David Oks

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David Oks
Personal details
Born2001 (age 18–19)
EducationThe Masters School
Pembroke College, Oxford

David E. Oks (/ɒks/) is an American political activist, best known for organizing and managing the Mike Gravel 2020 presidential campaign as a high school senior.[1][2][3][4]

Oks enrolled in Pembroke College at the University of Oxford in the fall of 2019.[5][6]


Oks was born to a Jewish family of Argentinian immigrants, who have been described as "socialist" in their views.[7]

Oks attended The Masters School, where he was a student when he convinced former Senator Mike Gravel to enter the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. He is an alumnus of The Bronfman Fellowship, an educational program for Jewish teenagers with many notable alumni.[7]

Oks previously ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign for mayor of Ardsley, New York in 2017. His campaign for mayor was also notable for his young age, which received attention in The New York Times and on NPR member station WNYC.[8][9]

Mike Gravel 2020 presidential campaign[edit]

Oks contacted Gravel on March 14, 2019 to propose a primary run.[3] The stated goal was not to win the primaries but to reach the Democratic debate stage.[10] Gravel was hesitant at first, but Oks and school friend Henry Williams convinced Gravel to launch a campaign in order to promote their left-wing political views.[3]

According to Oks, he first learned about Gravel from Nixonland by Rick Perlstein but was also encouraged by Felix Biederman's praise of Gravel on Chapo Trap House.[11]

Shortly after the campaign unofficially launched on March 20, 2019, Oks claimed authorship of posts that attracted much attention on Twitter.[2][10]

Along with Williams, Oks was the subject of a June 9, 2019 profile in The New York Times Magazine.[1]

After Gravel's campaign ended on August 6, 2019, Oks appeared on CBS News to discuss his tenure as manager. He said that his goal with the campaign was "to push for a new sort of politics" and "to talk about issues we thought no other candidate was talking about."[5]


  1. ^ a b Keiles, Jamie Lauren (June 6, 2019). "Are These Teenagers Really Running a Presidential Campaign? Yes. (Maybe.)". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Crosbie, Jack. "Mike Gravel's Viral 2020 Campaign Is the Brainchild of a New York Teen". Splinter. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Graham, David A. (April 10, 2019). "Mike Gravel's Plan to Rock the Democratic Primary". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Farzan, Anita Noori (March 21, 2019). "An 88-year-old ex-senator is the newest Democratic dark horse". Press Herald. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Mike Gravel's former campaign manager reflects on end of run". CBS News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  6. ^ Bring, Daniel M. (August 28, 2019). "David Oks's day off". Spectator USA. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Pink, Aiden. "An Orthodox Teenager Is Running The Most Unorthodox Presidential Campaign". The Forward. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  8. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (September 28, 2017). "Too Young to Vote, but Asking for Yours". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  9. ^ "Teen Betting on Write-In Campaign for Ardsley Mayor | WNYC | New York Public Radio, Podcasts, Live Streaming Radio, News". WNYC. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "An 88-year-old ex-senator is the newest Democratic dark horse thanks to the 'acerbic' teens running his Twitter". www.msn.com. Archived from the original on May 28, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  11. ^ Adjei-Kontoh, Hubert (April 20, 2019). "Meet the 88-year-old powering his insurgent 2020 bid with teens". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved May 28, 2019.