Experts available to discuss elections and Supreme Court vacancy

Need an expert for that elections or Supreme Court story you’re working on? Here’s a list of University of Georgia professors and their expertise.

Politics and elections

Keith Poole, Philip H. Alston Jr. Distinguished Chair in Political Science

Expertise: politics, polarization, probability and statistics, political-economic history of American institutions

Contact: 706-542-3358, ktpoole@uga.edu

“If Ted Cruz wins the Republican Party nomination for president, he would be the most conservative candidate since the end of World War II. He also is detested by almost everyone in Congress and he would lose in a landslide to Clinton.”

Jamie Carson, professor of political science

Expertise: congressional politics and elections, separation of powers, American political development, electoral accountability, representation and strategic behavior among political elite

Contact: 706-542-2889, carson@uga.edu

“Candidates in presidential contests are often thought to build up momentum when they exceed expectations in an early caucus or primary. Given the disparate set of results in Iowa and New Hampshire in 2016 and the fact that five or six candidates still remain viable, the upcoming SEC primary could prove especially interesting given that many of the Southern state primaries are being held on the same day.

“South Carolina and Nevada could serve as bellwethers for this event, but a strong showing for Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio in the SEC primary could fundamentally change the dynamics of the race in the weeks to follow.”

Audrey Haynes, professor of political science

Expertise: presidential elections, the role of media in politics, negative campaign tactics, frontloading, and gender and politics.

Contact: 706-542-2933, polaah@uga.edu

“We may see, much like in the 2012 Republican race, a cycling of ‘winners’ given the varied ideological natures of the candidates and their underlying support in the upcoming campaigns. This is also a function of gaffes, endorsements, and other campaign events that matter when there is a great deal of uncertainty among voters regarding their vote choice.”

“The South is Hillary’s firewall. The Congressional Black Caucus has endorsed her. And internal polls suggest that African-Americans do not like Bernie Sanders as much as they like HIllary Clinton. But she still has to mobilize their vote to counter the enthusiasm of Sanders’ voters.”

“African-American voters do not like Trump, but this will not have much of an impact unless he becomes the nominee of the Republican Party.”

“Cruz should continue to do well in the South, picking up plenty of delegates.”  

“This campaign year is filled with new dynamics: New campaign finance rules, new techniques in social media outreach, the building of polarization and the rhetoric that has helped create it, and real fear about economic and foreign enemies.”

Paul Henri-Gurian, professor of political science

Expertise: divisive primaries, electoral college, campaigns, strategy, nomination process

Contact: 706-542-2991, phgurian@uga.edu

“Having multiple candidates this early does not necessarily indicate a divided party. But if one party quickly chooses its nominee and unites behind that candidate, while the other party is unable to do so, the divided party is likely to lose 3-5 percent of the general election.

“Republican Party leaders and elected officials want a candidate who can unite the party. Many believe that both Trump and Cruz are ‘unelectable’ but so far party leaders have not agreed on which of the other candidates (Rubio, Kasich, Bush) to rally around.”  

“In past campaigns when a candidate does better than expected, he/she gets momentum and continues to do well. Rubio did well in Iowa but his poor debate performance apparently hurt him in New Hampshire. Kasich did well in New Hampshire but South Carolina, the next primary, seems like unfriendly territory for him. It remains to be seen if Sanders will get a ‘bounce’ after his strong performances in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Charles Bullock, professor of political science

Expertise: Georgia politics, Southern politics, local politics, legislative politics, elections, U.S. Congress

Contact: 706-542-2940, cbullock@uga.edu 

Josh Putnam, lecturer

Expertise: American politics, campaigns and elections, state’s presidential delegate selection, presidential primaries, nominating contest

Contact: 706-542-2036, jtputnam@uga.edu

Politics and the media, public opinion

Barry Hollander, professor of journalism

Expertise: media and politics, especially what influences public opinion and people’s attitudes about candidates and the electoral process

Contact: 706-542-5027, barry@uga.edu

“Ted Cruz is emerging with almost Nixonian skill at dirty politics and South Carolina is the Death Star of dirty tricks, so I expect Cruz to aim some nastiness in Donald Trump’s direction. Maybe it’ll be Trump’s multiple marriages, maybe his casinos. Early on, as Trump played on the anger, people found him popular but unelectable. We know that polls do a good job of predicting an election outcome, but better still is the perception people have of who will win. In other words, asking who will win is better than merely asking them who they will vote for. Trump now enjoys a growing perception of electability, and that could change everything.”

Politics and social media

Itai Himelboim, associate professor in advertising

Expertise: political conversation on social media, identifying patterns of information flow, key information sources, communities and social mediators 

Contact: 706-542-5118, itai@uga.edu

Southern history

James Cobb, Spalding Distinguished Professor of History

Expertise: Southern history

Contact: 706-542-2053, cobby@uga.edu

To comment on the Supreme Court vacancy

Lori A. Ringhand, associate dean for academic affairs and J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law

Expertise: A nationally known U.S. Supreme Court scholar, Ringhand is the author of the book “Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change” (with Paul M. Collins) published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press.

Contact: 706-542-7140, ringhand@uga.edu

Randy Beck, Justice Thomas O. Marshall Chair of Constitutional Law

Expertise: A former U.S. Supreme Court clerk, Beck is able to answer questions about Justice Scalia’s role on the court, the significance of his passing and the effort to replace him.

Contact: 706-542-5216, rbeck@uga.edu

Diane Marie Amann, associate dean for international programs and strategic initiatives and Emily and Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law

Expertise: A former U.S. Supreme Court clerk, Amann has published more than half a dozen articles specifically analyzing Supreme Court decisions, and she is a biographer of Justice Stevens.

Contact: 415-867-3874, amann@uga.edu

John Maltese, Albert Berry Saye Professor of American Government and Constitutional Law and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, and head of the department of political science

Expertise: Supreme Court appointment process, Federal judicial selection, presidential-press relations, U.S. presidency, Constitutional law

Contact: 706-542-4147, jmaltese@uga.edu

Sonja West, associate professor of Law

Expertise: constitutional law, media law and the U.S. Supreme Court

Contact: 706-542-5145, srwest@uga.edu

“The unexpected death of Justice Scalia has added a complicated layer to an already complicated Court. The justices are undoubtedly heartfelt in their grief over the loss of their friend and colleague. The importance of the empty seat Justice Scalia leaves behind, however, is lost on none of them. His conservative peers understand the value of his power and influence. While his more liberal colleagues see the possibility of more progressive rulings than they’ve seen in decades.”