New Books Network

Shauna L. Shames, Rachel I. Bernhard, Mirya R. Holman, Dawn Langan Teele

Good Reason to Run

Women and Political Candidacy

Temple University Press 2020

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network June 11, 2020 Lilly Goren

Good Reason to Run: Women and Political Candidacy (Temple University Press, 2020) is an excellent text that provides a wealth of information and analysis...

Good Reason to Run: Women and Political Candidacy (Temple University Press, 2020) is an excellent text that provides a wealth of information and analysis of the reasons why women (and men) choose to run for public office and what that path looks like in terms of training, support, obstacles, and advantages. This is a wonderfully accessible text, great for use in the classroom, for those who work in politics and campaigns, and for scholars of electoral politics, particularly those who study women and politics. Shauna L. Shames, Rachel I. Bernhard, Mirya R. Holman, Dawn Langan Teele have assembled an impressive group of contributing authors, focusing mostly but not exclusively on American politics and the particular experiences and issues that women in the United States face in considering a run for public office.

Good Reason to Run came out of a collaborative effort between scholars/academics and practitioners, thus the data, information, and analysis in the book weaves together both scholarship on women running for office and the experience of those who work with and for women running for office or in elected office. A standout section of the book harnesses this collaborative information in discussing the role of non-profit organizations in providing a variety of support for female candidates; this section also includes a global comparative analysis of the role of these organizations.  The book focuses on the theory of political ambition and how a static understanding of this concept has often shaped the thinking and analysis of electoral politics. Good Reason to Run: Women and Political Candidacy provides a diversity of methodological approaches across the chapters, from field experiments and survey data to deep interviews and descriptive analysis—which makes the text accessible to a broad array of readers. Beyond answering questions about which women choose to run and why they make that choice, Good Reason to Run also includes a section on the role of money in politics, especially as it figures into that decision matrix – and the differences across parties, and countries.

Shames, Bernhard, Holman, and Teele have organized and marshaled an engaging text that responds to the literature about women running for office, integrating the established theories and exploring current data, information, and experiences from those in the field.


Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).