Jason Miller (communications strategist)
|Born||1974/1975 (age 42–43)|
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Education||George Washington University (BA)|
Jason Miller (born c. 1974) is an communications strategist and political manager, best known as the chief spokesman for the fall 2016 campaign and presidential transition of Donald Trump. Miller is currently employed at Teneo Strategy, and was formerly a partner and executive vice-president at Jamestown Associates. He was initially announced as the incoming White House Communications Director during the transition but withdrew days later. In 2017, he became a CNN political contributor.
Family, early life, and education
Miller was born and raised in Seattle. His first job in politics, from 1994 through 1997, was as a staff assistant to U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington. After earning his B.A. in Political Science from the George Washington University, Miller moved to California, where he spent most of the next year as Coalitions Director for businessman Darrell Issa who unsuccessfully sought the U.S. Senate nomination from California in the 1998 GOP primary. Miller returned to the state in late 1999 to serve as Issa's political director, in his successful 2000 campaign for nomination to Congress from North San Diego County.
Career through 2009
In late 2000, Miller became campaign manager for Ric Keller, who won an open seat in the House of Representatives representing Florida with 50.8% of the vote. Miller went on to serve as Keller's chief of staff lead his successful re-election effort in 2002. Keller won with 65% of the vote.
From July 2003 to July 2004, Miller managed Jack Ryan's campaign for U.S. Senate in Illinois. Under Miller's leadership, Ryan's campaign succeeded in winning a sharply contested race for the GOP nomination. Ryan's Democratic opponent was Barack Obama, then a state senator. However, Ryan chose to end his candidacy abruptly after a Democratic judge in California ordered the unsealing of the Republican candidate's custody file, over the objections of both parents, creating a public furor. (Ryan was replaced as nominee by Maryland resident Alan Keyes, and Obama coasted to an easy election that November.)
Miller then moved to Florida, where he served as political and communications consultant for the successful primary campaign of Mel Martinez for U.S. Senate, against several well-known contenders. He closed out 2004 doing press and voter-contact consulting in Tom Coburn's winning effort for the Senate from Oklahoma.
In January 2005, Miller was hired to manage the re-election campaign of Virginia Sen. George F. Allen, widely tapped as a leading contender for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. In an amicable parting designed to help Allen's long-term national ambitions, Miller left Allen's re-election in November 2005 to helm the re-election effort of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Allen's presidential hopes were dashed afterwards, losing a close contest after several major gaffes (including the infamous "macaca" incident), while Sanford cruised to a 55% re-election. After the campaign, Miller took a job with the State of South Carolina, doing strategic planning for the governor, also serving as Deputy Chief of Staff.
National politics beckoned in April 2007, when Miller moved to New York and joined the high-profile campaign of former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for president. Miller's title was Deputy Communications Director. According to a press release, Miller's job was to "oversee the Committee's national rapid response and surrogate speaker efforts from the headquarters in New York City, while also contributing to the Committee's organization-building efforts in South Carolina and several other early-primary states." Giuliani ended his campaign after a loss to eventual nominee John McCain in the Florida primary.
In 2008, Miller joined Denzenhall Associates, a D.C.-based public-relations firm specializing in crisis communications, advising major corporations, trade associations, and prominent individuals.
Partner at Jamestown Associates, 2010-16
Miller joined the New Jersey-based Jamestown Associates consulting firm in January 2010 as Partner and Executive Vice President, working closely on campaigns with Jamestown CEO Larry Weitzner. Their 2012 clients included St. Sen. Joe Kyrillos, who lost his bid for U.S. Senate from New Jersey, and Richard Mourdock in Indiana, who won his primary but lost the general election.
Beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2016, Miller and Jamestown took on several insurgent candidates challenging Republican incumbents. These included Mourdock, in Indiana (who defeated longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in the 2012 primary, losing to Democrat Joe Donnelly in the fall;) and radiologist Milton R. Wolf, who nearly upset Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts in the August 2014 primary. They did work for the Club for Growth PAC, which used Jamestown to help challenge a GOP incumbent in Mississippi and nominate a Tea Party conservative in Nebraska. And in early 2015, they also worked on Ted Cruz's presidential campaign.
in 2013, Miller returned to South Carolina as ad producer and strategist for Mark Sanford's comeback campaign for U.S. House, following the former Governor's scandalous affair with an Argentinian journalist and subsequent divorce. Despite being actively shunned by national party committees and major donors, Sanford won the GOP nomination with 56.5%, and then captured the coastal 1st District seat with 54% in the May special election. Of Miller, Sanford chief of staff Scott English said, "He's disciplined in the middle of a firefight. He's good at thinking about, 'What are we talking about? What are we trying to accomplish?' and then going back on message again... A lot of people come into a safe environment, where they already know the outcome. He takes on challenges."
In 2015, Miller and Jamestown Associates were the principal consultants for media and communications for Matt Bevin in Kentucky. Bevin, who had lost his challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a year earlier, was the surprise winner of a three-way race for the gubernatorial nomination in May—a victory attributed in part to a closing ad by Miller and Jamestown, "Food Fight." After a difficult campaign he was behind in most polls; Bevin then won a 53% to 44% victory against attorney general Jack Conway that November.
2016 presidential campaign and transition
During the Bevin campaign and thereafter into early 2016, Miller was Texas Senator Ted Cruz's "digital and communications adviser" in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. The Washington Post's Katie Zezima wrote that Miller's challenge was "crafting Cruz's message of unyielding conservatism and spreading it among grassroots groups, where the senator hopes to gain the most support. Cruz suspended his campaign on May 5, following his defeat in the Indiana primary.
The following month, on June 29, the Trump campaign announced hiring Miller as senior communications adviser. BloombergPolitics described it as an attempt to "professionalize" the Trump communications operation. After the announcement, some reporters noted the many anti-Trump Tweets Miller had sent prior to the end of Cruz's campaign.
After the election, Miller was part of the Trump transition team, serving as its chief spokesman from November 2016 to January 2017. On December 22, he was announced as the President's choice for White House Communications Director. However, two days later, Miller declined the offer, stating: "After spending this past week with my family, the most amount of time I have been able to spend with them since March 2015, it is clear they need to be my top priority right now and this is not the right time to start a new job as demanding as White House communications director. My wife and I are also excited about the arrival of our second daughter in January, and I need to put them in front of my career... I look forward to continuing to support the President-elect from the outside after my work on the transition concludes." His decision came after allegations of personal involvement with Trump campaign staffer A. J. Delgado, and an earlier report of his visiting a strip club with other staffers and several members of the press before a presidential debate. As a result of the personal relationship with Delgado, Miller became the father to a baby boy in July 2017.
In January 2017, Miller sold his interest in Jamestown Associates, and joined Teneo Strategy. Teneo advises "Fortune 500 CEOs on crisis communications, corporate communications and media relations," according to the Axios blog. Axios further noted, "Teneo, which made its name thanks to its close relationship to Bill Clinton, is clearly adapting for a Trump-run world."
On September 14, 2018 A.J. Delgado, the mother of Miller's son, filed a suit in a Miami-Dade Circuit Court. In the suit, Delgado requests that Miller undergo a psychological evaluation because she alleges that Miller impregnated a woman he met in an Orlando strip club and subsequently secretly administered an "abortion pill" to the unnamed woman, causing the abortion of the fetus and life-threatening bleeding of the unnamed woman.
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