The Governor as Party Leader

Campaigning and Governing
Sarah McCally Morehouse
Discusses the relationship between the way governors are elected and their ability to obtain approval of their policy agenda


As states are increasingly called on to assume more of the burden of conducting our nation's social policy, understanding the way the head of state government—the governor—builds support for policy intiatives becomes critically important if we are to understand how states will respond to these challenges.

Sarah McCally Morehouse explores the relationship between governors as political campaigners and as policy makers and presents important new evidence on the link between the way a governor is elected and the governor's strength in making policy. Looking at gubernatorial campaigning and later the ability of the governor to affect the policy-making process, Morehouse is able to draw conclusions about the impact of the way a governor is elected on the governor's ability to lead.

Morehouse's analysis is based on a study of the process of selecting governors in ten states, five with strong parties and five with weak parties, conducted during the 1982 and 1994 gubernatorial elections. Roll call votes on governors' policy initiatives were then used to measure patterns of support for the governors' programs after the elections.

The author tests the party responsibility model by investigating the way governors and state parties join in the effort to nominate, elect, and govern. In states where the party is strong and the party organization important in the selection of a gubernatorial candidate, the author finds that party support is highly correlated with support for the governor's program in the legislature. In states where party control over the selection of candidates is weak, party support for the governor's program in the legislature is less important and the governor must build support outside the party.

This book will appeal to those who are interested in state politics, electoral politics, and the ways that states will respond to new demands to deal with social issues.

Sarah McCally Morehouse is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science, University of Connecticut.

Praise / Awards

  • "In a unique and valuable contribution to the literature, Morehouse . . . tests the responsible party government model by examining connections among gubernatorial nominations, elections, and legislative coalitions."
  • ". . . a timely contribution to our understanding of the role of parties and money in elections, and a fascinating theoretical achievement that reveals links between electoral rules and legislative behavior. It is especially notable in that it is an all-too-rare example of an empirical study that is motivated by clearly stated normative concerns."
    —Daniel DiLeo, Penn State Altoona, Publius, Summer 2001
  • ". . . provides a wealth of theoretical insights into the operation of parties and democracy in America, along with insightful analysis of the political process in 10 states that contain over a third of the population of the United States. . . . Sarah McCally Morehouse has provided a valuable contribution not only to the literature on parties, governors, and democracy; she may well have written a book that will serve as the reference for a move toward significant party reform. . . It is a text for every library. . . ."
    —W. B. Stouffer, Southwest Texas State, The Journal of Politics, Volume 61, No. 3, August 1999

Look Inside


List of Figures     ix
List of Tables     xi
Preface     xv
Chapter 1: Party Government: The American Model     1
Chapter 2: Coalition Building for Electing and Governing     17
Chapter 3: The Rules of the Game     35
Chapter 4: Resources, Factions, and Strategies: Direct-Primary States     77
Chapter 5: Resources, Factions, and Strategies: Party Endorsement States     123
Chapter 6: Money versus Party Effort: Nominating for Governor     181
Chapter 7: Governors and Governing     201
Chapter 8: The Governor and Party Government     245
Appendix     287
References     303
Author Index     313
Subject Index     317

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 344pp.
  • 39 tables, 2 figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1998
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10848-0

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  • $89.95 U.S.