Losing Our Elections

What I Learned Running for Congress, and How We Can Fix Our Broken Politics

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Pub Date 25 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 02 Dec 2022
Amplify Publishing Group, RealClear Publishing

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What is it really like to run for Congress?

In 2015, Jim Spurlino decided to run for the congressional seat recently vacated by longtime Ohio congressman John Boehner. Though he had no political experience, he—like many other Americans—had been a passionate observer of national politics. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a difference.

Running as an outsider with a background as a successful owner of a construction mate­rials company, his campaign was a test of the system—to see if a moderate candidate from outside the political establishment could bring fresh thinking to the public conversation.

In the course of a four-month campaign in the Republican primary, he encountered the good, the bad, and the ugly: heartfelt sup­porters; hardball consultants; endless, mind-numbing fundraising calls; smear campaigns; and even blank manila envelopes with damag­ing information. In the end, he walked away with 7 percent of the vote and an education in modern American politics.

Losing Our Elections captures what life is re­ally like for political candidates—how and why campaigns are run, the pressures they face, the compromises they make, and the failures of the system—and presents a compelling roadmap for getting our country back on track.

What is it really like to run for Congress?

In 2015, Jim Spurlino decided to run for the congressional seat recently vacated by longtime Ohio congressman John Boehner. Though he had no political...

Advance Praise

“Engaging, fast-paced, candid, and alarming. In Losing Our Elections, Jim Spurli­no reveals what it’s really like to run for Congress as a first-time candidate. It’s a must-read for anyone thinking about running and for all who are troubled by the influence of Super PACs on U.S. elections.” —BOB TAFT, former governor of Ohio

“In Losing Our Elections, Jim Spurlino tells a story that is as cautionary as it is gripping, exposing the incentives baked into our political system that give way too much power to the most extreme voices in our country at the expense of working families and common sense.” —NANCY JACOBSON, founder and CEO of No Labels

“I’m often asked why so few pragmatists run for Congress and why so many extrem­ists get elected. This entertaining and highly readable book explains how winning primary elections requires actions that pull candidates to the ideological poles and are inconsistent with becoming an effective legislator. Losing Our Elections offers a thoughtful list of electoral reforms that I hope our country will adopt.” —NEAL SIMON, author of Contract to Unite America and 2018 candidate for U.S. Senate

Losing Our Elections presents a candid and captivating look at the challenges of seeking office in a polarized America. Though many of these revelations are dis­couraging, the book is fundamentally optimistic, providing a roadmap for debate over needed election reforms. It is a must-read for anyone considering elected office and a great read for everyone who cares about governing our divided country.” —JASON GRUMET, president and founder of the Bipartisan Policy Center

“Engaging, fast-paced, candid, and alarming. In Losing Our Elections, Jim Spurli­no reveals what it’s really like to run for Congress as a first-time candidate. It’s a must-read for anyone thinking...

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ISBN 9781637552360
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Featured Reviews

Losing Our Elections by Jim Spurli­no was received directly from the publisher and I chose to review it. I have never run for office outside of the local level, though I have thought of doing so and I have taken training to do so. This author did run for Congress, John Boehner's seat when he resigned and he tells what it’s like to run for Congress as a first-time candidate. If you or someone you know is thinking about running for federal political office and you are not a multi-millionaire or billionaire, give this book a read before you pull the proverbial trigger. Money drives the running for office 'train" and that explains a lot of what is wrong with politicians over all.

4 Stars

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An eye opening look at the process the day to day grind of running for congress.The author decided to take a chance and run and the lessons he learned the money that is needed is a real eye opener.Perfrct book for anyone considering running for office.#netgalley #losing our elections.

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Interesting Memoir From A First Time Candidate. This is a memoir from a long time business executive who decided to make his very first (and so far only, according to the text here) campaign for public office be to seek to replace outgoing Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner when Boehner announced his resignation in 2015. Spurlino speaks with candor about what was going on when he heard the announcement, what he was looking for in a candidate, and, when he didn't see any of that... what influenced him to run in the first place. The rest of the book is largely a deep dive into what running for US Congress is really like, from an "everyman" (ish) perspective, and through this section Spurlino shows himself to be fairly well read and reasoned, as well as very approachable. The last section of the book is a bit of a lessons learned/ future proposals look, and through this section in particular Spurlino truly shines in speaking out against the more popular populist positions of the day, including expanding the Supreme Court (he says to expand Congress instead), eliminating the Electoral College (not going to happen), and general Congressional reforms. Overall a very easy to read and short-ish at under 300 pages real-world look into what really goes on in our Congressional electoral processes in the United States, and therefore very much recommended.

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Thanks, NetGalley, for providing access to Losing our elections.

I enjoyed this book as a non-US citizen was exciting to see a journey from a candidate's perspective in the greatest democracy in the world. The author is not a political candidate, which makes it even more enjoyable.

Is sad that money buys influence that leads to winning elections. Moreover, the candidate makes some suggestions to improve the election system but recognises that it would be challenging to change due to the influence to keep it as is.

I wonder, in an ideal world, making a pool of raised money and sharing equally among the candidates wouldn't make it fairer and allowing to be each candidate's ideas to be a differentiator factor for candidates.

Well written and easy to read. Recommend.

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