycles and Ambitions Chapter 4 III A Campaign (and a Precampaign) Chapter 5 IV The Life and Times of Joe from Minocqua Chapter 6 V Learning to Legislate Chapter 7 VI Match and Rematch Chapter 8 VII Legacy Chapter 9 VIII Dirigo Chapter 10 IX The Man in the Middle Chapter 11 X The Man with the Plan Chapter 12 XI Ambition's Edge Part 13 Appendix: A Note on the Research Technique

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