Sarah James Headshot

Sarah E. James

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Gonzaga University
Areas of Expertise:

About Sarah

James's research examines barriers to addressing racial and economic inequalities in the United States, with an eye to specifying how public officials and communities can overcome these obstacles. She focuses on state-level institutions and politics, given their increasing power over the design and funding of the American social safety net.


How to Revitalize America's Local Political Parties

  • Kenneth T. Andrews
  • Hahrie Han
  • Alexander W. Hertel-Fernandez ,
  • Lara Putnam
  • Daniel Schlozman Theda Skocpol , Vanessa S. Williamson
  • Caroline Tervo
  • Michael Zoorob

In the News

Quoted by Elena Perry in "After Levies Pass, but Bonds Fail, Districts Like Spokane Consider Next Steps," The Spokesman-Review, February 15, 2024.
Guest on NonStop Local KHQ, October 3, 2023.


"Institutional Capacities, Partisan Divisions, and Federal Tensions in U.S. Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic" (with Caroline Tervo and Theda Skocpol). RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 8, no. 8 (2022): 154-180.

Documents COVID-era policy decisions at the state level. Demonstrates that the extent to which state officials supported Trump's approach to the pandemic is correlated with the timing and type of COVID policies implemented.

"Mea Culpa? The Role of Data Collection in Public Officials Acknowledging Policy Failure" State Politics & Policy Quarterly 22, no. 1 (2022): 96-119.

Explores how state elected officials learn about policy failure. Shows that a state's historical investments in processes for collecting and analyzing data impact the likelihood of elected officials recognizing failure.

"Beyond Likely Voters: An Event Analysis of Conservative Political Outreach" (with Angie M. Bautista-Chavez). Political Science Quarterly 134, no. 3 (2019): 407–443.

Uses descriptions from events organized by mega-donor backed organizations to show how conservatives tailor political outreach. Shows that organizers vary their style according to the demographic of the potential new supporters they target.