Thomas Brunell

Professor of Political Science
Program Head of Political Science, Public Policy and Political Economy
Tags: Political Science

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Political Science
University of California at Irvine - 1997
M.A. - Political Science
University of California at Irvine - 1993
B.A. - Political Science
University of California at Irvine - 1991


Brunell, Thomas L. Notes on the 2008 U.S. General Election. Electoral Studies, forthcoming. forthcoming - Publication
Stone Sweet, Alec and Thomas L. Brunell. 2013. “Trustee Courts and the Judicialization of International Regimes: The Politics of Majoritarian Activism in the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization. Journal of Law and Courts 1(1): 61- 88. 2013 - Publication
Brunell, Thomas L. 2012. The One Person, One Vote Standard in Redistricting: The Uses and Abuses of Population Deviations in Legislative Redistricting. Case Western Reserve Law Review 62(4): 1057- 1077. 2012 - Publication
Brunell, Thomas L. and Harold Clarke. 2012. Who Wants Electoral Competition and Who Wants to Win? Political Research Quarterly 65(1): 124-137. 2012 - Publication
Stone Sweet, Alec and Thomas L. Brunell. 2012. The European Court of Justice, State Non-Compliance, and the Politics of Override. American Political Science Review 106(1): 204-213. 2012 - Publication
Grofman, Bernard, Thomas L. Brunell, and Scott L. Feld. 2012. Towards a Theory of Bicameralism: The Neglected Contributions of the Calculus of Consent. Public Choice 152(1-2): 147-161. 2012 - Publication
Merrill, Samuel, Bernard Grofman, and Thomas L. Brunell. 2011. “Do British Politics  Exhibit Electoral Cycles?” British Journal of Political Science 41(1): 33-55. 2011 - Publication
Adams, James, Thomas Brunell, Bernard Grofman, and Samuel Merrill, III. Why Candidate Divergence Should be Expected to be Just as Great (or even Greater) in Competitive Seats as in Non-Competitive Ones. Public Choice, forthcoming. 2010 - Publication
Smith, David and Thomas L. Brunell. Are Special Elections to the U.S. House a General Election Baromoter? Legislative Studies Quarterly, forthcoming. 2010 - Publication
Brunell, Thomas L. and Justin Buchler. Ideological Representation and Competitive Congressional Elections. Electoral Studies, forthcoming. 2009 - Publication


The University of Texas at Dallas [2009–Present]
Associate Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [2005–2009]
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Northern Arizona University [2003–2005]
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Binghamton University, SUNY [1999–2003]
American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow
Visiting Assistant Professor
University of California, Irvine [1997–1998]


Ideological Swing Districts in the U.S. House of Representatives
2001–2001 with A.J. Quackenbush. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA August 30-September 2, 2001.
The Impact of Primary Type on Competitiveness of U.S. Congressional Primary Elections
2005–2005 Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, September 1-5, 2004.
Party Polarization and Divided Government
2000–2000 American Politics Research Group, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. December 1, 2000.
The Relationship Between Parties and Interest Groups: Explaining Interest Group Donations
2002–2002 Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, MA August 26-September 1, 2002.
Rethinking Redistricting: How Drawing Districts Packed with Partisans Improves Representation and Attitudes Towards Congress
2005–2005 Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, September 1-4, 2005.

Additional Information

Redistricting and Litigation Experience
  • Expert Witness, Pennsylvania Congressional, 2002, testified in state and federal court
  • Expert Witness, Texas Congressional, 2001, testified in state court
  • Expert Witness, Alabama Congressional, 2002, testified in federal court
  • Member of Litigation Team, Arizona State Legislative, 2003
  • Rebuttal Witness, Alaska State Legislative, 2002
  • Expert Witness (wrote a report but did not testify), Virginia State Legislative, 2001
Teaching Experience
  • Introduction to U.S. and Texas Government
  • Political Parties and Interest Groups
  • American Political Institutions
  • Race and Redistricting
  • Congress
  • Campaigns and Elections
  • Statistics
  • Computer Based Research in Social Science
  • Graduate seminar in American Politics
  • Graduate seminar in Electoral Systems
  • Graduate seminar in American Political Institutions
  • Graduate seminar in Comparative Institutions
Ph.D Students
  • Paul Collins, faculty at University of North Texas
  • DeWayne Lucas, faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Marcus Allen, faculty at Wheaton College
  • Billy Monroe, faculty at Stephen F. Austin State College
  • Amy Gould, faculty at Evergreen State College
  • Walt Borges, faculty at Grinnell College
  • Nicholas Morgan, Chair
  • David Smith, Chair
  • Diane Verrill, Committee member
  • Benedict Uroda, Committee member

News Articles

EPPS Names New Associate, Assistant Deans
UT Dallas’ School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS) has named a new associate dean for graduate programs and assistant dean for undergraduate studies. Dr. Tom Brunell, professor of political science, will oversee the graduate students, and Dr. Sarah Maxwell, clinical assistant professor in criminology and public policy, will work with students seeking bachelor’s degrees. Brunell succeeds Dr. Euel Elliott, professor of political science, who helped oversee a major expansion of the school during his 15 years in the position. Dr. Kruti Dholakia-Lehenbauer, clinical professor in public policy and political economy, formerly assisted the undergraduates.
Professor Questions Traditional Election Assumptions
For the first time in decades, the nation is witnessing an intensively competitive race for the Democratic nomination for president.onventional wisdom holds that competitive elections are good for the electorate because they attract more people to the polls and keep elected officials honest by making them more closely follow the wishes of the electorate. But is competition always a good thing for voters? Given a choice, American voters would rather win than compete, according to Thomas Brunell, an associate professor in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas, whose new book argues for less competition in general elections, not more. In his new book, Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections are Bad for America, (2008, Routledge), he says rather than draw districts 50-50, draw them so that they are overwhelmingly of one party or the other. Such a non-competitive system, would result in more competitive primary elections, better representation for all and less gerrymandering, the process in which the party in power draws district lines in order to dilute votes from the other party.