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Political pollster Zac McCrary interviews interesting people who work in and around the political industry. Guests come from a multitude of backgrounds and specialties within the political industry, and span the partisan spectrum. This is not a podcast for partisan squabbling or punditry about the latest issue in DC - it is hearing directly from successful people in the industry...their stories, experiences, and advice. This is a podcast for anyone who works in politics, hopes to work in pol ...
 
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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has a truly American story: born in Cuba, emigrates to Miami with her family at age 8, works as a teacher before being elected to the Florida legislature - and then makes history as the first Hispanic woman in American history to be elected to Congress. This is a great conversation about her one-of-a-kind life, history-making ca…
 
Ed Peavy founded Democratic direct mail firm Mission Control and is rightfully known as one of the good people in the business. In this conversation, Ed talks why after working a few weeks on the Hill he knew it wasn't right for him, his early campaign days including on the legendary Harris Wofford Senate race in Pennsylvania, and then starting a s…
 
Dr. Michael D. Cohen studied under iconic pollster Bill Hamilton as a student, worked in the trenches in Republican campaigns, spent time at Gallup, apprenticed under iconic GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio (most known recently as Donald Trump's pollster) and worked with famed Dem strategist Mark Penn when Michael was an in-house pollster at Microsoft. A…
 
Mindy Myers has a knack for being where political history happens and, more importantly, has run and won tough Senate races. She managed Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006 over Linc Chafee and ran Elizabeth Warren's first political race in 2012...then was the first ever woman to serve as E.D of the DSCC. Now she's started MZL Media to put into practice wha…
 
Not many people have a story in politics like Raghu Devaguptapu...son of Indian immigrants, making the jump from touring with a band to working in politics, working at the upper echelons of both state and national politics, and then co-founding his own media firm. This is a great conversation talking through Raghu's early life, key moments in his c…
 
Jim Duffy is one of the Godfathers of Democratic media consultants. He joined with Raymond Strother in the mid 80s to form Strother Duffy - one of the elite Dem firms of the era. Jim cut his teeth working in New Orleans politics - for names like Moon Landrieu and Lindy Boggs, before making the move to DC as an ad-maker. As a media consultant, Jim h…
 
Ellen Malcolm helped found EMILY's List in 1985 and then served as EL’s President for 25 years. It’s hard to think of an organization over the last 30+ years that has changed politics more than EMILY's List, dramatically increasing the number of Democratic women in the both the Senate and the House. In this conversation, Ellen talks about how her e…
 
Ben Nelson has lived an iconic political life...two terms as Governor and two terms in the Senate as a Democrat in deep red Nebraska - and the key swing vote on landmark legislation from the Bush tax cuts to judicial votes to Obamacare. In this conversation, he talks his political career - beginning with his first Governor's race (starting at 0% an…
 
Jessica Taylor is the Senate Editor for the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter and recently made history as the first woman to be a Senior Author for the Almanac of American Politics. Jessica talks her small-town Tennessee roots, her path to political journalism, her early thoughts on the 2022 Senate map, and a deep-dive into both the history of…
 
You know Edward-Isaac Dovere from his work at The Atlantic, and Politico before that. His recent book Battle for the Soul chronicles the 2020 presidential campaign, especially the Democratic primaries. In this conversation, we discuss Isaac's path to writing about politics, the genesis of his book, and several of the key moments from the 2020 campa…
 
Chuck Rocha, Democratic operative and founder of Solidarity Strategies, may have the most interesting and unusual story of ascent in politics. From a 19-year old single father working a union job at a rubber plant in East Texas, to the political director of the national Steelworkers' Union, to a senior advisor to both Bernie Sanders' campaigns, and…
 
No operative is more identified with their state's politics than Steve Schale is with Florida. Steve cut his teeth winning tough legislative districts in Florida as the state drifted red, then ran Florida for the winning Obama campaign in 2008 and was deeply involved again in Obama 2012. And beyond Florida, Steve helmed the Draft Biden 2016 effort …
 
Maren Hesla has done virtually everything there is to do in Democratic politics. She’s currently a partner in leading Democratic direct mail firm Mission Control…but before that she managed campaigns, worked for the DNC, DCCC, and EMILYs List, and spent time as a media consultant and pollster. Maren talks her personal journey as a Minnesota transpl…
 
Other than those who've been elected President, I'm not sure anyone in his generation has had a more remarkable political career than Haley Barbour. Running Mississippi for Nixon while he was still in college...ED of the MS GOP at a critical building phase in the 70s...battling a Senate Giant in his unsuccessful first race in '82...running the Reag…
 
From a very early age, Jim Messina knew he wanted to manage a presidential campaign. And he made it happen as the manager for the 2012 Obama re-elect. In between, Jim ran campaigns at all levels across the country, served as Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill, and served as a White House aide helping pass much of the first-term Obama agenda. In this co…
 
Nse Ufot is CEO of The New Georgia Project, an integral part of the infrastructure that contributed to Georgia turning blue for Joe Biden and delivering two US Senate seats as part of a Democratic majority. Under her leadership, NGP has trained local activists, built innovative organizing apps, and helped register over 400,000 voters. In this conve…
 
Journalist and author Sasha Issenberg recently released his new book, The Engagement: America's Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage. Sasha chronicles the path to progress on this issue from the early 90s when even most LGBT advocates didn't see marriage equality as an achievable goal..to the present with marriage equality cemented by th…
 
Miles Coleman is an analyst at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, though he is best known as the unofficial President of "Election Twitter" - a loose affiliation of (mostly) amateur political junkies and pundits who drive much of the political chatter and analysis on social media. Miles also has helped popularize political cartograph…
 
Those in the political world know Jason Stanford as the founder of the opposition research firm Stanford Campaigns - which is still going strong after 20+ years. He's also a prolific writer, with a new book out. Forget the Alamo chronicles the history of the Alamo, starting before the first shot was fired to the present day as the Alamo continues t…
 
James Aldrete comes out of a family political tradition with one foot in the world of radical Tejano politics of the 50s and 60s - and one foot in the Democratic establishment. As a political professional, he's merged those strands to start his own firm (MAP) based in Austin, TX and become a leading voice within the Democratic party on communicatio…
 
Enjoy a short bonus episode with the iconic (and iconoclastic) Kinky Friedman...country music legend, best-selling novelist, and sometimes political candidate. Kinky talks through some of his political heroes, his favorite political stories, his time in the Peace Corps, his friendship with both Bill Clinton and George W Bush.,.& and closes the epis…
 
Becki Donatelli is a legendary GOP strategist and a trailblazing digital consultant. She got her start as a Goldwater Girl, worked for Reagan in '76, knew Jim Baker and Ronald Reagan, and worked with John McCain in 2000 & 2008. As a digital pioneer, Beck was part of the first operation to raise political money on the internet. And her firm, Campaig…
 
Very few people have had more impact on US House races over the past decade than Ali Lapp. After years in campaigns and as a Hill Chief of Staff, she created House Majority PAC from scratch in 2011. With Ali at the helm, HMP has established itself as a vital presence on the political landscape - raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars …
 
Faiz Shakir, manager of the 2020 Bernie Sanders' campaign, has worked from the inside (Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid) and the outside (Bernie, the ACLU) to advance the causes in which he believes. Faiz has one of the most versatile and unique resumes in politics. But beyond his professional experience, he has a uniquely American story as a Muslim-Americ…
 
No journalist defines his or her state's politics like Jon Ralston and Nevada. Jon's been deep in Nevada politics since the early 80s, rising from the the night police beat to his state's foremost voice on politics. In this conversation, Jon talks through his ascent in Nevada politics, some of the most memorable races and personalities he's covered…
 
You won't find a better 59 minutes of political stories and advice than this conversation with longtime GOP media consultant / strategist Mike Murphy. Mike has worked with some of the iconic Republican political names of his generation...McCain, Schwarzenegger, Bush, Romney, Alexander, Engler...and so many more. And there is no better and more enth…
 
Martha McKenna has been at the upper echelons of politics for years...campaign manager, EMILYs List, the DSCC...and now is a decade in to her own media firm, McKenna Media. Through her firm, Martha has developed something of a Midas Touch - working at critical points in their career with Kamala Harris, Deb Haaland, and Pete Buttigieg. Martha is one…
 
Charlie Cook is a political icon of his generation. Charlie broke ground in the early days of the race-rating and political newsletter industry, starting the Cook Political Report from scratch in 1984 – and he and his newsletter are still going strong. Charlie talks through his fascinating career and is generous with insights as to how politics and…
 
They don’t make too many people like Saul Shorr. After hitchhiking across the country, working in sugar refineries, being in and out of college, Saul fell into working on Mo Udall's 1976 presidential campaign. He soon became an expert in big city politics, started his own media firm, and has helped elect Senators and Governors and Presidents. Saul …
 
As a student, Kasim Reed set a goal to be mayor of Atlanta by age 40 - and he made it happen. The Kasim Reed story is truly an original...motivated by a nurturing mother and demanding father, on the Board of Howard University by age 19, the youngest member of the Georgia legislature by 29, managing a successful mayoral race at 32, and winning his o…
 
This week my guest is Rose Kapolczynski, a legend in California politics and beyond. Rose managed all four of Barbara Boxer's successful US Senate races, including the iconic Boxer upset win in the '92 Year of the Woman. Beyond Boxerworld, Rose started her own consulting firm and has been deeply involved in numerous successful campaigns - and she i…
 
I'm very fortunate this week to be joined by my first Republican guest, GOP pollster Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies. Glen cut his teeth in polling in the Reagan / Bush era and helmed the polling operation for House Republicans before co-founding his own firm - a firm that now represents more than 40 members of Congress and 10+ US Senators…
 
A great conversation this week with David Nir, recently celebrating his 10-year anniversary as the Political Director of Daily Kos. David's career charts the rise of the Democratic online grassroots from a ramshackle group of political junkies in the early 00s to now being one of the pillars of the Democratic political universe. Podcast Website Twi…
 
I’m thrilled this week to be joined by the brilliant Rebecca Pearcey! Rebecca has worked in politics for 20+ years – from working in field to managing statewide races to running big independent expenditure programs. In the 2020 cycle, Rebecca was a senior advisor and political director to the Warren for President campaign – while also traveling wit…
 
I’m so fortunate to be joined by Paul Begala as my first guest – we had a great conversation. Paul is a great storyteller, with tremendous insights he’s learned over the years that remain incredibly relevant today. Podcast Website Twitter: @ProPoliticsPod Twitter: @ZacMcCrary Facebook: The Pro Politics Podcast IN THIS EPISODE… Paul breaks out his s…
 
Hello everyone, I’m Zac McCrary. I’m a Democratic pollster, but before I was a political operative, I was a political junkie. That’s why I’m starting the Pro Politics Podcast. I’ll be having conversations with interesting and accomplished people – across the partisan spectrum - who work in the political industry…campaign managers, messaging experts…
 
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