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Francia, Peter L. 1974-

Francia, Peter L. 1974-

PERSONAL:

Born May 11, 1974. Education: University of Rochester, B.A., 1996; University of Maryland, M.A., 1999, Ph.D., 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Office—East Carolina University, Department of Political Science, Brewster A-124S, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Political scientist, educator, and writer. University of Maryland, College Park, Center for American Politics and Citizenship, faculty research assistant, 2000-01, assistant research scientist 2001-04, department of political science, assistant professor, 2004—.

MEMBER:

Member of the Academy of Political Science, American Political Science Association, Midwest Political Science Association, Southern Political Science Association, Northeastern Political Science Association, North Carolina Political Science Association, Labor and Working-Class History Association, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Center for American Politics and Citizenship.

WRITINGS:

(With Paul S. Herrnson, John C. Green, Lynda W. Powell, and Clyde Wilcox) The Financiers of Congressional Elections: Investors, Ideologues, and Intimates, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2003.

The Future of Organized Labor in American Politics, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

(With Jody C. Baumgartner) Conventional Wisdom and American Elections: Exploding Myths, Exploring Misconceptions, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (Lanham, MD), 2008.

Contributor to books, including Financing the 1996 Election, M.E. Sharpe, 1999; Playing Hardball: Campaigning for the U.S. Congress, Prentice Hall, 2000; Campaign Battle Lines, Campaigns & Elections, 2002; Multiparty Party Politics in America, 2nd edition, Rowman & Littlefield, 2002; The Debate Book: Standards and Guidelines for Sponsoring Political Candidate Debates in Congressional, State, and Local Elections, Campaigns & Elections, 2003; The State of the Parties, 4th edition, Rowman & Littlefield, 2003; Life after Reform: When the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act Meets Politics, Rowman & Littlefield, 2003; Is This Any Way to Run a Democratic Election?, Georgetown University Press, 2004; Guide to Political Campaigns in America, CQ Press, 2005; The Interest Group Connection, 2nd edition, CQ Press, 2005; Rewiring Politics: Presidential Nominating Conventions in the Media Age, Louisiana State University Press, 2007; and Campaigns on the Cutting Edge, CQ Press, 2008. Contributor to professional journals, including Public Opinion Quarterly, Social Science Computer Review, Social Science Quarterly, American Review of Politics, Forum, Politics & Policy, American Politics Research, Political Research Quarterly, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, and the International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior.

SIDELIGHTS:

Peter L. Francia is a political scientist whose interests include political organizations and parties with a special focus on labor unions and women's political action committees, as well as public opinion and political behavior with specialized study in rural and religious voters, union members, and campaign donors. He also studies and has written about American elections and election reform with specialized study in campaign finance, voter registration laws and voting equipment. Francia has written on these various topics both in professional journals and as a contributor to and author of books.

Francia is the author, with Paul S. Herrnson, John C. Green, Lynda W. Powell, and Clyde Wilcox, of The Financiers of Congressional Elections: Investors, Ideologues, and Intimates. The book, based on data gathered from a 1996 survey, examines the crucial role that individual donors play in financing elections for the U.S. Congress. Focusing on donors who contribute 200 dollars or more to campaigns, the authors investigate who really contributes and their reasons for contributing. The authors examine the strategies used by political campaigns to get these people to contribute and discuss how the views of these donors may impact the campaign-finance system. The authors also examine campaign-finance reform and what the "significant" donors think about such reforms. Burdett A. Loomis wrote in the Political Science Quarterly that "this slender volume surely fulfills its initial promise by offering scholars and citizens alike a clear view of those who finance the election—and reelection—of the legislative class."

In his 2006 book The Future of Organized Labor in American Politics, Francia examines the controversial tenure of John Sweeney as president of the AFL-CIO union. Elected in 1995, Sweeney's leadership was encountering strong opposition by 2005. For his book, the author draws on interviews with union and business leaders and other data to delineate what the author sees as Sweeney's employment of an expansive grassroots political operation that has proven more successful than the efforts of Sweeney's predecessors. As he challenges critics of Sweeney's efforts, Francia provides an overall assessment of labor's influence on American political elections and legislation. For example, he analyzes organized labor's coalitions with other interest groups, influence on voter turnout and election results, and Sweeney's support of progressive causes that have resulted in labor's increasing willingness to challenge politicians, especially Democrats, who vote against labor's interests. Despite his overall support of Sweeney's efforts, the author also writes about labor's continuing problems, including shrinking membership in unions.

The author delves deeper into his analysis of labor in the United States to examine how there are no easy solutions to labor's problems in influencing government and legislation in the United States. In the process, the author speaks out against ideas such as labor forming its own third party, noting that there are many impediments to this being successful in a historically based two-party system. In addition, Francia examines the basic dilemma of unions needing access to political power in order to have the U.S. Congress reform outdated laws that would make it easier for them to organize. However, the author notes that unions have trouble getting this power because they have a difficult time organizing workers to increase their political influence. "In many respects, the evidence that Francia amasses in this book vindicates Sweeney's political strategy," wrote Joseph A. McCartin in the Political Science Quarterly. McCartin went on to write in the same review: "Francia does not pretend to resolve … [labor's] dilemma in this slim volume. But he does a fine job of clarifying it."

Francia is also the author, with Jody C. Baumgartner, of Conventional Wisdom and American Elections: Exploding Myths, Exploring Misconceptions. In their book, the authors take on the task of debunking numerous common myths concerning the electoral process. They address myths concerned with issues such as campaign finance, political participation and voting, image in advertising, internet campaigning, negative campaigning, and the role of the media in the electoral process.

The first section of the book focuses on myths concerning voters. They examine the importance of the youth vote and what they see as the myth of a divided America according to "Red" and "Blue." They also examine the misplaced belief in the vanishing voters and the rise of independent voters. The book's second section focuses on campaign myths, such as myths concerning the influence of the Internet on campaigns, media biases, and the idea that modern campaigns are nastier than those of the past. In the final section of their book, the authors discuss how to understand election outcomes. For example, in this section they discuss what they perceive as the "selling of the president" myth in which people believe that it is the candidate's "image" that gets him or her elected as president of the United States. They also debunk the idea that certain states are "kingmakers." The book includes numerous illustrations, charts, and graphs. A Reference & Research Book News contributor noted that the authors "provide a debunking that is based on current political science research."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Choice, July-August, 2006, P.F. Clark, review of The Future of Organized Labor in American Politics, p. 2039; February, 2008, J. Heyrman, review of Conventional Wisdom and American Elections: Exploding Myths, Exploring Misconceptions, p. 1053.

Political Science Quarterly, winter, 2004, Burdett A. Loomis, review of The Financiers of Congressional Elections: Investors, Ideologues, and Intimates, p. 693; winter, 2006, Joseph A. McCartin, review of The Future of Organized Labor in American Politics, p. 722.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 2004, review of The Financiers of Congressional Elections; November, 2007, review of Conventional Wisdom and American Elections.

ONLINE

East Carolina University Web site,http://www.ecu.edu/ (March 6, 2008), faculty profile of author.

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