We believe an important element of understanding down-ballot campaigns is to note the influence of national-level forces on these lower-level races. State politics operates within a national context, and specific campaigns operating in particular years may be very much affected by the larger forces of economics and politics at the national level. We believe that former US House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s famous adage-“all politics is local”1-does apply to campaigns, but that national forces can play a large role in down-ballot races as well. Of course, national and local concerns merge in certain situations. For example, the federal government shutdown during the first two weeks of October 2013 was an

important local issue for many in Virginia’s 94th state House of Delegates district in Newport News. Because the district has a large military installation and a shipbuilding company with federal contracts, the federal shutdown had a tremendous impact on the local economy and on families living in the 94th District. As such, Republican incumbent David Yancey broke ranks with many Republican elected officials around the United States by sending a letter to all members of the Virginia US Congressional delegation, asking them to “put aside partisan differences” and resolve the federal shutdown (Murphy 2013).