John Brabender

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John Brabender
Born Erie, Pennsylvania
Residence Leesburg, Virginia[1]
Education Cathedral Preparatory School, Gannon University
Cleveland State University
Occupation political consultant, professor,
Home town Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

John Brabender is a prominent Republican political consultant. He earned a degree in from Gannon University and an MBA from Cleveland State University.[2]

Brabender has been dubbed 'political guru'[3] to Rick Santorum's political career. Bradender worked five of Santorum's Pennsylvania Congressional races, starting with his first House bid in 1990 and ending with his failed Senate re-election campaign in 2006.[3]

Bradbender acted as Rick Santorum's senior strategist for his failed 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination bid.[3] He is godfather to one of Santorum's seven children.[3]

Brabender is the managing partner and Chief Creative Officer of BrabenderCox, a national political consulting and advertising firm.[2] He has served as a campaign and advertising consultant for campaigns in nearly every state, including Tom Coburn, David Vitter, Rick Santorum, Linda Lingle, Tom Corbett, and for the 2008 Giuliani presidential campaign.[1] He has also worked for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their attempt to gain public funding for Heinz Field in the mid-1990s and for the Pittsburgh Penguins.[4]

He has appeared as a guest on The Today Show, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN's Inside Politics, Politically Incorrect, Talk of the Nation, and CNN.[2]

He was an adjunct professor at the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University, teaching courses on advertising and the media.[2]

He was named one of the "Rising Stars of 1996" by Campaigns & Elections, after winning 18 of 21 races in the 1994 election cycle, including the 1994 U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania where Rick Santorum upset Harris Wofford.[5] He helped "mastermind" Tom Ridge's gubernatorial victories in 1994 and 1998.[6]

He was named to the 2002 and 2003 PoliticsPA "Sy Snyder's Power 50" of influential people in Pennsylvania politics.[7][8] He was named to the PoliticsPA list of "Republican Dream Team" political consultants.[9] In 2010, he was named one of the "Top 10 Republicans" in Pennsylvania by Politics Magazine, where he was called "the go-to consultant for many [Pennsylvania] statewide candidates."[6]

In 2009, he launched Zolitics, a "political entertainment network" with other political consultants, including Leslie Gromis-Baker.[10]

During the 2016 presidential election, in response to an onslaught of celebrity PSAs favoring the Democratic Party's candidate, the most blatant of which was titled "Save the Day", he produced a "Save the Day Response" video mocking the perceived self-importance of celebrities making political statements.


  1. ^ a b "John Brabender". Board of Directors. American Association of Political Consultants. 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-01-04. 
  2. ^ a b c d "2009 Regional Conference Speakers". American Association of Political Consultants. 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Santorum Sticks With Trusted Strategist". Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Off-Season Adventures;What Political Consultants Do When the Election Season Ends". Campaigns & Elections. February 2005. 
  5. ^ "Introducing the Rising Stars of 1996 . . .". Campaigns & Elections. April 1996. 
  6. ^ a b Roarty, Alex; Sean Coit (January 2010). "Pennsylvania Influencers" (PDF). Politics Magazine. pp. 44–49. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-08. 
  7. ^ "Sy Snyder's Power 50". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002. Archived from the original on 2002-04-21. 
  8. ^ "Power 50". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2003. Archived from the original on 2004-04-17. 
  9. ^ "Republican Dream Team". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2001. Archived from the original on 2002-06-07. 
  10. ^ Harris, Amy Julia (August 2009). "Make 'Em Laugh; Consultants Hunt for Humor in Politics Campaigns & Elections". Campaigns & Elections.