Jennifer Lawless

Fast Facts

  • Chair, UVA Department of Politics
  • Author or co-author of six books
  • Editor of the American Journal of Political Science
  • Expertise on women and politics, campaigns and elections, political media

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Media and the Press
  • Governance
  • Elections
  • Politics

Jennifer L. Lawless is the Leone Reaves and George W. Spicer Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and chair of the UVA Department of Politics. She is also has affiliations with UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Miller Center.

Her research focuses on political ambition, campaigns and elections, and media and politics. Her most recent book, News Hole: The Demise of Local Journalism and Political Engagement, won the Harvard Shorenstein Center 2023 Goldsmith Prize for Best Academic Book. Lawless is also the author or co-author of seven other books, including Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era (with Danny Hayes) and It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office (with Richard L. Fox). Her research, which has been supported by the National Science Foundation, has appeared in numerous academic journals and is regularly cited in the popular press.

Lawless is the co-editor in chief of the American Journal of Political Science. She graduated from Union College with a BA in political science and Stanford University with an MA and PhD in political science. In 2006, she sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Rhode Island’s second congressional district. Although she lost the race, she remains an obsessive political junkie.

Jennifer Lawless News Feed

“This platform does not look like platforms that Republicans traditionally have embraced, going back, certainly to Reagan and before.”
Jennifer Lawless U.S. News & World Report
"What the [Kennedy] campaign has highlighted is that there really are a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who are looking for some alternative."
Jennifer Lawless U.S. News & World Report
Trump's claims of an unfair trial reverberate through the Republican Party and the right-wing media environment, the experts said, reflecting and amplifying the persistence and effectiveness of his narrative. "Almost the entire Republican Party has gotten in line. … They say things like, 'Oh, this is how he speaks, it's not what he means,' even though there's evidence to suggest that this is exactly what he means," said Jennifer Lawless, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. "I think they give permission to voters to say, 'All right, well, it's not going to be as dangerous as I might expect.'"
Jennifer Lawless ABC News
"The Republicans have been arguing that there's this two-tiered system of justice that disadvantages Republicans – that Republicans like Donald Trump are being accused of and tried for things that Democrats never would. And the fact that Hunter Biden was tried and convicted of these crimes suggests that that's just not true," said Lawless.
Jennifer Lawless U.S. News & World Report
Increased representation of moms in office doesn’t mean the behind-the-scenes burdens have lessened, said Jennifer Lawless, the Leone Reaves and George W. Spicer Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and chair of its politics department.
Jennifer Lawless Virginia Mercury
“Democratic women, independent women, and pro-choice voters have been mobilized by the decision to overturn Roe,” says Jennifer Lawless, a political scientist at the University of Virginia.
Jennifer Lawless The Christian Science Monitor