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Congress and the Election Process NORPAC You May Recall.. Members of Congress meet each year in Washington, D.C. Members of Congress meet each year in.

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Presentation on theme: "Congress and the Election Process NORPAC You May Recall.. Members of Congress meet each year in Washington, D.C. Members of Congress meet each year in."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Congress and the Election Process NORPAC

3 You May Recall.. Members of Congress meet each year in Washington, D.C. Members of Congress meet each year in Washington, D.C. Each Congress has a two-year cycle between elections, consisting of 2 sessions. Each Congress has a two-year cycle between elections, consisting of 2 sessions.

4 Elections to the 3 branches of Government Legislative – Every 2 years for the House of Representatives and every 6 for the Senate Legislative – Every 2 years for the House of Representatives and every 6 for the Senate Executive – Every 4 years; Cabinet appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate Executive – Every 4 years; Cabinet appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate Judicial – No election; appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate Judicial – No election; appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate

5 Congressional Turnover: Past Six Years (New Members of Congress) 45% SENATE 48% HOUSE

6 Shifting Population Gained Seats Lost Seats

7 Congressional Elections How many times does a Congressional candidate have to win an election to come in to office? (a) Once (b) Twice (c) Three Times How many times does a Congressional candidate have to win an election to come in to office? (a) Once (b) Twice (c) Three Times The Answer is.. The Answer is.. Any of the above! (next slide) Any of the above! (next slide)

8 Types of Election: Primary Primary Election – a candidate is chosen among other candidate(s) of the same party and an election is held to determine who their party wants to represent them. Primary Election – a candidate is chosen among other candidate(s) of the same party and an election is held to determine who their party wants to represent them. A Primary may be held even if there is nobody running against a candidate in their party. A Primary may be held even if there is nobody running against a candidate in their party. Why would there be an election if there’s nobody running against someone? Why would there be an election if there’s nobody running against someone? One reason is so that a write-in candidate can run against the name formally written on the ballot One reason is so that a write-in candidate can run against the name formally written on the ballot

9 Types of Election: General General Election – regardless of party, everyone votes for the candidate of their choice in the General Election. General Election – regardless of party, everyone votes for the candidate of their choice in the General Election. Whoever wins the General Election is officially elected (or re-elected) and gets sworn in to office in January. Whoever wins the General Election is officially elected (or re-elected) and gets sworn in to office in January. UNLESS.. UNLESS..

10 Types of Election: Special/Runoff Special/Runoff Election – when a clear majority is not determined, or if the election is very close, a runoff or special election is held. Special/Runoff Election – when a clear majority is not determined, or if the election is very close, a runoff or special election is held. A special election is held just between the two closest candidates. This final election will determine which person will assume office. A special election is held just between the two closest candidates. This final election will determine which person will assume office. When else might a special election be held? When else might a special election be held? If a Congressional office is vacated either by an early retirement or death of a sitting Member, a special election is held to fill the seat until the next election year. If a Congressional office is vacated either by an early retirement or death of a sitting Member, a special election is held to fill the seat until the next election year.

11 Running for Office What it Takes

12 Campaign Tactics Candidates for office need to garner the most votes to win election to office. Candidates for office need to garner the most votes to win election to office. To do so, they must put together a campaign to get out the word about their candidacy. To do so, they must put together a campaign to get out the word about their candidacy. The office that collects money for a candidate and acts as their public relations wing is called a Campaign Committee. The office that collects money for a candidate and acts as their public relations wing is called a Campaign Committee.

13 The First Step: What Are the Issues? Candidates must decide which issues they want to put at the front of their campaign. Candidates must decide which issues they want to put at the front of their campaign. There are a whole bunch of issues in the United States that candidates for office are concerned about. Can you name a few? There are a whole bunch of issues in the United States that candidates for office are concerned about. Can you name a few? What issues do you think are most important to voters in the United States? What issues do you think are most important to voters in the United States? Let’s see what recent polls say.. Let’s see what recent polls say..

14 Most Important Issues for Voters

15 When asked about the most important issues facing our nation, voters are overwhelmingly focused on the economy, dissatisfaction with the government and health care. When asked about the most important issues facing our nation, voters are overwhelmingly focused on the economy, dissatisfaction with the government and health care. Foreign policy issues are not on most voters’ minds, much less the specific issues affecting the U.S. ‐ Israel relationship. Foreign policy issues are not on most voters’ minds, much less the specific issues affecting the U.S. ‐ Israel relationship. Most Important Issues for Voters

16 The Next Steps: Publicity & Funding Candidates need to let the public know where they stand on the issues of importance to potential voters. Candidates need to let the public know where they stand on the issues of importance to potential voters. Since there are often hundreds of thousands of voters for Congressional candidates, these public relations campaigns can get very expensive. Since there are often hundreds of thousands of voters for Congressional candidates, these public relations campaigns can get very expensive. What do you think candidates spend the money they raise on? What do you think candidates spend the money they raise on?

17 A Typical Campaign Spends Money On.. Advertising/Media Buys: TV, radio and newspaper advertisements promoting a candidate are often the most expensive part of a campaign. Advertising/Media Buys: TV, radio and newspaper advertisements promoting a candidate are often the most expensive part of a campaign. Consulting: Candidates hire consultants – or sometimes staff – to strategize on the best ways to promote their political campaign. Consulting: Candidates hire consultants – or sometimes staff – to strategize on the best ways to promote their political campaign. Rent/Utilities: Federal campaigns often require large amounts of staff, so buildings and utilities are required to be paid for to house all these people. Rent/Utilities: Federal campaigns often require large amounts of staff, so buildings and utilities are required to be paid for to house all these people. Payrolls: Campaign staff, while largely volunteer-driven, still contains many paid employees running day-to-day ops. Payrolls: Campaign staff, while largely volunteer-driven, still contains many paid employees running day-to-day ops. Transportation: For the candidates and their staff to get around, transportation costs are a big part of any campaign budget. Transportation: For the candidates and their staff to get around, transportation costs are a big part of any campaign budget. Example from a Campaign (This is not necessarily an average)

18 The Cost of a Campaign How much do you think the average House or Senate campaign costs? How much do you think the average House or Senate campaign costs?

19 Comparison: Average Cost of Campaigns

20 The cost of congressional campaigns has skyrocketed over the past two decades. On average, successful Senate candidates now spend more than double what they spent in 1992, and successful House candidates spend nearly 100 percent more than they did 20 years ago. The cost of congressional campaigns has skyrocketed over the past two decades. On average, successful Senate candidates now spend more than double what they spent in 1992, and successful House candidates spend nearly 100 percent more than they did 20 years ago. These figures represent the average cost of a successful campaign. In many of the larger and more expensive states, congressional candidates have spent two or three times those amounts to win. These figures represent the average cost of a successful campaign. In many of the larger and more expensive states, congressional candidates have spent two or three times those amounts to win. This rate of “political inflation” demands that more individuals get involved in pro-Israel politics. This rate of “political inflation” demands that more individuals get involved in pro-Israel politics. Cost of Campaigns

21 Fundraising To fund these extraordinarily expensive campaigns, candidates need to look abroad for sponsors. To fund these extraordinarily expensive campaigns, candidates need to look abroad for sponsors. Did you know: By law, a candidate’s campaign can receive only $2,600 per election, per cycle from an individual. No matter how much money someone may want to give, they are limited by this amount. Did you know: By law, a candidate’s campaign can receive only $2,600 per election, per cycle from an individual. No matter how much money someone may want to give, they are limited by this amount. Where do candidates receive most of their funding from? Where do candidates receive most of their funding from?

22 Fundraising Candidates receive most of their money from individuals solicited either by themselves or by their staffers. Candidates receive most of their money from individuals solicited either by themselves or by their staffers. They also get funding from Political Action Committees (PACs), and indirectly from Super PACs (more on these next month). They also get funding from Political Action Committees (PACs), and indirectly from Super PACs (more on these next month). Each PAC can give a maximum of $5,000 to a candidate per election, per cycle. Each PAC can give a maximum of $5,000 to a candidate per election, per cycle. A candidate may travel across the country to private fundraisers, or to events as large as public dinners for thousands of supporters at a hotel or at convention centers. A candidate may travel across the country to private fundraisers, or to events as large as public dinners for thousands of supporters at a hotel or at convention centers. Corporations may not contribute to a Federal candidate. Corporations may not contribute to a Federal candidate. NORPAC is the largest pro-Israel PAC giving money to federal candidates. NORPAC is the largest pro-Israel PAC giving money to federal candidates.

23 Thinking about campaigns and fundraising How would you run a political campaign? Where would you go for funding? What issues would you put at the front of your campaign? How would you run a political campaign? Where would you go for funding? What issues would you put at the front of your campaign? Think about working as a staffer for a campaign committee. How would you promote your candidate? Think about working as a staffer for a campaign committee. How would you promote your candidate? How do you think a PAC chooses the candidates it supports? How do you think a PAC chooses the candidates it supports? Many candidates receive very little of their overall political fundraising through pro-Israel PACs. Why do you think Israel remains such an important issue to Members of Congress? Many candidates receive very little of their overall political fundraising through pro-Israel PACs. Why do you think Israel remains such an important issue to Members of Congress?

24 NORPAC America’s leading pro-Israel, non-partisan Political Action Committee (PAC)


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