My main research and teaching interests relate to American political institutions. I'm the author of three books: The Whips: Building Party Coalitions in Congress (University of Michigan Press, 2018); Congress Under Fire: Reform Politics and the Republican Majority, with Walter Oleszek (Houghton Mifflin, 1997); and Leadership in Committee: A Comparative Analysis of Leadership Behavior in the U.S. Senate (University of Michigan Press, 1991, 2001), as well as a number of articles and book chapters about congressional politics. Additionally, I am coeditor of the 12th edition of Congress Reconsidered, with Larry Dodd and Bruce Oppenheimer. Published every four years for over four decades now, Congress Reconsidered (CQ Press/Sage) features the best contemporary work from leading congressional scholars.
Copies of my most recent book about the whips and congressional coalition building can be purchased via Amazon or directly from the University of Michigan Press. The book was written to be of interest and accessible to scholars and interested non-specialists alike, and in 2019 it received the Richard F. Fenno, Jr., Prize, awarded by the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association for the best book about legislatures published the previous year. Not too long ago, I participated in a Civics 101/NPR podcast about the whips that draws on material in that book. Likewise, a New York Times political blog featured an entry about the project and the role of congressional whips in general. A data archive that includes information about over 650 whip counts from the U.S. House can be accessed with the menu item above. Researchers interested in other data referenced in The Whips are encouraged to contact me.
Currently, I have several ongoing research projects. One is a manuscript, tentatively titled, U.S. Senators and the Act of Representation, which combines extensive elite interviewing on Capitol Hill and archival research in the personal papers of retired members of the Senate. I also am preparing a series of papers about the impact of bicameralism on congressional lawmaking that may be reconfigured into a short book manuscript.
Over the years, I've served in a variety of staff positions in Congress and enjoy advising students about professional opportunities on Capitol Hill. During 1991-92, as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, I spent the academic year learning about the Congress while working in the personal office of a prominent member of the U.S. House. In 1992-93, I served as professional staff to the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, a temporary, bipartisan panel charged with formulating proposals for reforming the House and Senate. I also have served as co-editor of the Legislative Studies Quarterly (2003-07), the leading scholarly journal specializing in legislatures, and as chair of the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association (2011-13).
My PhD in polical science was awarded by the University of Rochester, where I was privileged to study with Larry M. Bartels, Richard F. Fenno, Jr., and William H. Riker, among other pathbreaking scholars.