UNC-CH political science studies show how Edwards beat Faircloth

October 18, 1999

Oct. 19, 1999, CHAPEL HILL -- A strong coordinated state party campaign, as well as more than $2 million in campaign spending by national Democratic committees, contributed to the 1998 victory of U.S. Sen. John Edwards, according to a study of the campaign by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill experts.

"There is no doubt that Edwards illustrates the ability of a well-financed, intelligent and telegenic candidate to triumph in modern American politics without having to climb the traditional party ladder,'' write Dr. Thad Beyle and Ferrel Guillory. "Still his success in 1998 can be attributed to the Democratic Party's response to the dynamics of competitive two-party politics.''

Beyle and Guillory conducted their study as part of a nationwide examination of party and interest group spending in U.S. House and Senate races in 1998. Their findings are published in the October issue of North Carolina Data Net and were presented at a panel discussion last month at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. Guillory is director of the UNC-CH Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life. Beyle, associate director of the program, is Pearsall professor of political science. Several graduate and undergraduate students participated in this case study of a political campaign.

Here is a rundown of key findings:

"Even before the party primaries, Democratic legislative and congressional campaign operatives negotiated the formation of a coordinated campaign committee that eventually worked to Edwards' benefit," the researchers said. "The paradox is that while Edwards is the antithesis of the traditional party candidate, he owes at least some credit for his victory to state Democrats acting as an organized political party.''
-end-
Contact: David Williamson, 919-962-8596

Note:
Beyle can be reached at (w) 919-962-0404 or (h) 919-942-1281
Guillory can be reached at (w) 919-962-5936 or (h) 919-782-6798

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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