University of Richmond Election Experts

Election Experts

Henry Chambers

Voting Rights

Law professor Hank Chambers can discuss a variety of areas related to the law and voting, particularly the nuances between voting rights and the right to vote. 

"Voting rights have a broad impact not just on the outcomes of elections. If voting means participating in a community, what message does it send that people are being excluded from participating? We need to consider who gets to be a part of these decisions and how they build a community," said Chambers. 

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Art Durnev

Economic Effects of Elections

Finance professor Art Durnev can discuss how presidential election campaigns impact the economy and financial stability. His research is about how certain presidential elections slow the economy down, increase investment risk, lead to unstable international trade relations, and suppress investment, including real estate development.

"Uncertainty creates fear; fear suppresses investment," said Durnev. 

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Jennifer Erkulwater

Social Welfare & Racial Politics

Political science professor Jennifer Erkulwater, studies U.S. social welfare, race, and disability politics. She can provide insights as candidates discuss these topics on the campaign trail and can also discuss the barriers voters often face when it comes to casting their ballot. 

"My research seeks to understand why disability politics is so white – that is, why people of color are missing from disability politics and what the implications of that absence are for how social justice is enacted," said Erkulwater.

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Jessica Flanigan

Charismatic Candidates

Jessica Flanigan, leadership studies and philosophy, politics, economics, and law professor, can speak about charismatic leaders, and why voters should be wary of choosing their candidate based on their charismatic traits.

"Politicians are now packaging themselves as Instagram-ready personal brands. People in more individualistic cultures value leaders’ charisma more, and America is becoming increasingly individualistic. This means that charisma, rather than performance, may play an increasing role in how leaders are evaluated," said Flanigan.

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Pippa Holloway

History of Voting Rights

History professor Pippa Holloway can speak to current issues — and provide a historical perspective— regarding voter rights. She is readily available to speak to the history of redistricting and the restoration of felons' voting rights. 

"Punishing felons by taking away their right to vote has a long history and was incredibly common in the late nineteenth century,” said Holloway. "Today, the level of disagreement we still have about these issues is rooted in arguments that started back then about what punishment is and what rehabilitation is."

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Stephen Long

Foreign Policy

Political science professor Stephen Long can share insights on candidates' stances on foreign policy, alliance politics, and nuclear proliferation. A foreign policy and international relations scholar, Long’s expertise focuses on the causes of war, rivalries, and victory and defeat in war. He can discuss the war in the Ukraine.

“Russia’s invasion is perhaps the most fully anticipated, fully documented military campaign of the new century,” Long said. “The American strategy of ‘prebunking’ Russian claims by releasing classified intelligence has been novel, and while it did not prevent the invasion, I think it helped solidify global support for tough sanctions quickly.”

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Rick Mayes

Healthcare Policy

Rick Mayes, professor of health policy, worked on Medicaid policy in the White House Office for George H.W. Bush and thereafter on health insurance and Medicare policy at the AARP during the "Clinton" health care reform effort.

Mayes can speak to candidates' campaign proposals regarding healthcare policy, Medicare policy, health system performance, and physician and nurse well-being. He is also an expert on the Affordable Care Act.

“The future of the Affordable Care Act — whether that’s repeal, replace or reform – creates a huge amount of uncertainty and anxiety for the entire health care industry — from doctors and hospitals to insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers and nursing homes,” Mayes said.

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Ernest McGowen

Voter Behavior

Political science professor Ernest McGowen, an expert on elections, can discuss campaigns, candidate analysis, and voter behavior.

The lack of overall enthusiasm is rooted in the nominations of a former and current president, so these are known entities. Everyone can find something to be mad at,” said McGowen about the 2024 primaries. 

Specific to Virginia, McGowen noted, “Virginia Super Tuesday will be really interesting. Even though they are not on the ballot together, I think we can look at Trump total support versus Biden total support as a measure of enthusiasm.”

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Tracy Roof

Public Policy

Tracy Roof, a political science professor, can discuss public policy, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

"An expansion of the SNAP program will not just ease the personal economic pain of families experiencing job loss. SNAP also pumps more money into local communities, as it’s designed to do whenever the economy weakens," Roof said.

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