Election Campaigns

A. Running for political office is very expensive B. National elections select all representatives and 1/3 of the senators are held every 2 years C. Senators & representatives spend huge amounts of time and effort to raise money for their campaigns D. People running for big office positions need to have access to very big amounts of money to run their campaigns E. The presidential campaign isn’t only costly, it is also very time consuming and I very complex process, the reward for the winner is the most powerful position in government.

II. Electing President A. Candidates for president begin organizing their stuff for their campaign almost a year before hand B. Primary races in the spring help to narrow the field of candidates C. Following the national conventions in late summer, the presidential campaigns become intense by early September. D. The first Tuesday after the first Monday of the month of November is election day. III. Electoral Votes and the States A. To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 of the 530 available electoral votes. B.

The total electoral vote is equal to the number of representatives and senators from all states, plus 3 votes from Washington, D. C. C. Each state’s electoral vote is the total number of its senators and representatives in congress. D. The candidate who wins the greatest number of popular votes in any state usually receives that entire states electoral vote. E. To win the presidency, a candidate must pay special attention throughout the campaign to those states with large populations. This is because the larger population a state has the more electoral votes they get.

F. A presidential candidate who won the votes of the 11 largest states would get the 270 votes needed to win the presidency. G. The bigger states will be visited more by the candidate during the campaign and its citizens will also see and hear more advertisements promoting the candidate. H. When these largest states appear to be divided between contenders, the other states with smaller electoral votes become very important to them. IV. Campaign Organization A. A strong organization is essential to running a presidential campaign. B.

Heading the organization is a campaign manager, who is responsible for overall strategy and planning. C. In the national office, individuals handle relations with television, radio, and the print media. They also manage the money aspect of the campaign. D. On the state and local levels, state party chairperson usually coordinates a campaign. E. Local party officials and field workers contact voters, hold local rallies, and distribute information on their selected candidates. V. Television and the Candidates image A. The image, or mental picture, that voters have of a candidate is very important.

The candidate who is perceived as more “presidential” has the decided advantage on Election Day. B. The mass media are very powerful in any campaign because they can create both positive and negative images for the candidates C. The most important communication tool for a presidential candidate is the TV, Studies have shown that people are more likely to see or hear what they do on TV then by reading the news paper or listening to the radio. D. Just as important as candidates’ appearances on TV commercials are their appearances on the news. TV is now the most commonly used source of news for most Americans. E. T.

V coverage is the main way millions of citizens have of knowing how a campaign is progressing. F. Another way candidates use TV in presidential campaigns is to participate in debates. G. Because they come late in the campaign, debates often affect the voters who are undecided. Both parties know that these voters may determine the winner of the election. VI. Financing Campaigns A. Until the 1970’s, candidates for public office relied on contributions from business organizations, labor unions, and interested individuals. This system gave wealthy individuals and groups the opportunity to wield a great deal of political power.

B. The federal campaign act of 1971 provided for a new system of campaign financing for federal elections based on three principles 1) public funding of presidential elections, (2) limitations on the amounts presidential candidates could spend on their campaigns, and (3) public disclosure of how much candidates spend to get elected. C. Under these laws, business organizations and labor unions were prohibited from making direct contributions but individuals could contribute up to $1,000 to a candidates primary or general election campaign VII.

Political Action Committees A. The new election campaign laws encouraged the growth of political actions committees(PAC’s) B. A PAC is an organization designed to support political candidates with campaign contributions. C. An individual may contribute up to $5,000 to a PAC. A PAC may not contribute more than $5,000 to a single candidate; it may take contributions to as many candidates as it wishes. VIII. Serious questions raised a. The election of 1996 raised questions about campaign finance, especially the laws governing so-called “soft money.

” b. In 1979 party officials has complained that campaign finance legislation was making fundraising difficult. Congress responded with laws enabling parties to raise unlimited amounts id money for general purposes, not designated to particular candidates (soft money) a. In the 2000 campaign soft money spending reached new heights, with both parties targeting specific campaigns. c. Soft money is controversial because of the amount spent, questionable way it is raised, and the lack of accounting as to how it is spent. d.

Efforts to limit the influence of soft money in campaigns began in the mid-1990s but until recently have met with little success in congress. e. Presidential candidates may accept federal funding for their campaigns. If they do, and all major party presidential candidates since 76’ have they are limited in how much they spend. f. Under federal election laws, candidates, political action committees, and political parties keep records of contributions and report to the Federal Election Commission all contributions over $100.