Josh Putnam, Ph.D.


Ph.D., M.A. University of Georgia
B.A. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

I'm an avid elections watcher, so my focus both in research and in the classroom is on American politics and specifically on campaigns and elections. I began a love affair with politics during the 1984 Helms-Hunt Senate campaign in North Carolina and it has all been uphill or downhill (depending on your perspective) since then. My focus in the classroom and in my research is on American politics and specifically on presidential campaigns and elections.

Research Interests and Background

I joined the Davidson political science faculty in January 2011 as a visiting assistant professor after a similar stint at Wake Forest in 2009-2010.

My research deals with the reasoning behind states' efforts to position their presidential delegate selection contests on the presidential primary calendar from one presidential election year to the next. Over the last four decades, earlier has been better (a more influential position), and states have moved accordingly, culminating with the massive movement ahead of the 2008 cycle. The issue I explored in my dissertation was why some states are able to move their nominating contests and others are not.

I also have an interest in the study of both the Electoral College and redistricting. I run the elections blog, Frontloading HQ, which garnered national media attention in the lead up to and during the 2012 presidential election.

When I'm not teaching, researching, blogging or tweeting about elections, I follow Clemson football in the fall and Carolina (and Davidson!) basketball in the winter.


POL 111 American Politics
POL 312 The Presidency
POL 319 Campaign Strategy
POL 323 Politics and the Media
POL 334 Public Opinion
POL 352 Southern Politics
And Various POL Seminars