Union University

Union University Department of Political Science

Department of Political Science


Faculty > Sean F. Evans

Sean Evans is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science. He received his B.A. from Lipscomb University, his M.A. from the University of Alabama, and his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. Dr. Evans primarily teaches courses in American politics, but his area of expertise and research focus is American national institutions and elections. He also serves as Union's Pre-Law Advisor and is sponsor of the Union Pre-Law Society.

His most recent research focuses on strategic retirements in the House. In an age when incumbents win 98% of the time, most congressional turnover occurs through retirement. Therefore, this research examines why politicians retire. Using data from the 80th to the 109th Congress (1946-2006), my colleagues and I find that politicians are strategic and retire when their congressional seats are vulnerable or to run for a higher office when a good opportunity presents itself rather than difficult national conditions for their party or dissatisfaction with serving in congress.

Previously, his research has focused on the legislative strategies the minority party pursues to become the majority party, the impact of competitive primaries at the state and local level, the role of self-financing candidates running for elective office, and whether congressional norms still exist and how they have changed over time.

In the future, Dr. Evans hopes to examine how majority and minority party careers differ and to continue his research on legislative learning by studying mentor relations in Congress. Previously, his research has been published in American Politics Quarterly, Vital Statistics of American Politics, and the Encyclopedia of the United States Constitution and he has presented papers at the American Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association, Southern Political Science Association, Western Political Science Association, and the Tennessee Political Science Association. He is also the President of the Tennessee Political Science Association.

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