A statewide primary election of delegates to a political party's national convention, held to determine a party's presidential nominee.
A paid professional hired to devise a campaign strategy and manage a campaign.
A poll taken for the candidate on a nearly daily basis as election day approaches.
A small group of individuals who are led in discussion by a professional consultant in order to gather opinions and responses to candidates and issues.
Corrupt Practices Acts
A series of acts passed by Congress in an attempt to limit and regulate the size and sources of contributions and expenditures in political campaigns.
An act passed in 1939 that restricted the political activities of government employees. It also prohibited a political group from spending more than $3 million in any campaign and limited individual contributions to a campaign committee to $5,000.
Political Action Committee (PAC)
A committee set up by and representing a corporation, labor union, or special interest group. PACs raise and give campaign donations.
Campaign contributions unregulated by federal or state law, usually given to parties and party committees to help fund general party activities.
Issue Advocacy Advertising
Advertising paid for by interest groups that support or oppose a candidate or a candidate's position on an issue without mentioning voting or elections.
Non regulated contributions from PACs, organizations, and individuals. The funds may be spent on advertising or other campaign activities so long as those expenditures are not coordinated with those of a candidate.
A presidential primary in which contending candidates compete for popular votes but the results do not control the selection of delegates to the national convention.
A party leader or elected official who is given the right to vote at the party's national convention. Superdelegates are not elected at the state level.
A meeting of party members designed to select candidates and propose policies.
A type of primary in which the voter is limited to choosing candidates of the party of which he or she is a member.
A primary in which any registered voter can vote (but must vote for candidates of only one party)
The presidential candidate who appears to be ahead at a given time in the primary season.
The practice of moving presidential primary elections to the early part of the campaign to maximize the impact of these primaries on the nomination.
A committee used by political parties at their national conventions to determine which delegates may participate. The committee inspects the claim of each prospective delegate to be seated as a legitimate representative of his or her state.
A member of the electoral college, which selects the president and vice president. Each state's electors are chosen in each presidential election year according to state laws.
The division of a legislature into two separate assemblies.
The process of establishing the legal rules that govern society.
An arrangement in which two or more members of Congress agree in advance to support each other's bills.
The function of members of congress as elected officials representing the views of their constituents.
A legislature who acts according to her or his conscience and the broad interests of the entire society.
A legislator who is an agent of the voters who elected him or her and who votes according to the views of constituents regardless of personal beliefs.
Personal work for constituents by members of Congress.
A person who hears and investigates complaints by private individuals against public officials or agencies.
The process by which Congress follows up on laws it has enacted to ensure that they are being enforced and administered in the way Congress intended.
Determining which public-policy questions will be debated or considered.
A power specifically granted to the national government by the Constitution. The first seventeen clauses of Article I, Section 8, specify most of the enumerated powers of Congress.
A standing committee of the House of Representatives that provides special rules under which specific bills can be debated, amended, and considered by the House.
The use of the Senate's tradition of unlimited debate as a delaying tactic to block a bill.
An intraparty election in which the voters select the candidates who will run on a party's ticket in the subsequent general election.
A person who identifies with a political party.
The allocation of seats in the House of Representatives to each state after each census.
The redrawing of the boundaries of the congressional districts within each state.
A question that may be raised and reviewed in court.
The drawing of legislative district boundary lines for the purpose of obtaining partisan or factional advantage. A district is said to be gerrymandered when its shape is manipulated by the dominant party in the state legislature to maximize electoral strength at the expense of the minority party.
A policy that enables members of Congress to send material through the mail by substituting their facsimile signature (frank) for postage.
A procedure by which a bill in the House of Representatives may be forced (discharged) out of a committee that has refused to report it for consideration by the House. The petition must be signed by an absolute majority (218) of representatives and is used only on rare occasions.
A permanent committee in the House or Senate that considers bills within a certain subject area.
A temporary legislative committee established for a limited time period and for a special purpose.
A legislative committee composed of members from both cambers of congress.
A special joint committee appointed to reconcile differences when bills pass the two chambers of Congress in different forms.
A custom followed in both chambers of Congress specifying that the member of the majority party with the longest term of continuous service will be given preference when a committee chairperson (or a holder of some other significant post) is selected.
A district that returns a legislator with 55 percent of the vote or more.
Speaker of the House
The presiding officer in the House of Representatives. The Speaker is always a member of the majority party and is the most powerful and influential member of the House.
Majority Leader of the House
A legislative position held by an important party member in the House of Representatives. The majority leader is selected by the majority party in caucus or conference to foster cohesion among party members and to act as spokesperson for the majority party in the House.
Minority Leader of the House
The party leader elected by the minority party in the House.
A member of Congress who aids the majority or minority leader of the House or the Senate.
President Pro Tempore
The temporary presiding officer of the Senate in the absence of the vice president.
Senate Majority Leader
The chief spokesperson of the majority party in the Senate, who directs the legislative program and party strategy.
Senate Minority Leader
The party officer in the Senate who commands the minority party's opposition to the policies of the majority party and direct the legislative program and strategy of his or her party.
An alliance of Republicans and southern Democrats that can form in the House or the Senate to oppose liberal legislation and support conservative legislation