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Mike Long – This long serving Staff Administrator to Senator Bob Jubelirer is the brains (and heart) behind the Senate Republican Campaign Committee. He has guided the GOP Senate majority for two decades and took it to its largest lead of 30 to 20. His masterminding of the Independent Scarnati campaign for state senate was one for the books. Great political instincts, smart, and tough as nails when it comes down to brass tactics but his greatest attribute is the guy just wins. For that reason, he’s our TOP political operative in Pennsylvania.
Kent Gates – The wonder boy of GOP politics heading up the Mike Fisher for Governor Campaign. In addition to serving as Executive Director of the Republican State Committee, Gates also managed Arlen Specter’s 1998 U.S. Senate reelection campaign and Fisher’s 2000 Attorney General reelection race. But his name really appeared on the political radar screen after Jim Roddey’s upset victory as Allegheny County Executive. He has the tough task of trying to elect another Republican governor.
Keith Naughton – His recent surprise success with the Eakin for Supreme Court campaign propelled this well-dressed suit/tie/sneakers gentleman into our top five. Despite the low turnout in the two major cities that hurt Democrats, Eakin cut into Ford’s numbers even without the help of outside groups (a strategy that Naughton was clearly manipulating). Naughton has labored behind the political scenes for many years. He has excellent political instincts. The Hafer for Governor campaign should be calling this free agent to direct her efforts.
Ken Smukler – This veteran Democratic strategist has been involved in numerous high profile campaigns including former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky. He’s a fixture in Southeast Democratic politics with an excellent grasp of what it takes to get someone elected. He brings all the ingredients of a top political consultant into his races.
Ken Snyder – One of the best political press secretaries in the state. Snyder caught the attention of Senator Vince Fumo when he was helping to pilot John Street’s election as Philly mayor. Fumo would later hire Snyder to help the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. It’s all about message and Snyder is one of the best at spin. But he also has good political instincts and understands the numbers crunching that comes with managing races.
Dave Sanko – Senior Advisor to Governor Schweiker, Sanko has been regarded as one of the top political operatives in the state for the past twenty years. While most of his political work is now done on the inside, Sanko’s campaign advice is much sought after by GOP leaders. He guided an unknown county commissioner to the Lt. Governor’s office and most recently helped the Bucks County GOP win a hard fought District Attorney’s race.
Ed Mitchell – This former press secretary to Governor Milton Shapp still serves as a valued advisor to state House and Senate Campaign Committee’s, as well as Congressmen Paul Kanjorski and John Murtha. The Wilkes-Barre based public relations whiz has worked on numerous local races in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and most recently on Northampton County Executive Glenn Reibman’s successful reelection campaign
Tony May – This former press secretary to Governor Casey and former Democratic state party executive director is arguably one of the best grassroots organizers and campaigner in the state. May now heads up the Neiman-May communications firm in Harrisburg but Democratic leaders, particularly in the House, continue to turn to him for campaign advice.
Mike O’Connell – This Western Pennsylvania GOP operative is the chief political strategist to Congresswoman Melissa Hart but he has been involved in numerous campaigns throughout the state over the past twenty years. He served as Allegheny County GOP Executive Director, and has managed a host of successful state House and Senate elections. O’Connell has excellent political instincts and comes without the ego of most top operatives.
Becky Corman – Considered the best GOP grassroots campaign organizers, statewide Republican candidates have all turned to Corman to deliver the Central Pennsylvania ‘T’. She has been involved with just about every successful statewide GOP effort including U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.