I read and enjoyed Tracey Richardson’s 2008 book The Candidate*, about presidential candidate Jane Kincaid and her secret service agent Alex Warner. At the conclusion of The Candidate, Jane had been elected vice president of the United States and was openly involved with Alex. When I heard about Richardson’s follow-up, The Campaign, I couldn’t resist–especially since it’s an election year. Unfortunately, the sequel left me a little bit cold, perhaps because the glut of embarrassing (for both parties) political advertisements have made it almost impossible for me to believe that any candidate would be as idealistic and high-minded as Jane Kincaid–and actually get elected.

Jane is back on the campaign trail as her running mate, Dennis Collins, runs for re-election. She’s got Alex on her side as always, as well as her sister, who manages her campaign. Corey Kincaid is younger than Jane, and has recently realized that she too might be a lesbian. Almost all parties agree that the last person Corey should be experimenting with is Alex’s ex-lover, Julia Landen, who is covering the campaign for her Florida newspaper. When Julia receives some sensitive information about President Collins that could blow the campaign wide open, she’s torn between bringing it to Corey and doing her duty as a journalist. In the meantime, Jane and Alex struggle with an overly interfering gay rights group, the pressures of the campaign schedule on their relationship, and the persistent rumors that Jane will be breaking from Collins to run for president herself.

If this sounds like a lot of irons in the fire, it is. Richardson flips between Jane and Alex’s established relationship and and Corey and Julia’s blossoming attraction successfully enough, but the book could have used . . . something else. I had to push myself to finish it. Perhaps I wasn’t in the right move to believe that an out lesbian could successfully run for the highest office in the land, and one day I hope that we will be able to point to The Campaign and hail Tracey Richardson as a sage. But in the meantime, I’m too tied up in knots about the actual election to have much faith in this one.

*If you haven’t read that book and want to remain unspoiled, read no farther.