John Weaver (political consultant)

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John Weaver
Born (1959-04-08) April 8, 1959 (age 57)
Kermit, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater Texas A&M University, College
Political party Democratic (Formerly)

John Weaver (8 April 1959) is an American political consultant best known for his work on the John McCain presidential campaigns of 2000 and 2008. In between, he worked for a time for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.[1] He is presently the chief strategist for the presidential campaign of Republican John Kasich.[2][3]

Life and career[edit]

Weaver was born and raised in Kermit, Texas and has one daughter and one son. He was described as one of McCain's "closest advisers" and "an architect of McCain's 'Straight Talk Express,'" and left the McCain campaign in July 2007, along with campaign manager Terry Nelson, political director Rob Jesmer, and deputy campaign manager Reed Galen, following several consecutive months of poor fund-raising.[4]

In 2004, Weaver appeared in the documentary film (based on the 2003 book of the same name) Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, which alleges that Karl Rove, former campaign manager and Deputy White House Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, was behind a South Carolina push poll during the 2000 Republican primary that used racist innuendo to undermine support for McCain by asking voters: "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?"[5] In the film, Weaver assigns blame to Rove, stating "I believe I know where that decision was made; it was at the top of the [Bush] campaign".

In 2008, Weaver made headlines within the Washington beltway during the John McCain lobbyist controversy when some American media personalities speculated about his involvement in an article published by The New York Times that questioned the propriety of McCain's relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. Weaver denied speaking to the paper without the campaign's approval.[6]

Weaver served as the chief strategist for Jon Huntsman's 2012 presidential campaign.[7] After Mitt Romney's defeat in the November 2012 general election, Weaver tweeted, "In our party, intolerance can no longer be tolerated".[8]

On June 9, 2015, Weaver confirmed reports that he had been hired to work on the prospective presidential campaign of Ohio Governor John Kasich.[9] Acting as Kasich's strategist viewing the Feb. 20, 2016 South Carolina primary, Weaver is quoted in The Atlantic as saying, “We want to do well enough to keep Jeb from doing well. If we knock him out of the race, it’s a victory.”[10]

Liberal journalist Alex Pareene at Gawker described Weaver as out of touch with the Republican party mainstream and unable to present his candidates as appealing to Republican voters:

Weaver specializes in taking eminently electable Republicans, and making them completely toxic to voters in their own party...[Kasich] refuses to campaign as a conservative, instead actively insulting the people who will select the Republican nominee. This is the Weaver strategy in action. The only thing worse than an extreme Republican is an “electable” one. It’s not unreasonable to imagine that Kasich, the very popular governor of a swing state, would run a formidable general election campaign. Thanks to the disastrous counsel of John Weaver, we likely won’t ever have to worry about the prospect of President Kasich.[11]


  1. ^ Amy Sullivan (September 2003), "General Election", Washington Monthly 
  2. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt (28 April 2016). "Ted Cruz’s ‘Alliance’ With John Kasich Hits New Low Point". New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  3. ^ Zengerle, Jason. "Winning Isn’t Everything: John Weaver and the business of political seduction". Politico. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Dan Balz and Anne E. Kornblut (11 July 2007). "Top Aides Leave McCain Camp: Senator Retools Campaign Team as Money and Support Fall Off". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  5. ^ Richard H. Davis (2004-03-21). "The Anatomy of a Smear Campaign". The Boston Globe. 
  6. ^ Chris Cillizza (21 February 2008). "John Weaver Speaks". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  7. ^ "Huntsman Stands by His Strategist". The New York Times. August 4, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2012. 
  8. ^ Pitzke, Marc, "The New America Flexes its Muscles", Der Spiegel, 11/08/2012. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  9. ^ Henry J. Gomez, "Republican consultants Fred Davis and John Weaver join John Kasich's presidential campaign-in-waiting" Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Pareene, Alex. "John Weaver, disastrous political strategist". Gawker. Retrieved 2 May 2016.