Alumni in Politics: Election Season 2012

GW alumni have long been making a name in the political world, and this election year is no exception. Read on to find out who’s who in 2012!

Presidential Election & Campaigns

As many in the GW community know firsthand, the university’s location in the nation’s capital is a major draw for students, faculty and friends of GW. Many GW alumni began their careers with internships at the White House or on the Hill, rubbing elbows with some of the country’s most influential leaders. The 2012 presidential election is just one more example of this tradition, showcasing a wide variety of GW alumni and their talents—starting at the very top of the campaign ladder.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney had a DC connection long before his name went on a ballot; both of his parents were GW students. His mother, Lenore Romney, CCAS BA ‘29 graduated with a BA in English; his father, George Romney, who is said to have followed Lenore to DC, took classes at GW Law.  And Janna Ryan, LAW JD ’98, wife of Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, also called GW home during law school.

Mark Kennedy, director of GW’s Graduate School of Political Management, who served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001 to 2007, says the extent of GW’s effect on the election is far-reaching. “GW alumni are well placed on both sides of the political landscape to have a significant impact on the election results this fall, and on the course the nation takes following the election,” he said in an interview with GW Today.

Many alumni are hard at work behind the scenes of both campaigns in a variety of roles, from campaign manager to director of speechwriting. Eric Appleman, CCAS BA ’93, founder of the website Democracy In Action, tracks GW grads who are now key campaign staffers. Appleman, who spoke with GW Magazine, says he began organizing the following list in 2010:

For Democratic Nominee Barack Obama

  • Stephen Krupin, CCAS MA ’98 – Director of Speechwriting
  • Katie Hogan, CCAS BA ’06 – Deputy Press Secretary
  • Joe Rospars, CCAS BA ’03 – Chief Digital Strategist
  • Kip Wainscott, CCAS BA ’04, LAW JD ’08 – Counsel and Ballot Initiative Director
  • Kara Carscaden, GSPM MA ’07 – Deputy Press Secretary
  • Michael Kurtz, CCAS BA ’09 – Deputy Midwest Finance Director
  • Michael Wear, CCAS BA ’11 – Faith Vote Director
  • Toby Fallsgraff, GSPM MA ’06 – Technical Team Member

For Republican Nominee Mitt Romney

  • Matt Rhoades, GSPM MA ‘99  Campaign Manager
  • Kristen Caron, GSPM MPS ‘11  Communications Manager
  • Katie Biber, CCAS BA ‘00  General Counsel
  • Keisha Vaughan, CCAS BA ’07, GSMP MS ’09  Media Affairs Manager

For more information, visit

Congressional & Other Elections

GW grads aren’t only making waves in the presidential election. Alumni across the country are on the ballot for numerous other positions, including:

Eric Cantor, CCAS BA ’85: Republican Congressman representing the 7th district of Virginia and House Majority Leader, running for reelection.

Tammy Duckworth, ESIA MA ’92: Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative from the 8th Congressional District of Illinois.

Chris Edwards, GWSB MPA ’96: Republican candidate seeking election to the U.S. House, representing the 1st Congressional District of Nevada.

Noel Frame, CCAS BA ’03, GSPM ‘04: Democratic candidate for the open 36th District seat in the Washington state house.

Roger Goodman, LAW JD ’86: Democratic member of the Washington House of Representatives, running for reelection, representing District 45a.

Ray Grangoff, GSPM MA ’06: Republican candidate for City Council in Orange County, CA.

Brad Hawkins, GWSB MPA ’01: Republican candidate for District 12b of the Washington House of Representatives.

John “JB” McCuskey, CCAS BA ’04: Republican candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates in the 35th District.

Brad Morris, CCAS BA ’97: Democratic candidate seeking election to the U.S. House, representing the 1st Congressional District of Mississippi.

Colin Van Ostern, ESIA BA ’00: Democratic candidate for the New Hampshire Executive Council.

For the final tally, stay tuned on Election Day!

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