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Synopsis

What makes young aspiring politicians take the leap and enter the electoral arena? Born to Run tells the stories of nine young politicians from all walks of life who enter races at the state and local levels in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Georgia, Nebraska, and Maine. Across the board, Gaddie finds a great range of motivations, strategies, and success rates among his carefully selected group. He doesn't rely strictly on interviews (although they provide lots of colorful detail), but hit the campaign trail along with his subjects to observe firsthand the pressures and challenges with which a new candidate is faced. Five years of fieldwork are amplified by survey data on candidates, legislators, and activists that bear out in greater numbers what Gaddie discovered on the ground. Working in the tradition of Richard Fenno's esteemed Home Style, Born to Run contributes to developing a more comprehensive model of political ambition that accounts for the origins of aspiration and the uncertainties that accompany every political career, but especially the early ones. Born to Run is irresistible for students of the same age as some of the candidates, invaluable to anyone who has studied campaigns and elections from the top down, and intriguing to anyone who wants insight into some potential rising stars within both the Democratic and Republican parties.

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