Jim Messina (political staffer)

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Jim Messina
Jm Messina in May 2009.jpg
Jim Messina in May 2009
White House Deputy Chief of Staff
for Operations
In office
January 20, 2009 – January 26, 2011
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Blake Gottesman
Succeeded by Alyssa Mastromonaco
Personal details
Born 1969 (age 45–46)[1]
Denver, Colorado
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Montana (B.A.)
Occupation Political staffer

Jim Messina (born 1969) is a political adviser who was the White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2011 and served as the campaign manager for Obama's successful 2012 re-election campaign.[2][3][4] He is also a strategic adviser to the UK Conservative Party.[5]

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Messina was born in Denver, Colorado, and raised in Boise, Idaho. He graduated from Boise High School in Boise, Idaho in 1988 and earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Montana in 1993.[6] In 1993, as a college senior, Messina managed Democratic Mayor Dan Kemmis's successful re-election bid for Mayor of Missoula, Montana.[7]

Political career[edit]


In 1995, Messina was hired by Democratic U.S. Senator Max Baucus of Montana. They describe their relationship as father-son-like.[citation needed] In 1999, he became Chief of Staff to Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York.


In 2002, he ran Baucus's 2002 re-election campaign. Messina "refused to let Baucus attend any debate that didn’t include a third-party candidate whose skin had turned blue from drinking an anti-infection solution, a distraction to help take attention away from the credible Republican candidate."[8] Messina was purportedly responsible for creating an infamously homophobic television ad for Baucus.[9]

He then became Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, from 2002 to 2004. In 2004, he made $80,510 and in 2005 made $128,936[10][11]

In 2005, he re-united with Baucus and became his Chief of Staff. Messina was integral in devising the Democratic strategy that prevented the allowance of private accounts within Social Security.[12]

Messina has also been involved with other political campaigns from Alaska to New York, including serving as an advisor to Montana State Senator Jon Tester's successful election in 2006.[12]

Messina became President Obama's White House Deputy Chief of Staff and earned the nickname "the fixer."[13] Dan Pfeiffer calls Messina “the most powerful person in Washington that you haven’t heard of.”[14] He also said that Messina and Rahm Emanuel had a "crazy relationship" and explained that “You’d be in a meeting, and Rahm would bark out that something needed to be done;. Jim would disappear from Rahm’s office, pop through the door a few minutes later and say, ‘Got it!’ or ‘Got him!’”[15]


Messina celebrates Obama's reelection in November 2012.

Messina was Obama's campaign manager during the 2012 Presidential Election. In January 2013, Messina became head of Organizing for Action (OFA), using the Obama For America database and other resources to support President Obama's legislative agenda in his second term. While OFA was formed in 2009 by the President-elect, it was reformed as a political-action non-profit group in January, 2013.

Messina was hired as a campaign strategy adviser to the British Conservative Party in August 2013. Messina will operate from the US during the 2015 general election campaign. In a statement, Messina also added his personal admiration for Prime Minister David Cameron.[16]


  1. ^ "Obama's People". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  2. ^ "Obama makes early appointments". marcambinder.theatlantic.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18. [dead link]
  3. ^ Tapper, Jake (2011-01-27). "Jay Carney Picked as New White House Press Secretary". ABC News. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  4. ^ Zeleny, Jeff (2011-04-02). "An Obama Insider, Running the Race From Afar". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Eilperin, Juliet. "Jim Messina signs on as campaign adviser to Conservatives — in Britain". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  6. ^ "Obama Hires Boise High Graduate as Chief of Staff". New West Boise. Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  7. ^ "How to get an Obama staff job - Andie Coller". Politico.com. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  8. ^ Thrush, Glenn. "Can Jim Messina get it done for President Obama? - Page 3". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  9. ^ Hastings, Michael. "Obama Campaign Manager Behind Anti-Gay Ad". BuzzFeed.com. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  10. ^ "James A. Messina relationship map". Muckety. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  11. ^ — President Truman. "James A. Messina (Jim) - Congressional Staffer Salary Data". Legistorm.com. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  12. ^ a b Kornblut, Anne E. (2009-02-21). "Low-Profile Aide Messina Tackles Obama's Tough Political Problems". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  13. ^ Huey, Caitlin (2011-04-11). "10 Things You Didn't Know About Jim Messina - US News and World Report". Usnews.com. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  14. ^ "Jim Messina, Obama's Enforcer". The Nation. 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  15. ^ "Can Jim Messina get it done for President Obama? - Glenn Thrush". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  16. ^ Stratton, Allegra (2013-08-02). "Tories hire Obama campaign chief Jim Messina". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 

External links[edit]