Robynn Kuhlmann, Ph.D.

University of Central Missouri

Country: United States (Missouri)

About Me:

Robynn Kuhlmann is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Missouri.  Her field of expertise include state politics, voting and elections, and political parties.  Her research interests include how political institutions affect political behavior. 

Research Interests

Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior

State and Local Politics

Political Parties and Interest Groups

Countries of Interest

United States


Journal Articles:

(2017) Legislative Term Limits and Voter Turnout., State Politics and Policy Quarterly

According to reformers, legislative term limits should increase voter turnout by enhancing electoral competitiveness for legislative seats. However, this claim has been largely untested. The only existing study of the effect of legislative term limits on voter turnout, to date, finds that turnout in California did not increase after the imposition of term limits and may have decreased turnout. Yet, it is unclear whether this result generalizes to other states. This study employs a comparative state analysis of both aggregate turnout and district-level turnout rates in state legislative elections. We find that term limits significantly increase voting rates in state legislative elections.

Books Written:

(2016) Show Me Missouri Politics: A Guidebook to the Missouri Constitution., Kendall Hunt

This book is meant to be a brief guide to the Missouri Constitution and politics for students who are taking courses in American government. State constitutions, in general, are often overlooked due a primary focus on national politics. While many are paying attention to a plethora of issues framed in the context of national politics, such as national security, immigration, welfare, and abortion, discussion about a state’s action and state constitutional provisions are often overlooked. Much of the political action in the United States is at the state level. With recent patterns of U.S. Congress deemed the ‘do nothing Congress,’ states are far from inactive in creating, implementing, and affecting the day to day lives of citizens. Indeed, Missouri is a state that fits this mold.

Book Chapters:

(2016) See Hillary Run: Hillary Clinton, American Exceptionalism, and Exceptions to the Rule. Co-authored with Gregory Streich. In The Global Hillary eds Dinesh Sharma, Routledge

Is there a linkage between "smart power" and Hillary Clinton's leadership style? Can she advance American leadership and women's development worldwide? The Global Hillary addresses these questions and many others. Bringing together two key aspects of Clinton’s ongoing career―her advocacy for international women’s rights and the mission to foster democratic development around the world―The Global Hillary critically analyzes Clinton’s role as a transformative leader of global influence. Essays in this collection provide insight into Clinton’s leadership style, particularly her use of American "smart power" in foreign policy, while examining her impact on the continuing worldwide struggle for women’s rights. Using international perspectives on the historical and cultural contexts of Clinton’s leadership, this book also looks toward the future of women’s political leadership in the 21st century with special attention to the prospect of electing a woman to the United States presidency.


(2018) Term limits boost turnout in state legislative elections, London School of Economics American Politics and Policy Blog

In recent years, some commentators have proposed introducing Congressional term limits as a way of decreasing gridlock in the US House and to increase the public’s trust for politicians. But would such limits actually be effective in re-energizing the democratic process? Daniel C. Lewis and Robynn Kuhlmann examine the effects of term limits in the 15 US states that have introduced them since the 1990s. They find that term limits can significantly increase voter turnout as well as encouraging people to vote in down-ballot races.

(2018) In Missouri’s Senate race, Claire McCaskill is tacking to the center to fend off Josh Hawley’s partisan warfare., London School of Economics American Policy and Policy Blog

The US Senate race in Missouri between incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican state Attorney General Josh Hawley is one of only a small number of toss-up races in the 2018 midterms. Robynn Kuhlmann writes that while McCaskill has had to walk a political tightrope by embracing more moderate positions to appeal to a wider base of voters, Hawley has focused on energizing the state’s conservative base by accusing his opponent of being too liberal for the Show Me State.

(2018) Governor Eric Greitens’ resignation will do little to help Missouri’s Democrats this fall, London School of Economics American Politics and Policy Blog

Less than a month ago, Missouri’s Republican Governor Eric Greitens resigned in the wake of a number of scandals including accusations of corruption and sexual misconduct. Robynn Kuhlmann writes that Greitens’ resignation means that politics in the Republican-dominated Show Me State are now more or less back to normal, and that state Democrats should not expect an electoral bump this fall. Even the state’s US Senator, Claire McCaskill, faces a tough race to keep her seat as her Republican challenger, state Attorney General Josh Hawley’s, political fortunes have benefited from Greitens’ resignation.

(2016) In Missouri’s Senate race, Democrat Jason Kander’s positioning as an outsider has put Roy Blunt’s incumbency into a disadvantage, London School of Economics American Policy and Policy (blog)

Republican Roy Blunt won Missouri’s open Senate seat in 2010 by a wide margin, but is now running neck and neck with his 2016 challenger, Democrat Jason Kander. As part of our series covering key Senate races in the 2016 election, Robynn Kuhlmann writes that Kander’s anti-establishment campaign which has called for change has turned Blunt’s incumbency into a disadvantage.

Media Appearances:

Radio Appearances:

(2018) KCUR (Kansas City Public Radio)

Why Kansas City Voters Are Turning Out.

(2018) KCUR (Kansas City Public Radio)

Missouri’s New Redistricting Rules Are Unique In The U.S., And Not Immune From Changing

(2018) KCUR (Kansas City Public Radio)

Lawmakers React To Gov. Greitens' Indictment.

(2017) KCUR (Kansas City Public Radio)

state senator faces likely expulsion

(2016) KCUR (Kansas City Public Radio)

A Third Option for Fed-Up Voters

(2016) KCUR (Kansas City Public Radio)

Analysis of the 2016 Missouri Primary results

(2014) KCUR (Kansas City Public Radio)

Political Pundits: Election Aftermath

(2014) KCUR (Kansas City's Public Radio)

Political Pundits: Midterm Election Blitz

Newspaper Quotes:

(2019) The Guardian

How gerrymandering paved the way for the US's anti-abortion movement

(2019) Kansas City Star

Parson’s longtime friend is a lobbyist, and their money ties could cloud governor’s bid

(2019) Associated Press

Missouri GOP Gov. Parson announces 2020 bid to keep his job

(2019) Missourinet

Missouri Congressman invites Trump to deliver State of the Union in Springfield

(2018) KCUR (Kansas City Public Radio)

Why Sen. Claire McCaskill's Final Effort To Bridge Missouri's Divides Fell Short

(2018) KCUR (Kansas City Public Radio)

Despite Troubled Tenure And New Indictment, Some Voters Are Standing By Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens

(2018) U.S. News & World Report

Flipping the Script on Obamacare - The once-maligned health care law has seen even some of its staunchest opponents tone down their rhetoric.

(2018) Kansas City Star

‘Not far enough left’? McCaskill takes moderate approach in Senate race with Hawley

(2018) Associated Press

Missouri campaigners gear up for right-to-work vote

(2018) Kansas City Star

Right-to-work vote is coming in Missouri, but will a change in timing boost GOP?

(2018) Kansas City Star

Greitens ‘doesn't have a friend.’ Does it matter for Republican legislative hopefuls?

(2018) Kansas City Star

A Democrat flips a Missouri House seat, and GOP infighting ensues

(2018) Kansas City Star

As unions spend big, right-to-work’s proponents need ‘more money than we’ve got’

(2018) McClatchy, Washington Bureau

Hawley under fire on pre-existing conditions as pressure from Dems mounts

(2018) Kansas City Star

Where’s Gov. Greitens? Not with Trump on this visit to Missouri

(2018) McClatchy, DC Bureau

McCaskill plans to vote against embattled Kavanaugh for Supreme Court seat

(2018) Kansas City Star

Nonpartisan groups register 87,000 in effort to engage black Missourians in midterms

(2018) Kansas City Star

Unions give big to block ‘right to work’ in expensive Missouri ballot initiative race

(2018) Kansas City Star

Republicans worry Greitens will ‘burn it all down’ and threaten Hawley’s chances

(2018) Kansas City Star

Blackmail allegations put Greitens’ ability to govern, political future at grave risk

(2018) Associated Press

Greitens’ resignation shifts Missouri’s focus to Senate race

(2018) Missourinet

Missouri political scientist doubtful Trump intervenes in Greitens’ fate

(2017) McClatchy DC

Why Trump could create headaches for both McCaskill, Hawley in critical Senate race

(2017) Kansas City Star

McCaskill not surprised by release of Bannon, pressed on Charlottesville protest

(2017) Kansas City Star

McCaskill at town hall: ‘My job isn’t to fight the president’

(2016) Kansas City Star

Jason Kander wants you to know that he’s running for Senate as a veteran

(2016) Kansas City Star

Missouri Republicans backed by megadonor Rex Sinquefield lost big Tuesday night

(2016) Missourinet

Missourians serving as RNC delegates projected to spend $2,000 - $3,000

(2016) Kansas City Star

Blunt, Kander poised for expensive dash in Missouri’s Senate race

(2016) Missourinet

Missouri political scientist calls Sander’s endorsement of Clinton before convention ‘strategic

(2016) Kansas City Star

What’s going to win big MO Tuesday? Here’s your primary forecast

(2016) Missourinet

Missouri GOP convention to select candidates, could consider closed primary.

(2016) Kansas City Star

Most voters have decided who they will pick in November, which complicates fall strategies

(2016) Associated Press

Missouri lawmakers say the 2016 elections will likely play a role in the 2016 legislative session

(2016) Newsday

What to watch in tonight’s primary results

(2016) Daily Star Journal

Missouri Senate filibuster bill ends in passage of anti-gay, pro-religion bill

(2016) Associated Press

Missouri 2016 elections likely to affect state legislature

(2016) Kansas City Star

From ziplines to street cars, Kansas City is on a roll for 2016.

(2016) Kansas City Star

From ziplines to street cars, Kansas City is on a roll for 2016

(2015) Kansas City Star

Protests may move from college campuses to ballot boxes

(2015) Kansas City Star

GOP governor candidates hope to avoid repeating 1992 Missouri debacle.

(2014) Daily Star Journal

Obama Acts Unilaterally on Immigration, Draws Criticism; Could affect ’16 Election.

(2013) Daily Star Journal

Love from Lobbyists: Area Lawmakers in Midrange for State on Value of Freebies Accepted