Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Political Science

First Advisor

Thomas Kostrzewa

Second Advisor

Kevin Corder


This paper explores political campaigning in Eaton County. Maintaining control of the Michigan House of Representatives 71st district was our campaign goal. Eaton County has always been home to a strong Republican core and for some old timers the thought of the county ever electing a Democrat as State Representative was unthinkable. This thesis uses primary source information, scholarly journals, government data, and various web pages for analysis. The campaign ran a parallel online campaign along with the traditional ground and pound campaign. Micro-targeting and the internet have changed the traditional campaign landscape in drastic ways. Other aspects of the campaign included an absentee voting program, direct mailers, and designing campaign literature. Over the course of 141 days, 1,171 hours, $244,228.57,and nearly 50,000 doors knocked, the campaign was poised to retain control. On November 6th, 2012 the campaign was soundly defeated. Four key factors explain the outcome. First, changing and shifting demographics in Eaton County, particularly in Delta Township. Second, turnout was particularly high in Delta Township. Third, the candidate not being from the district population base. Fourth, overall voting record may have been to conservative and politically challenging votes. Our campaign was soundly defeated on November 6th, 2012.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted