Glossary: Elections and Campaigns in Texas

blanket primary: A primary in which the ballot is not restricted to candidates from one party

campaign: the eorts of candidates to secure positions in the government or the eorts to get policy matters adopted

caucus: a form of candidate nomination that occurs in a town-hall style format rather than a day-long election; usually reserved for presidential elections

closed primary: a primary election in which only registered members of a particular political party can vote.

coattail eect: the result when a popular presidential candidate helps candidates from his or her party win their own elections

delegates: party members who are chosen to represent a particular candidate at the party’s state- or national-level nominating convention

district system: the means by which electoral votes are divided between candidates based on who wins districts and/or the state

election: the process by which government ocials are selected and matters of policy are determined

electoral college: the constitutionally created group of individuals, chosen by the states, with the responsibility of formally selecting the next U.S. president

general election: the election in which voters cast ballots to select public ocials

gerrymandering: the drawing of district lines to guarantee a desired electoral outcome

incumbency advantage: the advantage held by oceholders that allows them to often win reelection

incumbent: the current holder of a political oce

midterm elections: the congressional elections that occur in the even-numbered years between presidential election years, in the middle of the president’s term

nonpartisan blanket primary. A primary in which the ballot is not restricted to candidates from one party, where the top two candidates advance to the general election regardless of party aliation

open primary: a primary election in which any registered voter can participate in the contest, regardless of party aliation

platform: the set of issues important to the political party and the party delegates

political action committees (PACs): organizations created to raise money for political campaigns and spend money to influence policy and politics

primary election: a ballot vote in which citizens select a party's nominee for the general election

Raiding: occurs when voters of one party cross over and vote in the primary of another party, eectively allowing a party to help choose its opposition’s candidate.

runo primary: a second primary election held between the two candidates who received the most votes in the primary election if no candidate in the first primary election had received a majority

shadow campaign: a campaign run by political action committees and other organizations without the coordination of the candidate

special elections: an election that is not held on a regularly scheduled basis. In

Texas, a special election is called to ratify amendments to the Texas Constitution, fill a vacancy in a public oce, or give approval for the state government to borrow money.

straight-ticket voting: the practice of voting only for candidates from the same party

super PACs: ocially known as Independent Expenditure-Only Committees; organizations that can fundraise and spend as they please to support or attack a candidate but not contribute directly to a candidate or strategize with a candidate’s campaign

top-two primary: a primary election in which the two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party, become the nominees for the general election

winner-take-all system: all electoral votes for a state are given to the candidate who wins the most votes in that state