Pro Politics with Zac McCrary

Pro Politics with Zac McCrary

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 politics, or wants to get up close to see how things really work in the world of professional politics.

Episodes

December 6, 2022 47 min

Zee Cohen-Sanchez came to politics from an unconventional background…growing up in Australia as the child of “atheist, socialist American Jews”. Back in the United States she took her passion for social justice to work in the labor movement, for Bernie Sanders in 2016, and AOC’s upset primary win in 2018. In this conversation, Zee talks these early formative experiences and how they led her to start Sole Strategies as a firm that h...

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Marshall Cohen is the Political Director of the Democratic Governors Association. Over 7 years at the DGA, he's been involved in 50+ races - and before that was an accomplished operative who - in 2016 - managed (and won) the most expensive congressional primary in history. In this conversation, Marshall talks his path to working in politics, his best practices for running and winning races and goes deep on this cycle's ...

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Brendan McPhillips was the campaign manager for John Fetterman's general election campaign, helping guide it to a win over Dr. Oz in the cycle's most chaotic and closey watched Senate race. In this conversation, Brendan talks his path to politics that started in a community college in conservative Southern California and includes running Iowa for Buttigieg in the 2020 primaries and working as Biden PA State Director in the ...

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Tim Persico, the Executive Director of the DCCC, provides a post-election debrief with his thoughts on all things 2022 House races. He gets under the hood as to how House Democrats beat the odds to exceed pundit expectations...and weighs in on the winning blend of messaging for candidates, the leadership provided by Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney and Speaker Pelosi, specific seats that helped Democrats buck the midterm trends, the t...

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It's Election Day 2022...so instead of more predictions and punditry, Rebecca Pearcey is back to dive into what political consultants talk about most amongst ourselves...travel tips, hacks, and preferences. In this conversation, Rebecca and I discuss and debate best practices for aiports, flights, hotels, taxis, and all things being a political operative on the road. Hopefully this episode can be an enjoyable 51-minute escape d...

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Maggie Haberman is, of course, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who's covered the political rise of Donald Trump for the New York Times...and her new book, CONFIDENCE MAN: The Making of Donald Trump & The Breaking of America became an immediate best seller. In this conversation, Maggie dives into all things Trump...from his formative influences in the New York City of the 70s and 80s, to his political ascent, time in the...

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Nobody has a political career like JC Watts. Starting quarterback at the University of Oklahoma, NFL draft pick, several years in the Canadian Football League, the first Black statewide elected official in Oklahoma, 8 years in Congress rising to Conference Chair in the GOP leadership, and voluntarily leaving office with even greater political stardom likely in front of him. In this conversation, he talks his one-of-kind-story of a ...

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Wesley Donehue has an unconventional background for a Republican consultant…growing up in public housing with two parents who struggled with drug addiction…but that upbringing fueled his passion to work in politics and his interest in crisis communications. In this conversation, we talk Wesley’s path to politics, his work as a digital consultant for big GOP names like Lindsay Graham, Marco Rubio, Herschel Walker, and many more – an...

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Julie Roginsky has one of the most unique stories in politics…as a 6-year old, she and her family flee their homeland in the Soviet Union to make their way to the Bronx…she’s drawn to campaigns and spends 20+ years in the trenches in New Jersey politics…she enters the world of cable news, working for 10 years as a Democratic voice on Fox News…ultimately leaving Fox after suing the network and chief Roger Ailes for sexual harass...

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Keiran Pedley is a veteran pollster, the Director of Politics for Ipsos/UK, and a regular presence in UK media offering analysis on the latest political data and developments. In this conversation, we set the table as to how the UK system is both similar and different than the US, cover the last few Brexit-fueled chaotic years in British politics, the current state of the Labour opposition, and turn to the rise of new Prime Ministe...

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September 27, 2022 56 min

Lance Tarrance is one of the founding fathers of modern political polling. In this conversation, he talks what drew him into the world of GOP politics, an inflection point working at the US Census Bureau, going to work for Ronald Reagan’s pollster, then opening up his own firm The Tarrance Group. Lance goes deep on several of his interesting races...including beating Bill Clinton in his first gubernatorial re-elect in 1980, the ups...

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Gale Kaufman is a giant of California politics...winning hundreds of races, including some of the most impactful and expensive ballot measures in American history. In this conversation, Gale talks getting her start in DC, her move to California, an early intersection with Harvey Milk, learning from political mastermind Speaker Willie Brown, starting her own firm that was one of the few woman-owned operations at the time, and growin...

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Tim Miller had sterling credentials as a top GOP operative, working for the RNC, John McCain, Jeb Bush, Jon Huntsman and more...until he felt increasingly alienated as Donald Trump took over the party. In this conversation, he talks his path out of Republican politics - chronicled in his bestselling book WHY WE DID IT - and how the past several years of GOP politics led to the wholescale Trump takeover of the party. This is a great...

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Tom Davis served seven terms in the House from Northern Virginia, including 2 cycles as NRCC Chair and as Chair of the House Government Reform Committee. In this conversation, he talks becoming obsessed with politics at an early age, working as a Senate page in the 1960s, playing a small role in the political operation of Richard Nixon, 15 years on the Fairfax County Board, 14 years in Congress, protecting the GOP majority in 2000 ...

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Ann Lewis has had a legendary career as a Democratic strategist...from her time as Communications Director in the Clinton White House...as a Senior Advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate run and both 08 & 16 Presidentials...to her time as a Senate Chief of Staff and working at institutions like Planned Parenthood, the DNC, ADA, & more. In this conversation...Ann talks growing up in New Jersey in the shadow of the Huds...

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Lauren Baer worked at high levels of the American foreign policy establishment...an aide to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and in the Obama State Department as Senior Advisor to Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry...until the 2016 election drove home the importance of political campaigns. She then put her own name on the ballot as the Democratc nominee in a targeted US House race in South Florida. That ...

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August 16, 2022 51 min

Sean McElwee is the Founding Executive Director of Data for Progress, a progressive polling and think tank operation shaking up the way Democrats utilize data to better message and implement their priorities. Sean talks his roots as a military kid in an evangelical household, his circuitous path to working in progressive politics, the origin and evolution of Data for Progress, and how he thinks about some of the big questions facin...

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August 9, 2022 54 min

Charlie Black is a legendary figure in Republican politics, working his first presidential campaign with Ronald Reagan in 1976 and being involved at a high level with both Presidents Bush and names like Kemp, Dole, McCain, Romney, Kasich and more. In this conversation, Charlie talks his roots in the conservative movement of the 1970s, his work as a political consultant in some of the most famous races of the era, and offers stories...

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Katie Moore was recently named Campaign Manager of the Year for her role managing Eric Adams' winning NYC Mayoral Campaign last year. In this conversation, she talks her roots as a "farm kid" in Western Kentucky, how she fell in love both with New York City and political organizing, and a deep dive into NYC politics and the 2021 Adams' victory.

IN THIS EPISODE…

Katie talks her rural roots in Marshall County in Western...

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Jerry Austin is probably best known as the campaign manager for Reverend Jesse Jackson's '88 Presidential Campaign that won 11 contests and led in delegates deep into the calendar...and he also served as manager, media consultant, advisor to names like Paul Wellstone, Carol Moselely Braun, Sherrod Brown, Paul Tsongas and many more. In this conversation, Jerry talks the '88 Jackson race and high points and lessons learne...

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