David Cruz Thayne

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David Cruz Thayne

David Cruz Thayne (March 10, 1971) is an American small businessman, former professional tennis player, and Democratic congressional candidate.[1] He formerly served as chief of staff and campaign manager to Utah State Senate Minority Leader Scott Howell, a Democrat, and currently operates his own tennis-oriented small business in Southern California which has also led to the production of two tennis oriented documentaries.[2][3] He was a candidate for California’s 26th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2012.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Born in Manchester, New Hampshire, Thayne quickly relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah with his mother, Gladys Cruz Thayne, a Uruguayan immigrant, and adopted father, David Blaine Thayne, a foreign language and ESL high school teacher.[6] He has eight brothers and sisters: Ana, Silvia, Debbie, Divina, Dave, Trisha, Troy, and Tim. As a result of his family, Thayne continues to be a fluent Spanish speaker.[7] In his youth, Thayne became heavily involved with Utah’s youth soccer team and also qualifying to play for the 6th division of a Uruguayan professional soccer club: Club Nacional de Futbol. His grandfather had played professionally for the same club and two of his uncles had also played professionally for Danubio F.C.. Despite spending most of his youth playing soccer, Thayne abruptly quit at age 13 and began playing tennis for Cottonwood High School (Murray, Utah), eventually becoming Utah’s 4a high school state champion in singles.[8] Partly the result of not reaching his tennis peak until late in high school, David was presented with scholarship opportunities predominantly at local Utah universities and thus opted for a professional tennis career instead; a career that would last eight years.[9] While a junior in high school, Thayne met and began dating a sophomore in his math class named Katie Smith. After dating for several years, Thayne and Smith married in 1993 at ages 22 and 21 respectively; they now have four children.[10]

Political career[edit]

Following his tennis career, Thayne involved himself in Utah politics, becoming campaign manager and later chief of staff for then State Senate Minority Leader Scott Howell. Howell, later the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate against Orrin Hatch in 2000, had won tough election fights in Republicans districts in 1990 and 1992 and was targeted for defeat in 1996, the year Howell appointed Thayne campaign manager.[11][12][13] Despite attacks that Howell was hiding his party and governing philosophy from the voters, Howell won yet again with a 54 to 46 percent margin.[14][15] His win in Utah’s conservative 8th district, as reported by the Deseret News, had many state Republican lawmakers grumbling about the one that got away.[16] After serving as Howell’s Chief of Staff over the next two legislative sessions, Thayne became campaign manager for Steven B. Wall, a Salt Lake Attorney running as a Democrat in Utah’s 9th State Senate District. Ultimately, Wall lost the election against Republican incumbent Steven Poulton, 52% to 47% (11,582 votes to 10,334 votes).[17]

Small businessman[edit]

Following his management of Wall’s campaign, Thayne moved permanently to Southern California in 1998, where he began a tennis instruction business.[18] Over the next decade, Thayne would use that start to develop a comprehensive business network, becoming a dealmaker and consultant while also producing three tennis documentaries: 50,000 Balls, Somay Ku: A Uganda Tennis Story and Behind These Walls.[19][20] Somay Ku: A Uganda Tennis Story won the award for Best Documentary at the 2008 Malibu Film Festival and later debuted on the Tennis Channel.[21][22][23] 50,000 Balls received official selections from the Rome International Film Festival, the Newport International Film Festival, won Best Documentary and Best Feature at the Northern California Film Festival, and debuted on ESPN Classic in June 2009.[24][25][26]

Run for Congress, 2012[edit]

On August 18, 2011, Thayne announced his candidacy for Southern California’s newly drawn 26th congressional district, a district that many political commentators believe will be a race between the Democratic nominee and the 26-year Republican incumbent Elton Gallegly, if he chooses to run.[27][28] Two weeks before officially declaring his candidacy, Thayne added political consultant Garry South, named the “Carville of California” by the New York Times, to his campaign team as chief strategist.[29][30]

In addition, prior to his run for office, he was known primarily just as David Thayne. However, in an attempt to sway the district's Latino demographic, he added the maiden name of his mother, "Cruz," to the name he was running under.


  1. ^ Jill Johnson, "Cottonwood Star Still Climbing the Long Road to Tennis Stardom," Salt Lake Tribune, April 17, 1995, Page C6
  2. ^ "Business Buzz," Malibu Times, February 4, 2009 http://www.malibutimes.com/articles/2009/02/05/news/news7.txt
  3. ^ "Malibu RC, Zaino, Team Up to Give Club 3 Slam Surfaces," Inside Tennis Magazine, February 19th, 2009, http://www.insidetennis.com/2009/02/los-angeles/
  4. ^ Timm Herdt, "Westlake Village Man Announces Plans to Run for New 26th District," http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/aug/17/westlake-village-man-announces-plans-to-run-for/
  5. ^ Brian Dennert, "Prediction: Steve Bennett is Running for Congress," Ventura County Star; Brian Dennert Here, October 12, 2011, http://blogs.venturacountystar.com/dennert/archives/2011/10/prediction-stev.html
  6. ^ "David Cruz Thayne for Congress 2012 California Congressional District 26 | A Biography of David Thayne". Davidcruzthayne2012.com. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  7. ^ "David Cruz Thayne for Congress 2012 California Congressional District 26 | A Biography of David Thayne". Davidcruzthayne2012.com. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  8. ^ Tom Wharton, “Bengal Netters Take State,” Salt Lake Tribune, Sunday, May 14, 1989, 6D.
  9. ^ http://www.maliburacquetclub.com/pros/pros.swf
  10. ^ "A Biography of David Cruz Thayne". dct2012.com. Retrieved 2012-04-24. 
  11. ^ Sprangler, Jerry, "GOP BEARING DOWN ON MODERATE HOWELL,"October 5, 1996, Deseret News
  12. ^ "100 To Watch: Scott N. Howell". DLC. 2000-08-01. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  13. ^ Dillon, Lucinda, "Howell aims to let voters in Utah know of his values," September 13, 2000. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/782437/Howell-aims-to-let-voters-in-Utah-know-of-his-values.html
  14. ^ "INCUMBENT'S `CHANGE' IS NO GOOD," September 27, 1996, Deseret News A21
  15. ^ "State Senate," Deseret News, November 6, 1996. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/522981/STATE-SENATE.html
  16. ^ Rocher, Lisa Riley and Spangler, Jerry, "Republicans Gain a Seat in the State Senate," Deseret News, November 6, 1996. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/522980/REPUBLICANS-GAIN-A-SEAT-IN-THE-STATES-SENATE.html
  17. ^ Eyck, Zack Van and Fidel, Stever, "Democrats, Women Make Strides in the Utah Senate," Deseret News, November 4, 1998. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/661056/Democrats-women-make-strides-in-the-Utah-Senate.html?pg=2
  18. ^ Timm Herdt, "Westlake Village Man Announces Plans to Run for New 26th District," http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/aug/17/westlake-village-man-announces-plans-to-run-for/ ; http://www.davidcruzthayne2012.com/bio.html
  19. ^ Internet Movie database (IMDB), "Somay Ku: A Uganda Tennis Story," http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1045885/
  20. ^ Internet Movie Database (IMDB), "50,000 Balls," http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2047662/
  21. ^ Internet Movie Database (IMDB), "Malibu Film Festival," http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0000417/2008
  22. ^ RealTVFilms, Tube Mogul, Celebrity Video Interviews: Malibu Film Festival, an interview with David Thayne and Rex Miller," http://www.realtvfilms.com/blog/?tag=david-thayne https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeKt0a-WHJM
  23. ^ "Somay Ku: A Uganda Tennis Story: Trailer," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqoZ00R2WDk
  24. ^ "50,000 Balls, Press Release," http://www.50kballs.com/pdf/50KBALLSPRESSRELEASE.pdf
  25. ^ Colette Lewis, 8 May 2008, "A Conversation with Documentary Filmmaker Tom Pura," Tennis Recruiting Network: A Special Feature, http://www.tennisrecruiting.net/article.asp?id=531
  26. ^ "50,000 Balls: Media," http://www.50kballs.com/media/
  27. ^ "david_cruz_thayne_press_release" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  28. ^ Blake, Aaron, "Incumbents Lose, Democrats Win with California Redistricting Proposal," Washington Post, June 10, 2011. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/incumbents-lose-democrats-win-with-california-redistricting-proposal/2011/06/10/AGYXoIPH_blog.html
  29. ^ "David Cruz Thayne for Congress 2012 California Congressional District 26 | Friends of David for Congress". Davidcruzthayne2012.com. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  30. ^ "Bio of Garry South". Garry South Group. Retrieved 2011-10-08.