Join MTSU students Oct. 28 for analysis of hottest...

Join MTSU students Oct. 28 for analysis of hottest midterm elections

Curious about the hottest midterm Congressional races around the country and what effect they could have on our nation? Count on MTSU’s newest campaign analysts — students enrolled in Kent Syler’s special midterm elections course — to give you the answers Tuesday, Oct. 28.

Students in the interdisciplinary course “Advertising, Communications and Strategy in the 2014 Midterm Election” will offer critiques on 11 U.S. Senate and House races beginning at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in Room S-328 of MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building.

Syler and the students are encouraging the public to attend. A searchable campus map with parking notes is available at

“We have 22 students in 11 teams, and they’re each responsible for being experts on a particular Senate and House race,” Syler said of the class, which is serving political science, sociology and journalism majors.

“We’ve been discussing national strategies for this midterm election — how the GOP is trying to nationalize the races and make them a referendum on Obama, and the Democrats are trying to localize the races and focus on local issues. These students are looking at polling, ads, the issues and changes from week to week, and they’re watching which races really have been heating up.”

The presentations will be succinct and will include clips of campaign ads, news coverage and more from the races.

Kent Syler

Kent Syler

“There’s one race we’re watching in Alaska that includes an ad with an X Games star attacking a candidate for not looking like he knows what he’s doing on a snowmobile,” Syler said with a laugh. “That is the first time I’ve ever seen that, definitely.”

The students will focus on national issues that “everyone is talking about,” the professor added, and they’ll explain the importance of state- and district-specific issues in other areas with which Tennesseans may not be familiar.

Syler, an MTSU alumnus who’s taught at the university since 2002, has been involved in politics for more than 30 years. He managed former Congressman Bart Gordon’s 1984 campaign and served as Gordon’s chief of staff from 1985 until Gordon retired in 2011.

He’s also served as a political analyst for Nashville media for several years and will be offering commentary on the Nov. 4 elections for WSMV-Channel 4.

“I’ll be bringing these students up to WSMV on election night, too, and they’ll be helping get the election results to the live broadcast,” he said. “It’s a great and exciting opportunity for them to be right in the middle of all the action and behind the scenes as well.”

For more information on the Oct. 28 event, email Syler at

— Gina E. Fann (