Stories this week at WFU

Election Stories

N.C. RACE FOR U.S. SENATE TIGHTENS IN FINAL STRETCH – Campaign efforts are likely to intensify as Elizabeth Dole and Erskine Bowles pull closer together in the polls and make a final run at the N.C. U.S. Senate seat, says a Wake Forest retired professor and expert on North Carolina politics. “The race is as close as four to seven points in recent polls,” says Jack Fleer, professor emeritus of political science at Wake Forest. “The tightening is probably due to economic issues, including Social Security and trade promotion authority, playing a larger part in the minds of voters.” Fleer says turnout is going to be crucial, especially for black voters, who can expect to hear a message from former President Bill Clinton, promoting Bowles. To arrange an interview with Fleer, contact Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-5237.

MORE MONEY EQUALS ADVERTISING OVERLOAD – The amount of money raised and spent on North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race outstrips funds generated in any of the other 34 U.S. Senate campaigns in the country this year. John Dinan, assistant professor of political science at Wake Forest who has followed the state’s U.S. Senate race, says residents can expect the additional money to be used for the proliferation of television and radio advertisements. “As a result of the fund-raising sums, as well as the relatively compressed two-month time period for the general election campaign, television and radio airwaves will be filled with advertisements in the next few days.” To date, more than $17 million has been raised in the U.S. Senate race and almost $13 million has been spent, Dinan says. To arrange an interview with Dinan, contact Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-6073.

DO COLLEGE STUDENTS VOTE? – Although campus political groups can become deeply involved in election campaigns, it’s not clear whether students actually make it to the polls come Election Day. Katy Harriger, professor of political science at Wake Forest, is researching ways to reintroduce college students into public life. “Turnout has been the lowest in recorded history among the college age group in the last couple of elections,” she says. “Most of the data suggests right now, that it’s really just a sense of, ‘We’re just too busy.’” Harriger says the number of college-aged people voting is down across-the-board; however, students who have left home for school are at a disadvantage because of the difficulty of absentee voting. “You have to think about the election much earlier than most people actually think about elections.” To arrange an interview with Harriger, contact Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-5238.

Other Stories This Week

KILLING OF U.S. DIPLOMAT IN JORDAN ISOLATED INCIDENT – News that a U.S. diplomat was killed in Jordan on Oct. 28 came as a shock, says an expert on Jordan who is a visiting assistant professor at Wake Forest, because the country has long been regarded as extremely friendly toward the West. Russell Lucas, who has lived in Jordan for 14 months during the past three years, says there is no reason for that view to change because the killing was probably carried out by a small group of people, displeased with U.S. policy in the Middle East. “Many people in Jordan are very unhappy with the policies of the U.S. government towards Iraq and towards the Palestinians, but during my time living there, I never feared for my safety,” Lucas says. “There is probably a very small group of people who have decided to use violence to protest U.S. government policies.” Lucas, who is working on a book about Jordanian politics, says many people in the Middle East are frustrated with continued U.S. support of Israel and its occupation of the West Bank, but there is no reason to attribute the actions of a small group of people to an entire nation. To arrange an interview with Lucas, contact Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-5237.

AFRICAN-AMERICANS NEED TO SHED MENTAL BONDS – Brad R. Braxton, the Jessie Ball duPont Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Biblical Studies at Wake Forest’s Divinity School, will give a free public lecture at 4 p.m. Nov. 6 in Wait Chapel. His new book, “No Longer Slaves: Galatians and African-American Experience,” was published in September by The Liturgical Press, and it offers an interpretation of Paul’s New Testament message to the Galatians through the perspective of African-American experience. Braxton says the book is a tool to help African-Americans achieve intellectual liberation. “In the book, I offer another way to think our way through the Bible’s message, but I do it as an insider,” says Braxton, an ordained Baptist minister. “I am seeking to demonstrate how one can take one’s Christian commitments seriously without subscribing to only one understanding of the Bible’s role and meaning.” To arrange coverage of the lecture or schedule an interview with Braxton, contact Jacob McConnico at

EXPERT TO DISCUSS INDIA-PAKISTAN RELATIONS – Robert Wirsing, professor and chair of the department of regional studies at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, will present a lecture, “Kashmir and India-Pakistan Relations After 9/11,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in the law auditorium of the university’s Worrell Professional Center. Wirsing, an expert on India-Pakistan relations, has been interviewed for the PBS television show, “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” as an expert on Kashmir. He has been a visiting professor at the department of politics at the University of Karachi and the department of international relations at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad. He is the author of “India, Pakistan and the Kashmir Dispute” and “Pakistan’s Security Under Zia 1977-1988.” Wirsing is the second speaker in a six-part series sponsored by the department of political science and built around the theme, “Remembering Sept. 11: Making the Move from Grief and Anger to Understanding and Action.” The series is designed to give the community some insight into the forces that triggered the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. To arrange coverage, contact Jacob McConnico at or 336-758-5237.

Categories: Community, Events, Speakers