Elections and Campaigns Assignment
Some U.S. House districts, such as U.S. House District 7 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., are overwhelmingly Republican. Drawn to include western parts of Houston, the district was represented by George H.W. Bush, who went on to serve as President of the United States, then Bill Archer, who served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
First elected in 2000, Congressman John Culberson (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. has represented District 7 for the past 15 years. Though widely regarded as one of the most conservative members of Congress, Culberson had to defeat primary opponents who said he wasn’t conservative enough.Professional Custom Writing Services from the Experts!
Meanwhile, to the surprise of many local political observers, Hillary Clinton carried District 7 over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
This fall Congressman Culberson will face a challenge from Democratic nominee Lizzie Fletcher (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
For this assignment, you’re going to become a campaign manager.
Choose one of these two candidates (Culberson or Fletcher) and design a campaign to win this fall’s congressional election. Write this assignment as a 2 – 5 page memo (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (but with cited sources) from you, the campaign manager, to your candidate. Outline the race for them, how much money you think they need to raise, how you will raise it for them, what you propose to spend it on, what issues they should talk about, how you want to deliver their message, etc.
Some things to keep in mind:
The 7th District is pretty Republican. I see two possible factors that could make this year different. One is the increasing unpopularity of the always-volatile President Donald Trump, especially in a generally Republican district that voted against him. Another is Hurricane Harvey – which hit the 7th District especially hard. Action by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flooded hundreds of houses in Culberson’s district, and victims want somebody to blame.
Cong. Culberson is an incumbent seeking reelection. Read in your text about the advantages of incumbency.
Ms Fletcher is a challenger, but challengers have certain advantages. Culberson has a 17-year record in Congress to criticize. Fletcher doesn’t. Congress, as an institution, isn’t well liked (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
The 7th District is pretty conservative. Should Fletcher downplay her liberal views to try to get anti-Trump Republicans to cross over and vote for her, or play to the Democratic base to try to drive up Democratic turnout?
Fletcher won the Democratic nomination in a bitter primary election, defeating Bernie Sanders acolyte Laura Moser in a huge disappointment to labor unions and the Democratic Party’s left wing.
Not everybody who lives in district will vote in this election. Some are under 18 years old, or they’re not U.S. citizens. Some simply won’t register or show up. How do you target people who are going to vote in this election?
What sort of people live in your candidate’s district. What motivates them?
What is your candidate’s background and experience? What will be his or her key issues?
How much money will you need? How will you raise it? How will you spend it?
This can be a challenging assignment, but it can also be a lot of fun. Keep in mind that campaigning is more art than science, and that there are few absolutely right or wrong answers. If I asked five campaign professionals to do this assignment for the same candidate, I would probably get five totally different campaign strategies (and they’d charge me a lot of money).
Hint: Remember, this is a memo to your client, not an essay about your client. Talk to your client. Do not spend the first page telling them where they were born, where they went to college or how many kids they have – they know this already. Talk to them about your strategy to win the election for them.
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