Imagine you are a member of the House of Representatives. It is the first weekend of a planned 2-week recess from Congress, and you are about to begin your first town hall meeting of the congressional session. It is May following your last election (held the prior November). This means it is 14 months to your next primary and 16 months until your next general election.
Your first question from a constituent is a contentious one, asking you to justify your recent vote on a controversial healthcare bill. It is clear that this constituent does not agree with your position, but it is unclear whether or not they voted for you in the last election. Upon asking you the question, the crowd reacts with a mixture of applause and boos. It is clear that your re-election campaign must begin in earnest.
In an essay of no more than 400 words, discuss how you would respond and your larger mix of behaviors for re-election. What factors do you consider in your response? Do you opt to defend your position, engage with the criticism, or pivot to another issue altogether? After the town hall, do you make a point of being present at non-controversial events, or do you ensure that your positions are popular? Do you pursue a media blitz? There is no “correct” way to respond, but it should be clear from your answer that you have considered the strategies Mayhew describes.