« Talent and
Organization - 2012 Primary Campaigns
Talent and Organization - 2012 Primary Campaigns
Former Gov. Mitt Romney ran a very different, leaner campaign than
his 2007-08 effort and emerged from the field of Republican hopefuls
as his party's nominee. While the GOP candidates were engaged in
their primary contests, President Obama's re-election team focused on
building an huge organization on the ground.
[campaign focused on NH, MI, PR, CA and UT; ended
campaign June 29, 2012] Karger
is campaign manager. Kevin Miniter, a 2005 Georgetown
University graduate (interdisciplinary studies), was the first staffer
starting in 2010, as Karger's traveling aide; he moved to
New Hampshire in early July 2011 and continues as Karger's key
operative. Rina Shah
started March 1, 2011 as communications director; she most recently
worked for a couple of years on Capitol Hill as a schedule coordinator
and has also worked in TV news and as a freelance writer. Brian
Wilson, based in L.A., is CFO. Nathan Treloar served as
Iowa state director from Nov. 2010 (announced Nov. 22) through June
Feb. 23, 2012 running as Independent; ended campaign May 31,
Roemer focused much of his attention on New
Hampshire, where Chris Buck was
[May 2, 2012] The campaign went through a number of
appeared to be all but over in
June; it suffered the mass resignation of more
than a dozen senior staff and consultants on June 9, 2011. On
June 21 the finance team quit. However, a series of strong debate
performances kept Gingrich's candidacy alive. It underwent rapid
growth starting in Nov.
2011, building out organizations in the key early states. Michael
Krull served as the campaign manager; he previously was national
director of American Solutions.
Joe DeSantis is communications
director and Amy Pass is
finance coordinator. At the end of March 2012, however, the
campaign underwent a significant downsizing, laying off a third of
full-time staff. Vince Haley
assumed the role of campaign manager.
[suspended campaign April 10, 2012] Among the key
players on former Sen. Santorum's team
are campaign manager Mike
Biundo, who originally signed up during the PAC phase as NH
director and then served as national political director, senior advisor
and media consultant John Brabender,
Gidley, brought on in the latter part of July, senior
communications advisor and spokeswoman Virginia
Davis, and director of
policy and speechwriting Seth Liebsohn.
Amanda Kornegay is finance
[suspended campaign Jan. 19, 2012] Key players on Gov.
Perry"s team are senior advisors Tony
Fabrizio, Fred Maas and
Joe Allbaugh, announced Oct.
24, 2011, and campaign manager Rob
Johnson, consultant David
Carney, political director Wayne
director Ray Sullivan, policy
and strategy director Deirdre Delisi and
[suspended campaign Jan. 16, 2012] The campaign which
had been headquartered in Orlando,
FL, moved its headquarters to New Hampshire from the beginning of
October 2011 and focused almost all of its efforts there.
Huntsman finished his service as ambassador at
the end of April 2011 and formally announced on June 21. A
team in waiting
had been put together throughout the first part of the year at Horizon
PAC (H-PAC), however the organization has since undergone a significant
anount of change. John Weaver,
David moved up to campaign
In late August media strategist Fred
Davis of Strategic Perception,
Inc. left to work on the Our Destiny PAC. Whit Ayers
is pollster. The campaign skipped Iowa.
[suspended campaign Jan. 4, 2012] Key people on Rep.
Michele Bachmann's team are first
her husband Marcus Bachmann,
whom she met when they were working on the Jimmy Carter campaign.
Keith Nahigian took over as
campaign manager in early Sept. 2011 after initial campaign manager Ed
Rollins stepped aside, as did CEO and deputy campaign manager David
Polyansky. In addition to Nahigian, other key people on
Bachmann's team are press
Stewart, and senior advisors Brett
Heckman and Becki Donatelli.
Jody Thomas and Mary Heitman are the finance
directors. The campaign is focusing most of its efforts on Iowa,
where Eric Woolson is campaign
manager. Pollster Ed
Goeas was a prominent figure in the first part of the campaign but left
after the NV debate. Several people came over from the
to work on the campaign, but have since returned to the Hill.
[announced Dec. 28, 2011 seeking Libertarian nomination] 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.
[suspended campaign Dec. 3, 2011] Mark Block,
who had been state director of the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for
Prosperity since 2005, is chief of staff.
Linda J. Hansen is executive
vice president/deputy chief of staff. Jamie Brazil is vice president of
national field and political operations.
J.D. Gordon assumed a key role as vice president of campaign
communications and foreign policy
and security advisor starting Sept. 1, 2011. The campaign
rapid growth following Cain's win in the Presidency 5 straw poll in
Orlando, FL, but allegations of sexual harrassment followed by reports
of an affair led Cain to announce suspension of the campaign effort on
Dec. 4, 2011.
[ended campaign Sept. 22, 2011] Martin Van Valkenburg
advisor/Michigan director. He is a senior lobbyist with Capitol
L.L.C., a Michigan-based, multi-client government relations consulting
[ended campaign Aug. 14, 2011] Nick
considered one of the top Republican operatives in the country, has
served as Pawlenty's campaign manager effective April 25, 2011
(announced April 11). In the pre-campaign period then-Gov. Tim
Pawlenty had top notch operatives Phil
Musser, Terry Nelson
and Sarah Taylor as senior
advisors to his Freedom First PAC starting in Oct. 2009. Musser
and Taylor have been most visible in the first months of the
campaign. Jon Seaton is
political director. The communications team is headed by
communications director AnnMarie
Hauser and national press secretary Alex Conant. Brian Haley heads the finance team
(announced by the exploratory committee on March 28). The
Pawlenty campaign was the most aggressive in putting staff on the
ground in the key states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Zachery Michael served as senior advisor until his resignation (+) on June 14, 2011. (On July 19 he announced he is supporting Rep. Bachmann).
former possible candidates:
Media accounts describe former Gov. Sarah Palin's Sarah PAC as operating with something of an "ad hoc" approach with little emphasis on hierarchy and titles. Among those in the inner circle are, first, husband Todd Palin and then Andrew Davis, Rebecca Mansour, Timothy Crawford and attorney Thomas Van Flein.
(ruled out May 22, 2011) Daniels did almost no
activity related to a presidential campaign. Eric Holcomb, elected as chairman of
the Indiana Republican Party in January 2011, was a key
figure in Daniels' political circle. He previously served as
deputy chief of staff in Daniels
office and was a key
member of Daniels’ 2004 and 2008 campaigns, serving as campaign manager
in 2008. He also managed campaigns for former Rep.
John N. Hostettler and former Vincennes Mayor Terry Mooney.
College. Brian McGrath served
as executive director of Gov. Mitch Daniels' Aiming Higher PAC.
Previously he was Assistant Vice President of Workforce and Economic
Development Partnerships for the Department of Workforce and Economic
Development at Ivy Community College. Finance director on
Daniels' 2008 re-election campaign. Director of Development and
Director of Programs and State Relations at the Milton & Rose D.
Friedman Foundation. Finance director for the Indiana Republican
Party. B.A. from Indiana University.
(ruled out May 14, 2011) Hogan Gidley is executive director of HUCK PAC (announced Feb. 2010). He served as communications director for Sen. Elizabeth Dole (NC)'s re-election campaign in 2008. Executive director of the South Carolina Republican party in 2006-07. Worked for Richard Quinn and Associates, where he served as campaign adviser and spokesperson to South Carolina Gov. David Beasley. From 2000-04, Gidley worked in a variety of roles for Gov. Mike Huckabee, including director of media operations. Another key Huckabee-ite is Huckabee's daughter, Sarah Huckabee, who most recently served as campaign manager on Rep. John Boozman's successful U.S. Senate campaign in Arkansas. She headed the PAC from its founding in April 2008, after serving as national field director on his presidential campaign.
(ruled out April 25, 2011) One of the key people in
Barbour's realm is nephew Henry
Barbour, who is the Republican National Committeeman for the
state of Mississippi, partner at Capitol Resources LLC, and who managed
Barbour's 2003 campaign for governor. Barbour seemed on his way
to launching a campaign. In March 2011 veteran
communications strategist Jim Dyke
of Charleston, SC signed on as communications advisor. Also in
March, Barbour brought on as advisors veteran political operatives Mike Dennehy and Paul Young in New Hampshire and Sally Bradshaw in Florida. In
the first part of April Matt Gronewald
started with Haley's PAC in Iowa. Politico
even reported on April 25, when Barbour ruled out a run, that Barbour
lined up" Rob Collins as likely campaign manager.
(ruled out April 20, 2011) Among those on Pataki's
team at Revere America are Christopher
Larson, managing director of the Pataki-Cahill Group, David Catalfamo of Capitol Public
Strategies in Albany, Kim Minarich,
For other early work on campaign organization see the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza ("Inner Circle") and Politico (for example, the Romney page is at...http://www.politico.com/2012-election/mitt-romney/campaign-insiders/index.html)