Campaign season is in full swing with just ten weeks to go until the gubernatorial election. Gov. Pat McCrory and his challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper are campaigning hard, meeting with students and business leaders to present their plans for the next four years. The gloves come off in a barrage of day-to-day jabs on policy, personal agendas and big money, but behind the scenes is an army of fundraisers, media experts and logistics coordinators to get their candidate to the right place on time and help them put their vision, accomplishments and criticisms into finely tuned messages. The high-profile political operatives behind the campaigns show that North Carolina’s red or blue status is being taken seriously. As TV ads run, flyers show up in the mail or online, here are a few of the names you need to know:PAT MCCRORYChief Strategist, Chris LaCivitaLaCivita has served on and off for a decade as the political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He led a resurgent campaign for Senator Pat Roberts in Kansas in 2014 before joining Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s primary bid for President.Campaign Manager, Russell PeckPeck served as McCrory’s campaign manager in 2012 and worked on 2010 Republican General Assembly campaigns. Previously, he worked on presidential campaigns for Bush ’41 and Bush ’43.Director of the Pat McCrory Committee, Billy ConstangyConstangy served on the committee since 2012 and previously served as campaign manager for Sue Myrick for CongressCommunications Director, Ricky DiazDiaz also served as communications director for McCrory’s 2012 campaign and worked on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s first presidential campaign. He served as communications director for the N.C. Republican Party before rejoining the governor’s committee for 2016.Television Ad Strategist, Fred DavisDavis also led media strategy for McCrory in 2012, served as Creative director for the RNC in 2008, and created ads for political campaigns including George W. Bush, John McCain and Elizabeth Dole.ROY COOPERCampaign Manager, Trey NixNix ran Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) successful re-election campaign in 2014. Prior to that race, he ran several other Virginia campaigns for state senate and lieutenant governor. He was also an Obama for America field organizer.Communications Director, Ford PorterPorter formerly served as NC Democratic Party communication director, N.C. Senate Democratic Caucus director and the former press secretary for Walter Dalton.Press Secretary, Jamal LittleLittle was formerly the press associate for Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.Finance Director, Kate ConnellyConnelly served as the North Carolina deputy finance directory for Kay Hagan and as a researcher for various campaigns.Television Ad Producer, Mark PutnamFounder of Putnam Partners, Putnam created television ads for the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012 as well as wrote and produced the biographical films on Michelle Obama “South Side Girl” and “Michelle” for the Democratic conventions.
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