Talent and Organization - General Election

Presidential campaign organizations worked hard on the national level and in key states.  The Obama campaign team had significant advantages.  First, they effectively had a one-year head start on the general election, as Romney had to first get through the primaries and really did not start expanding his campaign staff until May-June 2012.  Obama's campaign also had many more staff, greater depth and greater diversity.

this page revised July 2013

Romney Johnson (L)
Stein (G)
Goode (C)

Barack Obama

The re-elect campaign, headquartered in Chicago, formally launched on April 4, 2011.  Many of the key staff moved over from the White House or the DNC.  Former White House senior advisor David Axelrod moved back to Chicago and is playing a key role as a consultant.  Jim Messina, who was White House deputy chief of staff for operations and served as chief of staff on the 2008 campaign, is the campaign manager.  Serving as deputy campaign managers are Jen Dillon O'Malley, who had been serving as executive director at the DNC, Juliana Smoot, most recently White House social secretary, who was finance director on the 2008 campaign and Stephanie Cutter, who previously served at the White House as deputy to senior advisor David Plouffe.  Others who have moved over from the DNC include COO Ann Marie Habershaw, Mitch Stewart and Jeremy Bird from Organizing for America, and finance director Rufus GiffordElizabeth Jarvis-Shean moved over from serving as research director at the White House.  At the DNC, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is chairman.  Patrick Gaspard moved over from his position as White House political director to serve as executive director of the party starting March 1, 2011.  Obama's 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe succeeded Axelrod at the White House as senior advisor and is coordinating between the campaign and the White House.  The White House team is led by Jack Lew, announced as chief of staff on Jan. 9, 2012, succeeding Bill Daley.

Mitt Romney 

Former Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign traces back to his 2008 campaign and then the Free & Strong America PAC.  Leading the effort day to day is Matt Rhoades, who served as communications director on the '08 campaign.  Beth Myers, Peter Flaherty and Eric Fehrnstrom, also from the '08 campaign, continue as senior advisors.  Stewart Stevens is strategist, Rich Beeson is political director, Gail Gitcho and Andrea Saul head the communications team, and Spencer Zwick is finance chair.  The campaign was relatively lean during the primaries, but has grown substantially since then.  At the RNC, Reince Priebus, who formerly chaired the Wisconsin Republican Party is chairman and Jeff Larson is chief of staff.

Gary Johnson

Former Gov. Gary Johnson's top political advisor is Salt Lake City-based Ron Neilsen, who directed Johnson's 501(c)(4) OUR America Initiative and who ran Johnson's first campaign for governor.

Jill Stein

Ben Manski is campaign manager.  He has over a decade experience in Green Party politics, including candidate for Wisconsin Assembly District 77 (Madison's West Side) in 2010, elected co-chair of the Green Party of the United States in 2001, national director of the Campus Greens USA, and Midwest field director on Nader 2000.

Virgil Goode

primary campaign organizations