With the start of the New Year comes the start of a new political cycle in the nation’s capital and in states across the United States. This may be an electoral “off year,” but the 2011 election cycle will be anything but dull as sub-national but high-profile races unfold in localities across the country and as the contours of the 2012 presidential race take shape. Policy choices made (or not made) on Capitol Hill are sure to stimulate national debate and to influence the development of political strategies by both parties. Of no less importance are the implications of the decennial congressional reapportionment and redistricting process already underway nationwide. These and myriad other developments will ensure that political drama remains high in 2011—and we can assure you that our New Year’s resolution at Campaigns & Elections is to continue to deliver in-depth coverage and incisive analysis throughout the year.
 
We kick things off with the January issue, brimming with top-notch reporting on subjects ranging from congressional redistricting to the altered balance of power in Washington. Our spotlight for the issue is political advertising. A piece by members of Harry Reid’s campaign and media teams discusses the television ads that helped him win re-election in Nevada last November. The article offers a behind-the-scenes account of how ad strategy was developed and executed and how it may have made the difference in Reid’s tight race. Ken Kurson, a principal at Jamestown Associates, offers some tips on crafting television ads that pack a punch.
 
Our cover story…
 
Our lead feature, by veteran journalist and Capitol Hill reporter Louis Jacobson, delineates the landscape of the new Congress and lays out what to expect when navigating its shifting topography. C&E managing editor Daniel Weiss offers a compelling story about political fact-checking outfits and how they are affecting the contents of campaign advertising and other political communications. And, political scientists Michael McDonald and Micah Altman draw on years spent studying legislative redistricting in an essay arguing that computers have the potential to increase public participation in this arcane process.
 
We also introduce our list of top political operatives in Michigan in the latest installment of our monthly Influencers feature.
 
Looking toward the future, on February 4 in Washington, D.C., C&E will honor recipients of our Reed Awards for excellence in campaign management and execution. Be sure to check out the February issue for the list of finalists and the March issue for profiles of award winners.
 
We extend our very best wishes to all of you for a happy and productive
2011. As always, we are grateful for your support.
 
Mike Hennessy, CEO