Losing Our Elections

What I Learned Running for Congress, and How We Can Fix Our Broken Politics

What is it really like to run for Congress?

In 2015, Jim Spurlino decided to run for the congressional seat recently vacated by longtime Ohio congressman John Boehner. Though he had no political experience, he—like many other Americans—had been a passionate observer of national politics. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a difference.

Running as an outsider with a background as a successful owner of a construction mate­rials company, his campaign was a test of the system—to see if a moderate candidate from outside the political establishment could bring fresh thinking to the public conversation.

In the course of a four-month campaign in the Republican primary, he encountered the good, the bad, and the ugly: heartfelt sup­porters; hardball consultants; endless, mind-numbing fundraising calls; smear campaigns; and even blank manila envelopes with damag­ing information. In the end, he walked away with 7 percent of the vote and an education in modern American politics.

Losing Our Elections captures what life is re­ally like for political candidates—how and why campaigns are run, the pressures they face, the compromises they make, and the failures of the system—and presents a compelling roadmap for getting our country back on track.

ISBN: 978-1-63755-236-0
SKU: 18-947-01
Categories:RealClear Publishing, Memoirs and Biographies, Political, Politics and Current Affairs, Politics and Current Affairs, RealClear Publishing

“Engaging, fast-paced, candid, and alarming. In Losing Our Elections, Jim Spurli­no reveals what it’s really like to run for Congress as a first-time candidate. It’s a must-read for anyone thinking about running and for all who are troubled by the influence of Super PACs on U.S. elections.”—BOB TAFT, former governor of Ohio

In Losing Our Elections, Jim Spurlino tells a story that is as cautionary as it is gripping, exposing the incentives baked into our political system that give way too much power to the most extreme voices in our country at the expense of working families and common sense.”—NANCY JACOBSON, founder and CEO of No Labels

“I’m often asked why so few pragmatists run for Congress and why so many extrem­ists get elected. This entertaining and highly readable book explains how winning primary elections requires actions that pull candidates to the ideological poles and are inconsistent with becoming an effective legislator. Losing Our Elections offers a thoughtful list of electoral reforms that I hope our country will adopt.”—NEAL SIMON, author of Contract to Unite America and 2018 candidate for U.S. Senate

Losing Our Elections presents a candid and captivating look at the challenges of seeking office in a polarized America. Though many of these revelations are dis­couraging, the book is fundamentally optimistic, providing a roadmap for debate over needed election reforms. It is a must-read for anyone considering elected office and a great read for everyone who cares about governing our divided country.”—JASON GRUMET, president and founder of the Bipartisan Policy Center

Jim Spurlino

Former Candidate for US Congress and Entrepreneur


Jim Spurlino was a candidate for Congress in Ohio’s Eighth Congressional District in 2016. He is the founder of Spurlino Materials, a nationally recognized supplier of construction materials.

For more than a decade, he has been active on a range of issues, including small business, construction, transportation, and early childhood issues pertaining to at-risk families.

He has been a longtime advocate for good government, speaking at the local, state, and national levels. His board service has been wide-ranging and includes the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Ohio Concrete, Every Child Succeeds, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), and Council for a Strong America.

He is a graduate of the University of Dayton with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA. He lives in Ohio with his wife, Tricia, and they are the parents of eight children.