Political Discourse: The Impact of Redistricting, Campaign Finance, and the Media

Old Capitol Museum Senate Chambers
Friday, December 4th, 2015 8:30 AM to 4:45 PM

This day-long symposium considered three pressing problems of politics: redistricting, campaign finance laws, and how the media report on politics.  The symposium examined the scope of each problem, and experts will comment upon possible public policy solutions to these key problems of elections.  Click on the tabs below for more information about the agenda, speakers, etc. 

The event was free and open to the public.


Friday, December 4th, 2015
Session Details Speakers
8:30 AM Coffee and Registration
9:15 AM Welcome Remarks
  1. Peter Damiano
  2. David Loebsack
  3. Bruce Harreld
  4. Tracy Osborn
9:45 AM Panel One: Campaign Finance Post Citizens United
  1. Paul Herrnson
  2. Bob Biersack
  3. David Magleby
  4. Robin Kolodny
  1. Frederick Boehmke (Moderator)
11:30 AM Lunch
1:00 PM Panel Two: Media in the Modern Campaign Age
  1. Margie Hershey
  2. Matt Levendusky
  3. Daniel Kreiss
  4. Kelly Dittmar
  1. Julie Pacheco (Moderator)
2:45 PM Afternoon Break
3:00 PM Panel Three: Redistricting
  1. Mike Crespin
  2. Eric McGhee
  3. Thomas Brunell
  4. Timothy Hagle
  1. Tracy Osborn (Moderator)
  • Bob Biersack

    OpenSecrets.org Center for Responsive Politics

    Prior to joining the Center in 2011, Bob spent thirty years on the Staff of the U.S. Federal Election Commission, developing and promoting disclosure. He has served as the Commission's Statistician, its Press Officer, and as a special assistant working to redesign the disclosure process. A graduate of Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Bob has written extensively on campaign finance, political parties, and interest groups, and is co-editor of After the Revolution: PACs Lobbies, and the Republican Congress, and Risky Business?: PAC Decision-making in Congressional Elections.

  • Thomas Brunell

    University of Texas at Dallas

    Thomas L. Brunell is a professor of political science at the University of Texas at Dallas.  He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Irvine in 1997.  His scholarship focuses on elections and representation.  He has published dozens of articles and book chapters on elections, redistricting, political parties, the Voting Rights Act, and the European Court of Justice.   He has published one book on redistricting – Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections are Bad for America, and he is currently working on a second book that focuses on partisan gerrymandering.  He has served as an expert witness for redistricting-related litigation and has testified in federal and state courts around the country.  

  • Mike Crespin

    University of Oklahoma

    Michael H. Crespin is the Associate Director of the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at The University of Oklahoma and Associate Professor of Political Science. He earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 2005 and served in the office of U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski as an APSA Congressional Fellow from 2005-06.

    Crespin’s research focuses on legislative politics, congressional elections, and political geography. A great deal of his work shows how changes in district boundaries influence the behavior of individuals and elected officials. His research has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Analysis, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.


  • Peter Damiano

    Director, Public Policy Center

    Peter Damiano is the Director of the Public Policy Center (PPC) and Bernstein Professor, Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry at the University of Iowa. He started the health policy research program at the PPC in 1990 and has been Director of the Center since July 2007. He is a health services researcher who investigates issues relating to access to care, quality, cost and outcomes of care. Dr. Damiano has authored over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and research monographs and has been the principal investigator on over 50 research studies funded by federal, state and Foundation sources. He is a former staff intern in the US Senate, a Robert Wood Johnson Dental Health Services Research Scholar and HRSA Primary Care Policy Fellow. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry (DDS) and UCLA School of Public Health (MPH).

  • Kelly Dittmar

    Rutgers Center for American Women & Politics

    Kelly Dittmar is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University–Camden and Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. She is the author of Navigating Gendered Terrain: Stereotypes and Strategy in Political Campaigns (Temple University Press, 2015) and has authored multiple book chapters on gender and American politics. Dittmar's research focuses on gender and American political institutions with a particular focus on how gender informs campaigns and the impact of gender diversity among elites in policy and political decisions, priorities, and processes. Dittmar was an American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional Fellow from 2011 to 2012. At CAWP, she manages national research projects, helps to develop and implement CAWP's research agenda, and contributes to CAWP reports, publications, and analyses. She also works with CAWP's programs for women's public leadership and has been an expert source and commentator for media outlets including MSNBC, NPR, TIME, CNN, BBC, Politico, Huffington Post, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post. She currently serves on the editorial board for Politics and Gender and is a board member for Women Under Forty PAC (WUFPAC). Dittmar earned her B.A. from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

  • Timothy Hagle

    UI Department of Political Science

    Every four years, the media spotlight shines on the state during the prelude to its first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, and University of Iowa political experts are in serious demand. State, national, and international reporters call upon UI faculty to explain how the caucuses work, and to provide insight into how Iowans are responding to candidates and their campaign strategies. One expert who is helping the University leverage this publicity opportunity is Tim Hagle, associate professor of political science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

  • Bruce Harreld

    University of Iowa President

    Bruce Harreld became the 21st president of the University of Iowa on November 2, 2015. He received a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Purdue University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University.


    President Harreld served on the faculty of Harvard Business School from 2008–2014, with dual appointments to the entrepreneurial and strategy units. He was faculty chair of the Building New Businesses in Established Organizations program. As a faculty member, he taught in numerous executive programs in Cambridge, Qatar, Mumbai, and Shanghai. He also has been an adjunct professor at Northwestern University in the Kellogg School of Management, developing the first-ever MBA course on Strategic Use of Information Technology.


    President Harreld has served in several corporate leadership positions. As senior vice president and division president of Kraft General Foods, he led the strategic unit that formulated strategy and executed acquisitions for this multibillion-dollar company. As president and board member of Boston Market Company, he, along with five other partners, led the organization from 20 stores in the Boston area to over 1,100 stores nationally. As senior vice president of IBM, President Harreld worked with the CEO and senior management team to chart the organization’s transformation from near bankruptcy, led the business transformation team that streamlined operations and reintegrated the global organization, and led the strategy unit that was responsible for the formulation and execution of the company’s overall strategy. President Harreld has also served as a consultant, advising public, private, and military organizations on leadership, organic growth, and strategic renewal, including serving as manager, vice president, and member of the board of the Boston Consulting Group.


    President Harreld is the author or coauthor of numerous articles and book chapters in such journals and magazines as the Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, and Financial Executive, and books and monographs such as Leading Sustainable Change: An Organizational Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2015) and Core Curriculum Strategy Reading: Executive Strategy (Harvard Business Publishing, 2014). He has also authored or coauthored several case studies for Harvard Business Publishing.


    President Harreld has received several awards, including the Accenture Award for best business article of the year and the Distinguished Industrial Engineer and Distinguished Engineering Awards from Purdue University.

  • Paul Herrnson

    University of Connecticut

    Paul S. Herrnson is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut. His research and teaching interests include political parties and elections; money and politics; and voting technology, ballot design, and election administration. Herrnson has published numerous articles and books, including Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington; Voting Technology: The Not-So-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot; The Financiers of Congressional Elections; and Interest Groups Unleashed. Herrnson has served as President of the Southern Political Science Association, Chair of the Political Organizations and Parties section of the American Political Science Association, and as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. He has advised the U.S. Congress, the Connecticut General Assembly, the Maryland General Assembly, the Federal Election Commission, and numerous other governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations on matters pertaining to campaign finance, political parties, and election reform.

  • Margie Hershey

    Indiana University Bloomington

    Marjorie Randon Hershey is a professor of Political Science and Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington, specializing in political parties, campaigns, and political communications. She is the author of four books (one of which, Party Politics in America, is in its 16th edition) and about 45 articles in professional journals and book chapters. She has received a number of teaching awards. Her current work has to do with polarization among party activists and with the commonalities among the research on framing, persuasion, lobbying, constructing explanations for election results, political metaphors, and social movements' organizational development.

  • Robin Kolodny

    Temple University

    Robin Kolodny received her B.A. in Political Science from Florida International University in 1985 and her Ph.D. in Political Science from the Johns Hopkins University in 1992.  She is Professor of Political Science at Temple University, where she has taught since 1991.  Kolodny was an APSA (American Political Science Association) Congressional Fellow in 1995 when she worked in the office of Congresswoman Nancy L. Johnson of Connecticut.  In 1999, she received the Emerging Scholar Award from the Political Organizations and Parties Section of APSA.  During academic year 2008-09, Kolodny was named a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to the United Kingdom, affiliated with the Department of Politics and Contemporary European Studies at the University of Sussex and the Sussex European Institute (SEI).  Kolodny is the author of Pursuing Majorities:  Congressional Campaign Committees in American Politics (University of Oklahoma Press, 1998) as well as numerous articles on political parties in the US Congress, in elections, and in comparative perspective.  She also writes extensively on political consultants and campaign finance in the US.

  • Daniel Kreiss

    University of North Carolina

    Daniel Kreiss is Assistant Professor in the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kreiss’s research explores the impact of technological change on the public sphere and political practice. In Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama (Oxford University Press, 2012), Kreiss presents the history of new media and Democratic Party political campaigning over the last decade. Kreiss’s second book, Prototype Politics: Technological Innovation and the Republican and Democratic Parties, 2000-2014 (Oxford University Press, 2016), offers a history and analysis of the two U.S. political parties and their affiliated organizations from 2004-2014 that documents and explains their differential uptake of technology. The book provides an analytical framework for understanding why and how campaigns are newly ‘technology-intensive’ and digital media, data, and analytics are at the forefront of contemporary electoral dynamics. Kreiss is an affiliated fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School and received a Ph.D. in Communication from Stanford University.

  • Matt Levendusky

    University of Pennsylvania

    Matthew Levendusky is currently associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He was previously an assistant professor of Political Science at Penn (2007-2013), and a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for the Study of American Politics at Yale University (2006-2007). He obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2006, and his BA (with highest honors) from The Pennsylvania State University in 2001. In 2014, he served as a decision desk analyst for NBC News.


    He is the author of The Partisan Sort (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and How Partisan Media Polarize America (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Beginning with the 15th edition, he is a co-author of American Government: Institutions and Policies (Cengage Learning; with James Q. Wilson, John J. DiIulio, Jr., and Meena Bose). His work has also appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, and a variety of other outlets in political science. His research focuses on understanding how institutions and elites influence the political behavior of ordinary citizens, including studies of mass polarization, the effects of partisan media, and various other topics.

  • David Loebsack

    U.S. Congressman

    Congressman Dave Loebsack, who grew up in poverty and was raised by a single parent, is living proof of how community support can make a difference in people’s lives. He faced many challenges, but with hard work and help from teachers, friends, and mentors, he was able to overcome his many hardships. As a result, he has dedicated his adult life to helping people find opportunity and hope. Congressman Loebsack is currently serving his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives for Iowa’s Second Congressional District. He received a BA and MA from Iowa State University, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Davis. Before running for office, Congressman Loebsack taught political science at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, where he continues to serve as a Professor Emeritus. He currently serves on the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Armed Services Committee.

  • David Magleby

    Brigham Young University

    David Magleby is a distinguished professor of political science at Brigham Young University (BYU) and formerly the dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences at BYU. He is an expert on direct democracy and campaign finance, and has authored several books. His first, Direct Legislation, is considered the seminal work on initiatives and referenda. He is the lead editor of a series on presidential election finance, and has also written several works on issues related to soft money in campaigns. In 1990, he served on a bipartisan Senate task force on campaign finance reform and his book on the subject, The Money Chase, was published by the Brookings Institution. In addition, Magleby authors a best-selling American government textbook, Government by the People.


    Prior to joining the faculty of BYU, Magleby was a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Virginia. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. At BYU, Magleby has served as dean, department chair, and founding director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy (CSED). He also established the KBYU/Utah Colleges exit poll. Every election year, the poll mobilizes several hundred college students from Utah college campuses to gather data about Utah voters and elections. BYU students design the survey and sample. On Election Night, Magleby hosts a television program where students present the results of the poll.

  • Eric McGhee

    Public Policy Institute of California

    Eric McGhee is a research fellow at PPIC, where he focuses on elections, legislative behavior, political reform, and public opinion. His research on elections and electoral reform has appeared in numerous academic journals, and his work has been profiled on National Public Radio, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Economist. He is an occasional contributor to the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog on politics. Before joining PPIC, he was assistant professor of political science at the University of Oregon and served as a Congressional Fellow through the American Political Science Association. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

  • Tracy Osborn

    University of Iowa Department of Political Science

    Tracy Osborn is the Director of the Politics and Policy Group at the Iowa and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science.  Her research focuses on women, politics, and public policy in the U.S. state legislatures and Congress, women’s political behavior, and gendered violence.  She received her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2004 and joined the political science department at the University of Iowa in 2007.  Currently, her research examines women legislators’ partisanship and policy development in the U.S. state legislatures since 1960, public opinion toward women terrorists and terrorism policy, and antifeminist policy and women’s representation in the U.S. states.

Thank you to our generous sponsors:



Sponsored in-kind by: Associate Provost for Outreach & Engagement, Progress Iowa, College Republicans, Johnson County Republican Central Committee, No Labels Iowa Hawkeye Chapter, Office of the Provost, Iowa Democratic Party, 50/50 in 2020, Johnson County League of Women Voters, Johnson County Democratic Party, Iowa Republican Party, Johnson County Board of Supervisors

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