Obama 2012 General Election Campaign Organization, Pennsylvania
Obama for America/Organizing for America 

PENNSYLVANIA  |  Obama Main Page

page revised July 18, 2013
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State Director  Bill Hyers

Campaign manager on Gov. Steve Beshear's re-elect campaign in Kentucky, 2011.  Campaign manager on Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's 2010 gubernatorial campaign.  White House’s liaison to the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Midwest regional director on Obama's 2008 general election campaign.  Campaign manager on Jeanne Shaheen's U.S. Senate campaign in New Hampshire from Nov. 2007-July 2008.  State director on former Sen. John Edwards' Nevada caucus campaign.  Campaign manager on Michael Nutter for Mayor May 2007 Democratic primary campaign in Philadelphia.  Campaign manager for Kristen Gillibrand’s successful 2006 congressional campaign in New York’s 20th district, defeating the incumbent Republican congressman.  In Fall 2004, Hyers worked as the Coordinated Campaign Director in Alaska.  Central Iowa regional field director on Edwards' 2003-04 Iowa caucus campaign.  State field director for the Judi Dutcher for Governor primary campaign and then regional director for the Minnesota State House DFL Caucus in the 2002 cycle.  Worked on a number of local campaigns in Duluth and Minneapolis starting in 2001.  Before entering the political field, Hyers served in the U.S. Army, 1993-98; as a Military Police soldier; he was stationed in Bosnia during Operation Joint Endeavor.  B.A. in political science from St. Cloud State University in MN.  Illinois native.

General Election Director  Aletheia Henry

A regional director for Organizing for America at the DNC.  Henry worked eight states during during Obama's 2007-08 primary campaign; she attended a Camp Obama in Chicago in 2007, and started as an organizer on the Iowa caucus campaign in the Knoxville office (South Central Iowa); .  twitter


Senior Advisor for Communications  Desiree Peterkin Bell

Director of communications and strategic partnerships to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.  Director of communications for Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker, 2006-10.  Senior director and vice president of government affairs for the New York City Marketing Development Corporation, 2004-06.  Supervising legislative representative City of New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 2002-04.  Special assistant to Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, 2001-02.  Legal supervising assistant at Skadden Arps, 2000-01.  M.P.A. 2002; B.A. degrees in political science and education from Swarthmore College, 2000.  twitter

Press Secretary  Jennifer Austin

(Sept. 2011)  Previously enior communications advisor in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from May 2009.  A regional field director on Obama's 2008 campaign in Michigan.  Field manager for the International Rescue Committee, 2006-07.  Journalist at The New Vision, Uganda's daily newspaper, 2005-06.  B.A. in public policy and international affairs from Princeton University, 2005.

Eastern Regional Press Secretary  Devora Kaye

(Jan. 2012)  Deputy communications director on Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's re-election campaign, 2011.  Worked on Alex Sink's 2010 gubernatorial campaign in Florida, and earlier was executive assistant and intern coordinator at the Democratic Governors' Association in the 2010 cycle.  Worked for a political media firm in Nashville in the 2008 cycle.  M.Ed. in organizational leadership and bachelor's degree in political science and human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University.  Grew up in Santa Monica, CA.  twitter

Western Regional Press Secretary  Matthew Mittenthal

(June 2012)  Press secretary at the NYC Department of Education, 2010-12.  Deputy press secretary in the Office of the Public Advocate for the City of New York, 2009-10.  Field organizer on Obama's 2008 campaign.  B.A. in philosophy from Princeton University, 2008.

Press Assistant  Lauren Hitt

(Aug. 2012; started as a communications intern in Jan. 2012)  Working towards B.A. in communications from University of Pennsylvania.

Press Assistant  Dani Lever

(Aug. 2012)  Press officer in the Office of NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Jan. 2011-Aug. 2012.  Campaign consultant at VShift, 2010-11.  Press relations at the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation Sept.-Dec. 2009.  B.A. in journalism and mass communications from University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009.


Digital Director  Josh Cook

(Sept. 2011)  Online director at Progressives United, Feb.-Sept. 2011.  Deputy new media director at the Feingold Senate Committeee, started May 2010.  Graduate of American University, 2010; numerous internships.  twitter

Deputy Digital Director  Jessica Singleton

(Jan. 2012)  Legal coordinator (May 2011-March 2012) and legal assistant (May 2010-May 2011) at the Human Rights Campaign.  Assistant to the president at NDN, 2009-10.  B.A. in political science from Middlebury College, 2008.


Field Director  Allison Zelman

(Sept. 2011)  Worked as a policy assistant for the White House Domestic Policy Council and at the White House Council on Environmental Quality as a special assistant in legislative affairs.  Worked for over a year on Obama's 2008 campaign starting as a volunteer in California and concluding as a regional field director in New Mexico.  Bachelor's degree in international relations from Connecticut College, 2007.  twitter

Deputy Field Directors
Collar Counties  Jackie Cornell Bechelli

(Aug. 2012)  Previously OFA New Jersey state director from Jan. to Aug. 2012.  Legislative and political director at New Jersey Citizen Action since Dec. 2010.  New Jersey state director and earlier field director for Organizing for America, 2010.  Worked for Planned Parenthood in New Jersey in several positions, 2003-10.  B.A. in English and women’s and gender studies from The College of New Jersey, 2004.

Greater PA  Ryan O'Donnell

(Aug. 2012)  A regional field director for Organizing for America, 2010-11.  Projectionist at Carmike Cinemas 2007-10.  Data director on Re-Elect Mayor Ed Pawlowski (Allentown), 2009.  Field organizer on Obama's 2008 campaign.  Bachelor's degree in mathematics, education from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, 2007.

Philadelphia  Alexis Confer

(Jan. 2012)  Previously chief of state to NY City Counciman Jimmy Van Bramer, Jan. 2011-Jan. 2012.  Director of special projects to NY City Councilman Peter F. Vallone, Jr..  Campaign manager on Vallone 2009.  Youth special events director at ELCA, 2007-09; marketing associate at the Union Square Partnership, 2007-08.  Social projects evaluator in Nairobi, Kenya for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  M.P.A. in policy analysis from New York University, 2009; B.A. in political science from The George Washington University, 2004.  twitter

Western PA  Anne Batchelder

(June 2012)  Previously special assistant at USAID from Nov. 2010.  Pediatric program manager at the Clinton Foundation, 2009-10.  A regioal field director on Obama's 2008 campaign.  Acting field director at the ONE Campaign, 2005-07.  Field organizer at Debt Aids Trade Africa, 2005-06.  B.A. in sociology from Boston College, 2003.

Border States  Edna Ishayik

Communications director at the Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU School of Law, from Aug. 2008.  Executive director at the New York State Democratic Committee, 2007-08.  Deputy political director on Spitzer Paterson 2006.  Finance director on Ellner for Manhattan, 2005.  Finance director on Joe Driscoll for congress, 2004.  Campaign manager on Patti Morrissey for Delegate, 2003.  Field director on Anne Sumers for Congress, 2002.  B.A. in philosophy from Douglass College at Rutgers University.

Training Director/Deputy Field Director  Jen Higgins

(Dec. 2011)  Laptop and Mac reuse coordinator at Free Geek, 2011.  Research assistan/organizer at LGBT Mentoring Project, 2010.  twitter

Senior Field Staff Assistant  William Block

(June 2012)  High school student.  Founder (2007) and executive director of the Francis E. Low Foundation (focus is on student research into alternative energy).

54 Field Offices


Data Director  Reed Scharff

(Aug. 2011)  Regional data services director at the DNC, Feb.-Aug. 2011.  Data director at Organizing for America, June 2010-Feb. 2011.  Data analyst at the Atlas Project, 2009-10.   Field director on Tim Nelson for County Attorney (AZ), mid-2008.  B.S. in neuroscience from Brandeis University, 2008.

Deputy Data Director (SE PA and Philadelphia)  Matthew Phillips

(Jan. 2012; started in Feb. 2011 and served as a data intern and data summer organizer)  B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell, 2007.

Deputy Data Director (West, Central, NE PA)  Kate Dahl

(March 2012; also served as a data organizer in summer 2011)  B.A. in political science from Bryn Mawr, 2011; served as president of Bryn Mawr Democrats in 2010.

Deputy Data Director (GOTV)  Elliott Wilkes

(Sept. 2012)  Grassroots technology specialist for Chemonics-Kenya Transition Initiative, 2011.  Northeast regional data director at the DNC, 2009-11.  Worked on Obama's 2008 campaign as a deputy voter file director.  B.A. in international studies from Trinity University San Antonio, 2009.

Deputy Data Director (GOTV)  Joel Hartig

Working as a political data consultant in New York City.  A regional data services director at the DNC, July 2009-Jan. 2011.  Worked on Obama's 2008 campaign starting as a volunteer in Rhode Island and became the voter file manager in Wisconsin on the general election campaign.  Digital conversion specialist, lead academic editor and indexer/editorial content analyst at Lexis-Nexis.  B.A. in history from Carleton College, 2000.

Regional Data Manager  Judy Cheng

(Aug. 2012)  Ph.D. in astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz, 2012; M.S. in astronomy and astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz, 2008; B.S. in physics and astronomy from The Johns Hopkins University, 2006.

Regional Data Manager  Brian Capuder

Working towards bachelors degree in math and economics from New York University.


Policy Director  Sam Cornale

(April 2012) Served three and a half years in the Obama administration as a policy advisor to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.  Member of the Obama-Biden Transition Team in the Labor, Education, and Transportation Working Group, Nov. 2008-Feb. 2009.  Worked on Obama\'s 2008 campaign in Wisconsin as a regional field director in the general election; started as an Obama Organizing Fellow in Stevens Point (Portage County), WI.  University of Wisconsin alum.  Madison, WI native.  twitter


Political Director  Patrick Millham

Consultant at the Carey Group, a Pittsburgh-based consulting firm, from Jan. 2010.  Started working for Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato in 2007 and served as statewide field and political director on his 2010 campaign for governor.  Field director on Luke Ravenstahl's 2007 mayoral campaign in Pittsburgh.  Regional director on the Rendell for Governor campaign, 2006.  Green Corps, 2005.  Field organizer on John Kerry's presidential campaign, Fall 2004.  Graduate of University of Pittsburgh, 2005.

Deputy Political Director  Brittany Wise

Deputy finance director on Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's re-election campaign, 2011.  Worked for the Kentucky Democratic Party as event and intern coordinator.  Worked on several Kentucky State Senate races.  B.A. in political science from the University of Kentucky, 2009.

Regional Political Directors
Southeastern  Obra Kernodle

Eastern political director on Dan Onorato for Governor.  Worked in Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's administration.

Northeastern  Mary Topper

Executive director (Nov. 2008-May 2009), acting executive director (March-Nov. 2008) and director of operations (Aug. 2007-March 2008) for the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.  B.A. in political science and Russian & East European Studies from University of Pittsburgh, 2008.

Western  Grant Gittlen

Executive director of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, Jan.-Aug. 2012.  Field director on Rich Fitzgerald for County Executive, 2011-12.  Regional field director on Pennsylvania VOTE 2010, the PA Coordinated Campaign; Southwest PA regional field organizer on Onorato for Governor, Feb.-Aug. 2010.  Field organizer at Repower America, 2009-10.  Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2009.

Deputy Regional Political Directors
Sincere Harris
Dillon McGarry

Political Assistant  Astra Wallace

Associate at the Rudnick Spector Firm in Philadelphia, Sept. 2011-Feb. 2012.  J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, 2011; B.A. in comparative literature from Haverford College, 2005.

GOTV Political  Brendan Cavanagh

(started in Aug. 2012 as deputy political director)  State organizer and executive officer for the Australian Labor Party in Sydney from Feb. 2008.  President of NSW Young Labor, 2007-08.  Bachelor of laws from University of Sydney, 2012; bachelor of economic and social sciences, political science and government from University of Sydney, 2006.

Operation Vote

Operation Vote Director  Fernando Trevino-Martinez

(April 2012)  Previously NE regional field coordinator at the National Council of La Raza from Aug. 2011.  Northeast regional director at Democracia, Inc. from Sept. 2009.  Founding member of Oficina de Abogados.  J.D. from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.

Deputy Operation Vote Director  Micah Sims

(July 2012...lead for African Americans for Obama and Faith programs)  Executive producer and host of the "Micah Sims Show" on NBC Philadelphia from March 2011; CEO of MCTS Media Group from March 2009.  Hosted a weekly radio show.  In addition to his media work, Sims serves on the ministerial staff of Mt. Tabor A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia; he also founded and served as senior pastor of Victory Temple A.M.E. Church.  Bachelor's degree in communications from Villanova University, 1991.  Born and raised in Philadelphia.

Youth Vote Director  Reese Neader

(Aug. 2012)  Policy director at The Roosevelt Institute, Campus Network, May 2010-May 2012.  B.A. degree from Denison University, 2010.


GOTV Director  Kevin Puleo

National regional director for the Southwest on Organizing for America at the DNC.  Worked on Obama's 2008 campaign starting as a regional field director in Charleston, SC, then as a regional field director in Birmingham, AL and in Dallas, TX, and as field director on Obama's Colorado Campaign for Change in the general election.  Background in urban affairs and community development.  Graduate of Penn State, 1997.

Voter Protection

Voter Protection Director  Lauren Vidas

(April 2012)  Government and external affairs specialist (Jan. 2010-April 2012) and staff attorney/legislative aide (Jan. 2008-Jan. 2010) for the City of Philadelphia.  Associate attorney at Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers, 2006-08.  J.D. from University of Miami School of Law, 2005; B.A. in political science, economics from Saint Joseph's University, 2002.

Deputy Voter Protection Director  Ted Anastasiou

(Aug. 2012)  National chair of Law School Democrats of America, the law student arm of the DNC, March. 2011-July 2012.  Deputy field organizer in Dayton, Ohio on Obama's 2008 campaign, Aug.-Nov. 2008.  J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, 2012; B.A. in political science and history from New York University, 2007.

Jessie Bradley - Daniel Gleick - Julia Nitsche - Anne Rollins

Deputy Voter Protection Coordinator  Tyler Crosby

(Aug. 2012, extern)  J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, 2013 (expected); B.A. in cognitive science from Vassar College, 2007.

...about 40 people total worked on the voter protection effort


Operations Director  Sean Floyd

Project manager at NASWA/ITSC from July 2010; director of information technology at National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) from July 2009.  Political web specialist at the DNC, Jan.-Sept. 2006.  Political science at St. Mary's College of Maryland, 2006.

See also: "President Obama: Investing in Rural Pennsylvania" (June 13, 2012) [PDF]

Deputy Field Director  Chris Kelly
(March 2012)  Senior director at First Focus Campaign for Children, Nov. 2009-mid-2011.  Staff assistant, then legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, 2007-09.  B.A. in philosophy from Boston College, 2005.

independent of the campaign...


• Pennsylvania Democratic Party    +

Chairman  Jim Burn

(elected chair June 19, 2010)  Elected to Allegheny County Council in 2005, and continues to serve representing District 3.  Of counsel at Cohen, Placitella and Roth from 2009 and attorney at Abes Baumann, P.C. since 1993.  Also master instructor at Young Brothers Tae Kwon Do since 1999.  Chaired the Allegheny County Democratic Party, 2006-Jan. 2012.  Mayor of Millvale, 1994-2005.  J.D. from the University of Dayton in 1988.  B.A. from Duquesne University, 1985.

Executive Director  Kevin Washo

(Aug. 2010)  Senior advisor to Sen. Bob Casey through Nov. 2009 after serving as deputy state director from Dec. 2007-July 2008.  Graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he was Student Government Board President, 2002-03.

• America Votes    +
State Director  Mary Shull

Started with America Votes in 2006.  Canvassed in support of John Kerry for MoveOn.org in 2004.  Lives in Pittsburgh's Morningside neighborhood.  Pennsylvania native.