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Peter J. Bergerson, Ph.D. - Florida Gulf Coast University. Fort Myers, FL, US

Peter J. Bergerson, Ph.D.

Expert in national and Florida politics and public policy | Florida Gulf Coast University


Peter Bergerson focuses on U.S. campaigns and elections, the presidency and congress.





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Peter J. Bergerson has spent the last 50 years studying the politics of the United States and the State of Florida. As a professor emeritus of political science at Florida Gulf Coast University, Bergerson looks at Florida campaigns, presidential decision making, and the legislative process at the national and state levels. Bergerson has spoken at national conventions, presidential inaugurations and in various international locations, including the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, and throughout western Europe. He also teaches courses on public policy, leadership and budgeting.

Areas of Expertise (14)

Florida Politics

Florida Elections

Florida's role in national elections

U.S. Politics


Voting Rights Policy


U.S. Census



Water Policy

Voting Behavior

Voting Rights

Voting behaviors of U.S. Senators

Accomplishments (2)

Peter J. Bergerson Day (professional)


Designated by the City Council and Mayor of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Canadian Faculty Enrichment Grant (professional)

United States-Canada Public Administration: A Comparative Analysis

Education (5)

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations: James J. Malone Fellowship 1996

University of Wisconsin: National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, Diffusion of Public Policy 1983

Saint Louis University: Ph.D., Political Science 1982

Indiana State University: M.S., Public Administration and American Government 1968

Indiana State University: B.S., Social Sciences 1967

Affiliations (4)

  • American Political Science Association : Member
  • American Society for Public Administration : Member
  • Midwest Political Science Association : Member
  • Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honor Society) : Member

Selected Media Appearances (27)

Republicans introduce bill to eliminate Democratic Party affiliation in Florida

NBC2  tv


Peter Bergerson discusses a bill introduced by Republicans that would abolish the Democratic Party from operating in Florida.

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Congressman-elect Maxwell Frost reacts to House speaker not being seated

WESH 2 News  tv


Peter Bergerson explains the next steps in the process of selecting the speaker of the House.

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How Florida counts votes so fast compared to other states

Fox 4  tv


Peter Bergerson explains how Florida counts votes.

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DeSantis becoming Republican power broker

Fox 4  tv


Peter Bergerson discusses the Florida governor's race between Ron Desantis and Charlie Christ.

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Crist pleads for national contributions as DeSantis breaks records

Fox 4  tv


Peter Bergerson discusses campaign fundraising in the Florida governor's race.

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Crist pleads for national contributions as DeSantis breaks records

Fox 4  tv


Peter Bergerson discusses campaign fundraising in the Florida governor's race.

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Analysis of Florida’s 2022 Primary Election

WGCU  radio


Peter Bergerson early voting and the general election.

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Republican Congressman Byron Donalds wins primary for his U.S. District 19 seat

News-Press  print


Peter Bergerson discusses election results.

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The John Lewis Voting Rights Act and Florida Senate Bill 90: An Explainer

WGCU  radio


Peter Bergerson explains the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

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FGCU Political Science professor gives advice for voting by mail in 2020 election

Fox 4  tv


Peter Bergerson gives advice for voting by mail to secure a ballot in 2020 election.

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SWFL impact on the 2016 presidential election

Fox 4  tv


Peter Bergerson explains the impact President Donald Trump's visit had on Southwest Florida in 2016.

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Digging deeper into the undecided vote

Fox 4  


Peter Bergerson talks about the undecided voter.

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Do polls matter?

Florida Weekly  print


Dr. Bergerson talks about the use of political polls over the last 70 years.

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Rivalry between Trump and DeSantis in the spotlight as CPAC returns to Orlando

Herald-Tribune  print


Peter Bergerson discusses the Conservative Political Action Conference.

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Experts weigh in on court allowing ex-felons to vote without paying fines and fees

Fox 4  tv


Dr. Bergerson discusses Florida's new law allowing felons to vote.

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Political Insider: Can Bernie win Florida?

Sarasota Herald-Tribune  print


Dr. Bergerson discusses the Bernie Sanders political movement.

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Iraq veteran reacts to U.S., Iran tension

Fox 4  tv


Dr. Bergerson discusses U.S. international policy.

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What's next in President Trump's impeachment

Fox 4  tv


Dr. Bergerson discusses the impeachment of Donald J. Trump.

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Is Trump’s base breaking over impeachment? The tale of a congressman’s defiance suggests not.

Washington Post  print


Peter Bergerson discusses the impact of Donald J. Trump's impeachment on the Florida voting public.

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Will Florida matter in the 2020 presidential primary?

The St. Augustine Record  print


Dr. Bergerson analyzes Florida's role in the 2020 presidential primary.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has come out blazing on a variety of issues

Florida Weekly  print


Dr. Bergerson looks at the differences between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the previous Florida governors.

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Should women be required to register for the draft?

ABC7  online


Dr. Bergerson talks about the requirements of the U.S. Selective Service System.

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How much did the Florida recount cost you?

ABC Action News  tv


Dr. Bergerson talks about taxpayer costs related to the electoral recount.

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Election 2018: Did Florida's environment win or lose on November 6?

The News-Press  print


Dr. Bergerson discusses Florida's environmental policy as it relates to the election.

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Not backing down: Senate race similar to Bush-Gore recount in 2000

12 News  tv


Dr. Bergerson compares the Florida Senate race to the presidential recount of 2000.

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Peter Bergerson on the Florida Senate Race

C-SPAN  tv


Dr. Bergerson discusses the Florida Senate contest on C-SPAN.

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Florida voters set record for mail-in ballot requests

New York Post  print


Dr. Bergerson looks at voting trends during the 2016 presidential election.

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Selected Event Appearances (1)

2020 United States Presidential Election

American Center Hanoi Lecture  U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Vietnam

Research Focus (1)

Cuba Experience

Dr. Bergerson took part in a travel and study tour of Cuba in March 2002. He was the escort of political science student on a lecture and study tour, including lectures by U.S. diplomats at the U.S. Interest section. Bergerson was also the enrichment lecturer for Sixth Star on the history of US-Cuba relations.

Selected Articles (3)

Florida Senate Race: If This Campaign Had Been a Prize Fight—They Would Have Stopped It

The Roads to Congress 2016: American Elections in a Divided Landscape

Peter Bergerson

2018 Marco Rubio’s decision to run for the presidency and initially forgo reelection to the Senate led to Florida being seen as one of five states where Democrats had a solid opportunity and could ultimate regain control of the Senate. Rubio continuously expressed his resolve to leave politics at the end of his Senate term. The Republican Senate leadership, though, was keen on keeping the Florida Senate seat and believed Rubio was their strongest contender and he acquiesced. Democrats nominated a moderate congressman, Patrick Murphy, over a progressive one, Alan Grayson. Following Florida’s August primary election, political analysts handicapped this election as a genuine “toss-up.” But Rubio quickly and clearly outpaced Murphy to the point where Democrats pulled out resources prior to Rubio’s convincing reelection victory.

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Book Chapter: Florida’s Bellwether Congressional District 13 Race: The Death of Local Politics

Road to Congress 2014

Peter J. Bergerson

2015 The 2014 midterm congressional elections provided a view of the attitude of American voters in the sixth year of Barack Obama’s presidency. This book provides insight about the formative aspects of the 2014 campaign season as well as in depth coverage of key races for Congress. The first section has four chapters that cover the substance of topics that impacted this campaign cycle: the popularity and productivity of the 113th Congress, voter suppression laws passed in many states, the role of Super PACs and independent expenditures in the campaigns, and the use of social media by members of Congress running for reelection. Case studies follow the path of ten House and seven Senate races from inception to election postmortem. The chapters are narrative and provide analysis of an array of interesting and diverse contests from throughout the country. The authors provide succinct and highly readable chapters meant to illustrate the distinctive nature of the campaigns they are examining. Individual campaigns and elections are shown “up close” and be ready to compare and contrast because of the common format employed throughout the book. Taken together, the chapters reveal that the roads to Congress, while similar in so many ways, each follow a unique route to Capitol Hill.

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The President as a Public Policy Change Agent: The Social Security Initiative

Proceedings of 2005 International Conference on Public Administration

Peter J. Bergerson

2005 The research tradition of public administration has long been devoted to the investigation of the origins, development, adoption and implementation of public policy. Scholars have developed stages or processes, which outline a sequential pattern of actions and decisions that can be distinguished and analyzed though observation. This paper focuses on the policy adoption stage of the policy process. Specifically, the paper examines the role of the President of the United States as a change agent in his efforts to initiate legislative changes in the nation’s retirement income program.

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