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Local Elections and the Politics of Small-Scale Democracy$
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J. Eric Oliver, Shang E. Ha, and Zachary Callen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691143552

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691143552.001.0001

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Who Runs for Local Office?

Who Runs for Local Office?

(p.87) Chapter 3 Who Runs for Local Office?
Local Elections and the Politics of Small-Scale Democracy

J. Eric Oliver

Shang E. Ha

Zachary Callen

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the types of people who run for office and the types of campaigns they run. It examines the impact of factors such as personal ambition, civic responsibility, mobilizing issues, personal gain, and political indignation by looking at a large sample of local politicians (i.e., unsuccessful candidates and elected officials) from the greater Chicago metropolitan area. The small size, limited scope, and low bias of most Chicago-area municipal governments mean that these local politicians, like local voters, tend to be stakeholders in their communities. They are very concerned with issues of economic development and quality of life, yet are drawn into public affairs primarily from a sense of civic duty and an attachment to their towns. They are motivated less by ideology, partisanship, or even personal ambition, than by a public-spirited commitment to sustaining the quality of their communities.

Keywords:   local elections, voter choice, political participation, municipal governments, local politicians, political candidates

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