The Badger-Obama connection | WisCommunity

The Badger-Obama connection

Using up some nervous energy while waiting to go work at the polls (I&;ve gotten wimpier in my old age and don&;t work the whole 15-hour shift any more), I got thinking, for some unknown reason, about the people with Wisconsin connections working for Barack Obama&;s campaign.

Herewith, a quick rundown:

Let&;s start with Chuck Pruitt of AB Data, who&;s quietly headed Obama&;s direct mail fundaising effort. We&;ve all read about the huge amounts of money Obama&;s raised, especially on the Internet.

But it&;s gone almost without mention that the direct mail campaign has raised something in the neighborhood of $100-million. That&;s unprecedented, and that money comes in very small checks. Pruitt, a longtime Democratic player, is just fine with the lack of attention. In fact, after outing him here I may have to pick up the lunch tab next time.

He&;s self-effacing and makes it sound like all you need to do to raise money for Obama is send people an envelope, and they put a check inside and send it back. It is not that simple, and the mail campaign, like the Obama campaign overall, has been brilliantly conceived and executed. (Maybe Chuck will buy lunch, after that).

Pruitt is a partner in a Fox Point firm that raises money primarily for non-profits but has also had a number of political clients most election cycles.


Jon Carson , Obama&;s national field director, is a LaCrosse native, UW-Platteville grad, worked on Russ Feingold&;s 1998 U.S. Senate campaign, and was the director of the State Senate Democratic Caucus for a time in 2001.

Paul Tewes, now Obama&;s man at the Democratic National Committee after working in Iowa and Ohio in the caucus/primary days, was executive director of the Wisconsin Democratic Party in 1998.

Dan Leistikow, former communications director for Gov. Jim Doyle, worked first for John Edwards, then joined the Obama communications team and is now overseeing communications in several key states.

Jim Margolis of GMMB, Obama&;s top media consultant, did the television for Gov. Jim Doyle in 2002 and 2006.

David Axelrod, Obama&;s main man, who&;s assembled the people and managed the strategy for a brilliant, almost flawless campaign, can be seen now and then at Milwaukee Bucks games. He did the television for Sen. Herb Kohl&;s 2006 re-election campaign, and in 1999 did the TV for Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson&;s reelection campign to the State Supreme Court.

There are probably other ex-Badgers in key roles. Feel free to add them in the comments.


November 4, 2008 - 12:33pm