The Influencers 50: Communicators

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On the air, online and in the strategy room, these messengers will be out front for their parties in 2014. 


Campaigns & Elections has selected 10 individuals in five categories for what we're calling The Influencers 50: Communicators, Disruptors, Campaigners, Enforcers and Activists.

The stage is still being set for the final midterm election of the Obama administration and while it's not easy to predict what will move D.C. several months from now, these leaders are sure to be in the mix. See the complete list of Influencers.

Stephanie Cutter
Partner, Precision Strategies
Cutter was a top White House staffer who became one of the faces of President Obama’s reelection effort. She then proved her organizational mettle by leading the inaugural committee. Now, in addition to her role on CNN’s crossfire, the Massachusetts-native remains an active consultant, helping grow the firm she founded with fellow Obama camp vets Teddy Goff and Jen O'Malley Dillon.

Matt Gagnon
Director of Digital Strategy, Republican Governors Association
The party committees aren’t exactly known as hotbeds of digital innovation, but Gagnon is getting recognition for his often-humorous, and always attention-grabbing, online messaging strategy. In 2014, the RGA expects to play in 36 gubernatorial contests and fight to protect 20 incumbent Republican governors. Gagnon will be running the RGA’s digital efforts in all of those contested races with a focus on analytics and sophisticated targeting to model voters and reach off-the-grid targets.

Larry Grisolano
Founder, Analytics Media Group
Grisolano directed the Obama reelection effort’s paid media campaign using innovative message testing and a focus on increasing the efficiency of the campaign’s TV buys. Now, the former mail consultant has launched Analytics Media Group, along with several partners from Obama’s reelection effort, to help candidates optimize how they buy airtime. Along with heading up AMG, Grisolano is maintaining his role at AKPD Message and Media—the media firm that drove both of Obama’s presidential campaigns. For Democratic campaigns looking to make the most of their media dollar in 2014, Grisolano’s firm will be a go-to.     

Kevin Madden
Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, JDA Frontline
After beginning his career in Yonkers, Madden soon established himself as one of the GOP’s top spokesmen. He was the friendly face of both of Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns before going on to senior positions in the consulting and cable news worlds. Through his ties to House Speaker John Boehner, Madden can help the GOP craft a messaging strategy to retain the House, and expect him to be out front delivering it.  

Liz Mair
Republican Digital Strategist          
With a no-nonsense Twitter presence and a knack for savvy online messaging, the former Republican National Committee staffer has carved out a reputation as one of the right’s paragons of digital communications. Mair is among the core of Republican operatives pushing the party into the digital age, and she’s not afraid to use her social media megaphone to tell the party when she thinks it’s going in the wrong direction.         

Tim Miller
Partner, America Rising
Miller’s resume includes stints at Glover Park Group and the Republican National Committee, but it was on Jon Huntsman’s 2012 presidential campaign that he established his credentials as one of the party’s top spokesmen. At America Rising, he’s helping candidates marry opposition research with campaign messaging.

Rodell Mollineau
President, American Bridge
A veteran of Sen. Harry Reid’s office, Mollineau has spent years coordinating messaging strategy for Senate Democrats. Now, he leads the Democratic Super PAC that’s tasked with helping his party retain control of the chamber. American Bridge proved its worth in 2012, playing a key role in a handful of contested Senate races, including the Claire McCaskill-Todd Akin match-up in Missouri.   

Tracy Sefl
Democratic Communications Consultant
A member of Hillary Clinton’s inner circle, Sefl has a reputation for helping mitigate damaging stories, in part, through her connections with the Drudge Report. With Clinton edging toward a second run, Sefl’s influence is likely to grow. A Clinton adviser during her 2008 run for president, Sefl is now an adviser to the Ready for Hillary Super PAC, and she’s a frequent face on TV news talking up the former secretary of state’s 2016 chances.

Tommy Vietor
Co-Founder, Fenway Strategies
Vietor was there at the beginning, joining Barack Obama on the campaign trail in 2004 and then becoming his Senate office spokesman. In the White House, he was a top foreign policy communicator, serving as spokesman for the National Security Council, and his expertise can help Democrats make the case on national security issues. The 2014 cycle will be the first full one for Fenway Strategies, the new communications firm Vietor founded with former White House speechwriter Jon Favreau.  

Brian Walsh
Partner, Singer Bonjean Strategies
A successful term as the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s top flack cemented Walsh’s status as a veteran crisis manager. Now an outside adviser to the NRSC—and occasional columnist for U.S. News & World Report—he has the experience necessary to help the GOP reclaim the upper chamber. Walsh’s institutional knowledge of the Senate committee allows him to help establishment picks maneuver through a difficult primary season.


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