Date of Award


Document Type



Political Science

First Reader

Dr. Hal Bass

Second Reader

Dr. Douglas Reed

Third Reader

Professor Margaret Reed


Prior to the November 7 election, incumbent Republican Jay Dickey aspired to maintain his eight-year hold on the fourth congressional district seat, while challenger, Mike Ross, a Democratic State Senator, had high hopes for a partisan restoration. In the end, Ross upset the incumbent carrying 51 percent of the 212,160 votes cast, a narrow 4, 126-vote margin. This paper assesses the strategic, tactical, and fiscal factors contributing to Ross's success in overriding incumbency advantages and reclaiming the seat for the Democrats. More specifically, it compares and contrasts candidate and noncandidate communications. Indeed, communication was the key component to these coordinated campaigns. In the end, it was the candidate whose message was communicated the most effectively that won the campaign.

First I will outline the background of this project and explain the method and procedures in which the data was collected and organized. Second, in order to make sense of the data that was collected, I will consider the make-up and background of the fourth district. Next, I will overview the background of the congressional candidates that shaped their campaigns. Then, I will assess an overview of the 2000 campaign: efforts made by Dickey and Ross. This inquiry entails a focus on campaign finance and the media through which communication was made. Finally, I will brake down the hard and soft money figures and explain the impacts that each had on this competitive congressional election.



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