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Expert Alert.

Expert Alert

U of M experts available to analyze the 2012 presidential race and statewide elections

September 25, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (9/25/2012) –With Election Day 2012 just six weeks away, experts from the University of Minnesota are available to discuss various aspects of the federal, state and local elections and their potential impact.

To interview experts from across the University of Minnesota, contact Julie Christensen, University News Service,, (612) 626-1720, or Steve Henneberry, University News Service,, (612) 624-1690.


Rohini Ahluwalia, professor, Carlson School of Management
Ahluwalia can speak to negative advertising, political advertising, candidate image and brand.
The Curtis L. Carlson Trust Professor of Marketing, she is well-known for her expertise in consumer psychology. Her research focuses on understanding how people process, resist and are influenced by persuasive information relating to brands, political candidates and issues.

John Eighmey, professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, College of Liberal Arts
Eighmey specializes in campaign advertising, campaign strategy and Internet advertising. A leading authority on brand communication, he holds the Raymond O. Mithun Chair in Advertising. He has held senior positions at Young & Rubicam Advertising in New York and the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C.

Heather LaMarre, assistant professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Liberal Arts
LaMarre has broad expertise at the intersection of mass media and politics, public opinion and political campaign communications. She can discuss how social media affects the relationship between the public, policy makers and the media; how corporate political behaviors such as donating to super PACs or speaking out about social and political issues affect consumers; and campaign communications such as political ads, media strategies and reputation management.

Steven McCarthy, professor, College of Design
In a divisive era, when words alone have not been enough, can the power of design help unite citizens on the issues? McCarthy can speak to campaign design and the visual representation of campaign issues. His opinion and analysis is part of a new exhibit at the U’s Goldstein Museum of Design entitled “We the Designers,” which aims to inform and persuade about unique issues facing the Obama administration.

Ashkay Rao, professor, Carlson School of Management
Rao can speak to the timing of political messages, how voters make decisions and why, modern elections and voter choice. He holds the General Mills Chair in Marketing and his current research activities include persuasion and choice in political markets.


Ben Ansell, associate professor, Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
How does the world economy influence U.S. elections and vice versa? Ansell can speak to the global proportions of the 2012 elections.

V.V. Chari, professor, Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts
Chari’s research interests are in banking, fiscal and monetary policy and in issues of economic development. He has written extensively on banking crises, exchange rate fluctuations and international capital flows.

Jay Kiedrowski, senior fellow, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Kiedrowski can speak to federal budgeting and the deficit. He teaches courses in the university’s Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center and specializes in federal, state and local public finance, including budgeting, debt management and financial analysis.


Doug Chapin, director, Program for Excellence in Election Administration, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Chapin studies election law and administration, election legislation, the relationship between the election system and political campaigns and the use of new technology to modernize elections.


Elizabeth Wilson, associate professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Wilson can speak to energy and environmental policy and the price of gasoline. She also studies the regulatory and legal analysis of emerging technologies, climate change, geologic carbon sequestration and the public perception of emerging technologies.


Ragui Assaad, professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
An international economics expert who recently returned from his native Cairo, Assaad can provide analysis of candidate responses to issues in the Middle East. The professor of planning and public affairs is a senior fellow in Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution. He is currently studying the effects of economic reform on the Egyptian labor market.

William Beeman, professor, Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts
Beeman’s expertise is in U.S. relations with Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, the role of culture in foreign relations and linguistics. He is the chair of the Department of Anthropology and regularly consults for the U.S. State and Defense Departments on the Middle East.

Eric Schwartz, professor and dean, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Schwartz was Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs in the Clinton White House, and Assistant Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. He can speak on all aspects of foreign policy and national security, as well as international humanitarian affairs and development.


Jean Abraham, assistant professor, School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy & Management
A health economics and national health reform expert, Abraham studies access and cost issues related to employer-based health insurance for workers and families. She was a 2008-2009 senior economist on health issues with the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Lynn Blewett, professor, School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy & Management
Blewett is principal investigator of the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), which supports state efforts to monitor and evaluate programs to increase health insurance coverage, and the use of data to inform health policy.


Michael Dueñes, instructor, Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Dueñes can speak about Latino voting practices and political involvement. His research focuses on the relationship between how the state develops and practices democracy to how local Chicano and non-Chicano organizations develop and practice democracy. His other research interests include American politics, Latino politics, social movements and Latino student retention.

Katherine Fennelly, professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Fennelly researches immigration and public policy, diversity and cross-cultural relations, health and public policy and leadership in the public sector.

Erika Lee, director and professor, Immigration History Research Center and Department of History, College of Liberal Arts
Lee is an American historian and the author or co-author of the award winning books “Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America” and “At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration During the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943” as well as many articles on immigration law and Asian American immigration.

Louis Mendoza, professor, Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Mendoza can speak to immigration and the “Latino-ization” of the United States. He is the author of “Conversations Across Our America: Talking About Immigration and the Latinoization of the United States.” Mendoza is associate vice provost in the university’s Office for Equity and Diversity.


Larry Jacobs, director and professor, Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Jacobs’ areas of expertise include public opinion and polling, presidential politics and elections, health policy and reform and Minnesota legislative politics. He holds the Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies.

Timothy Johnson, professor, Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Johnson examines how judicial decisions like the Affordable Care Act impact voter behavior. His research and teaching interests include American political institutions, judicial politics and executive/judiciary relations.

Howard Lavine, associate professor, Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Lavine studies “ambivalent partisans”—voters conflicted between their partisan identity and evaluations of their party’s performance.

Eric Ostermeier, researcher, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Ostermeier can speak to the history of specific races in the Upper Midwest and historical election results. His research and reports at his blog, Smart Politics, have become a staple for news outlets seeking original, data-based reporting and political analysis.

Kathryn Pearson, associate professor, Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Pearson has a vast knowledge of the United States Congress and how it functions, and congressional elections. She also researches women in politics, publishing a number of articles about women running for, and serving in, legislatures. Pearson is currently researching parties in the House of Representatives and women in the U.S. Congress.

John Sullivan, professor, Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Sullivan uses MRIs to study political psychology, learning how voters’ brains respond to campaign messages. He can speak to negative campaign advertising, American politics and elections.


Dale Carpenter, J.D. professor, Law School
Carpenter, the Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law, can speak about the constitutional issues surrounding the marriage amendment. He teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, the First Amendment and sexual orientation and the law.

Kathleen Hull, associate professor, Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Hull studies how marriage as a cultural model or practice intersects with marriage as a legal and political institution. Her expertise lies in culture, gender and sexuality, marriage and family, same-sex marriage, social movements and the law.

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