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Jim Riddlesperger - Texas Christian University. Fort Worth, TX, US

Jim Riddlesperger Jim Riddlesperger

Professor | Texas Christian University


Professor Riddlesperger focuses on American politics, with emphasis in the presidency, Congress, and Texas politics




Jim Riddlesperger Publication Jim Riddlesperger Publication Jim Riddlesperger Publication Jim Riddlesperger Publication




Historic Texas Elections TCU's Jim Riddlesperger Talks Texas Democrats Leaving The State TCU political professor shares key items to watch for on Election Day




James W. Riddlesperger, Jr. (B.A., M.A., North Texas State University; Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia) is Professor of Political Science at Texas Christian University. A native of Denton, Texas, he has taught at TCU since 1982. His interest is in American politics, with emphasis in the presidency, Congress, and Texas politics. He is co-author of Texas Politics (14th edition, Cengage, 2022), Lone Star Leaders (2011, TCU), and The Austin-Boston Connection (2009, Texas A&M Press). He co-edited Reflections on Rayburn, (2018, TCU Press), Considering American Government: A Reader (2nd edition, 2020, Kendall Hunt), The Wright Stuff (2013, TCU Press), Presidential Leadership and Civil Rights Policy (Greenwood, 1995), and Special Focus: Balance of Power between Congress and the President (New York: College Board, 2008). He has published articles in the Journal of Politics, Social Science Quarterly, Social Science Journal, Judicature, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Congress and the Presidency among others as well as numerous chapters in edited books. He has been named the winner of the Chancellor’s Award for Creative Teaching and Research and Honors Professor of the year at TCU. A frequent consultant to national, state, and local news media concerning politics and elections, he speaks to many civic and professional groups each year. He served as Chief Reader of the College Board’s AP US Government and Politics Exam (2011-2015) and is past president of the Southwestern Political Science Association. He is married to Dr. Kristina Riddlesperger, is the father of two grown sons, and grandfather to four wonderful grandchildren.

Areas of Expertise (9)

Political Parties

American Political Institutions

Congress and the Presidency


Issues in American Politics

American Politics


Civic Literacy

Texas Politics

Accomplishments (3)

Chancellor’s Award for Creative Teaching and Research, TCU


Connections Hero, First winner, TCU


Honors Professor of the Year, TCU


Education (3)

University of Missouri-Columbia: Ph.D., Political Science 1983

North Texas State University: M.A., Political Science 1980

North Texas State University: B.A., Political Science 1975

Affiliations (3)

  • American Political Science Association
  • Southern Political Science Association
  • Southwestern Political Science Association

Media Appearances (5)

What happened in Texas elections: A breakdown of key races and why neither party is satisfied

WFAA  online


“I did think that one might be a little closer than the other, but it turned out that that didn’t matter at all,” Jim Riddlesperger, a TCU political science professor said. Riddlesperger and Jillson said increasing partisanship could be a reason for the similar performance with blue areas of the state becoming bluer in 2022 and red, conservative areas becoming even stronger Republican holds.

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Abortion rights supporters struggle to keep issue top of mind for Texas voters

The Texas Tribune  online


“But that was actually a referendum on abortion, and what we have in Texas is an election between three-dimensional, living, breathing human beings that have opinions on a wide variety of issues,” said James Riddlesperger, a professor of political science at Texas Christian University.

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When have so many Texans voted early in a midterm election? Never

Star Telegram  


“I think that President Trump has energized voters — both those who support him and those who oppose him,” said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at TCU. “Polls suggest that, over the year of 2018, Democrats have been more energized than Republicans. But in the last few weeks, Republicans have virtually tied the Democrats in terms of being likely to vote.”...

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Polls are open for the second election this month — the primary runoff. Are you voting?

Star Telegram  


"Runoffs have fewer (races) than regular primaries, they are lower profile, and they are in (the) summer when people’s thoughts turn to swimming pools," said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at TCU. "Add to that the general dissatisfaction with politics to begin with...

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Primary runoffs on the way in battle for Joe Barton's congressional seat

Star Telegram  


"Primary elections and runoffs are about turnout," said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at TCU. "Now it's all about having the organization and contact skills to get your voters to turn out. "The people who do that the most effectively will win the nomination from their parties."...

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Event Appearances (3)

Riddlesperger, James W., Jr. and King, James D. “The Trump Transition: Beginning a Distinctive Presidency”

American Political Science Association  San Francisco


King, James D. and Riddlesperger, James W., Jr. ‘“Personnel Is Policy”: The 2016-2017 Transition into the New Administration”

Southwestern Political Science Association Meeting  Austin


King, James D. and Riddlesperger, James W., Jr. “The 2016-2017 Transition into the Donald J. Trump Presidency,”

Conference on the U.S. Presidential Election of 2016, IDC  Herzliya, Israel


Articles (5)

Diversity and Presidential Cabinet Appointments

Social Science Quarterly

James D King, James W Riddlesperger Jr

2014 A significant indicator of a president's commitment to equality in American society can be found in the people appointed to fill senior‐level positions within the administration.

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Senate confirmation of cabinet appointments: Congress-centered, presidency-centered, and nominee-centered explanations

The Social Science Journal

James D King, James W Riddlesperger Jr

2013 Recent presidents find greater proportions of their executive nominations encountering substantial opposition in the Senate. What accounts for failed nominations to senior-level executive positions? We address this question by examining 297 cabinet and other senior-level nominations between 1969 and 2012, testing multivariate models of the effects of the partisan and ideological composition of the Senate, the president's public approval and electoral mandate, and characteristics of the nominee...

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Senate confirmation of cabinet nominations: Institutional politics and nominee qualifications

The Social Science Journal

James D King, James W Riddlesperger Jr

1996 The outcomes of votes to confirm cabinet nominations can be viewed from the perspective of the individual nominee's qualifications for the position or one which places confirmation votes in the context of institutional politics between the president and the Senate. This article specifies and tests a linear regression model designed to assess which perspective best explains confirmation votes for the 201 cabinet nominations made between 1945 and 1993. The analysis indicates that, unlike nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court, the key conflict is between the nominee's own background and the Senate's standard of appropriate conduct in personal and business affairs. But when conflicts of interest arise, the president's standing with the public becomes an important factor.

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Presidential management and staffing: An early assessment of the Clinton presidency

Presidential Studies Quarterly

James D King, James W Riddlesperger


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Senate confirmation of appointments to the cabinet and executive office of the president

The Social Science Journal

James D King, James W Riddlesperger Jr

1991 Appointments to senior-level executive positions are at times the subjects of disagreement between the president and Congress. Recent changes in the nature of the executive-legislative relationship in American government are reflected in the manner in which the Senate exercises its power to confirm nominations to executive offices. Presidents since Nixon have found greater proportions of their nominations encountering significant opposition in the Senate. More importantly, questions of public policy—once viewed as inappropriate—have come to dominate confirmation deliberations. As a result, the confirmation process is best viewed as an extension of the policy struggles between the White House and Capitol Hill and one mechanism at the legislature's disposal for exercising control over the executive branch.

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