Krystal Ball

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Krystal Ball
Krystal Ball (D), candidate for US House in VA-01.jpg
Ball in 2009
Personal details
Krystal Marie Ball

(1981-11-24) November 24, 1981 (age 38)
King George County, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jonathan Dariyanani
ResidenceLouisville, Kentucky[1]
Alma materUniversity of Virginia
OccupationSmall business owner, accountant, political commentator

Krystal Marie Ball (born November 24, 1981) is an American political pundit and journalist who hosts Rising with the Hill's Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti,[2] hosted by The Hill. She has appeared on shows on Fox News, CNN, and CNBC. She was previously a contributor under contract for MSNBC and a regular contributor to the HuffPost.

Ball was the Democratic Party nominee for Congress in Virginia's 1st congressional district in the 2010 election, losing to Republican incumbent Rob Wittman. She co-hosted the MSNBC show The Cycle from June 2012 to July 2015. In May 2017, she created the People's House Project, a political action committee working on behalf of Democratic causes, which was embroiled in a controversy over her salary payments.

Early life and education[edit]

Ball was born on November 24, 1981.[3] Her parents, Edward and Rose Marie Ball, were a physicist and a teacher, respectively. The name Krystal came from her father, a physicist who did his dissertation on crystals.[4] She has two older sisters, Holly and Heidi.[5]

Ball graduated from King George High School in King George, Virginia and then attended Clemson University for a year before transferring to the University of Virginia, where she received a bachelor's degree in economics.[6]


She is a business owner and a certified public accountant.[7] Ball previously worked for the federal contractor CGI Group[8] and traveled to Louisiana to assist in the courts' efforts to recover after Hurricane Katrina.

In 2012, Ball launched a website calling for a boycott of advertisers on The Rush Limbaugh Show after Limbaugh's comments about Sandra Fluke.[9][10] Thinkprogress reported in on Mar 2, 2012 that over 50 advertisers were confirmed to have dropped the show.[11][12]

2010 U.S. House campaign[edit]

In 2010 Ball ran to represent Virginia's 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives and was defeated by Republican incumbent Rob Wittman. She was defeated by a margin of 63.90% to 34.76%.[13] Despite her loss, she was listed by Forbes as number 21 on the magazine's "The Top 25 Most Powerful Women Of The Midterm Elections".[14]

During the campaign, Ball supported education reform, including charter schools, using technology, alternative certification of teachers, and paying teachers six figure salaries.[15] She also called for a lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress, banning lobbyist gifts, increasing disclosure, and establishing a new Independent Ethics Commission to investigate and audit influence by special interests.[16] Of Ball's fundraising, 72 percent was from out-of-state donors, and 28 percent in-state.[17] In total, she raised $1.06 million which was 20% less than her opponent.[18]

Political action committee[edit]

In May 2017, Ball created the People's House Project, a political action committee (PAC) working on behalf of Democratic causes.[19] It was among the largest contributors to presidential candidate Richard Ojeda's campaign for the West Virginia Senate.[20]

In May 2018, McClatchy wrote this of her PAC:[19]

But thus far, nobody has benefited more financially from the group than Ball herself. Of the $445,000 Ball raised for the group, she paid herself more than a third of that—$174,000—in salary, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. The majority of her salary—$104,000—came in the first three months of this year alone. That's nearly eight times more than the nearly $22,000 the PHP has used to support its dozen endorsed candidates, some of whom have received just a single $1,000 contribution. Political groups with a glaring discrepancy between personal salaries and candidate contributions are often deemed so-called “Scam PACs,” a type of organization that enriches its founders while doing little to assist the cause or candidate they purportedly support.[19]

Ball responded to McClatchy's claims, stating because the PAC receives money in fits and starts, she paid herself a lump sum in the first months of 2018 as backpay for what she should have earned in 2017, and that her pay "was comparable to what other Pac directors typically make".[19] She also stated that her PAC does not operate in the same way as a typical PAC in that it is not a "direct conduit" of funds, and that she herself is effectively a manager for each of the candidates she works with:

“These folks have everything going for them in terms of ability to message, ties into the community, and the power and authenticity of who they are as individuals,” Ball said. “But they don’t have connections into those networks of power. We tried to help on that front.”[21]

McClatchy also praised her PAC's effectiveness:

Candidates and campaign officials say Ball — herself a former congressional candidate in 2010 — was a go-to adviser for all manner of problems and questions. Her help was especially valuable, they added, because most of them couldn’t afford the kind of high-priced consultants who usually guide campaigns, especially for first-time candidates...There’s no doubt that Ball and Moffett, the group’s executive director, actually help the candidates they endorse. They’ve just backed a very different kind of candidates, and unlike most groups, they’ve prioritized political advice over direct financial assistance.[21]


Hosts of The Cycle in 2013: Ari Melber, Krystal Ball, Touré and Abby Huntsman

Ball has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and CNBC, and was a contributor under contract for MSNBC.[22][23][24] She was a regular contributor to the HuffPost.[25] From June 25, 2012 to July 31, 2015, Ball co-hosted the MSNBC show, The Cycle, with Touré, Steve Kornacki, and S. E. Cupp.[26]

Ball's first book Reversing the Apocalypse: Hijacking the Democratic Party to Save the World was published in 2017, in which she argued that the Democratic Party needed to return to its New Deal roots by emulating Franklin D. Roosevelt and advocating a more economically interventionist agenda than it has done in recent decades.[1]

In 2018, Ball started hosting a webcast called Rising on The Hill. She originally co-hosted the webcast with Buck Sexton, but Sexton was later replaced by Saagar Enjeti.[27][28] Ball's second book, co-authored with Enjeti, is The Populist's Guide to 2020, set to be released on February 8.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Ball is married to Jonathan Dariyanani, and they have three children.[8][30] She was a Senior Fellow of the New Leaders Council.[31] Interviewing Jamie Kilstein about masculinity in crisis she described herself as a feminist.[32]


  1. ^ a b Craig, Berry (April 6, 2017). "Krystal Ball book: Dems must rekindle the spirit of FDR to reverse the 'apocalypse' of Trumpism". Daily Kos. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  2. ^ "Rising". TheHill. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  3. ^ "Player Bio: Krystal Ball – Clemson University Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on October 17, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  4. ^ Weiner, Rachel (October 7, 2010). "Krystal Ball: Bloggers who posted my photos are 'sexist and wrong'". Washington Post. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  5. ^ Krystal Ball on Why Centrism Sucks | Useful Idiots, retrieved September 27, 2019
  6. ^ Cook, Phyllis (May 27, 2009). "Krystal Ball is running for Congress". The Journal. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  7. ^ "Candidate Biography and Q&A: Krystal M. Ball". Daily Press. October 10, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Chelyen Davis (June 28, 2009). "Krystal Ball gets started early in bid for Rob Wittman's seat". The Free Lance–Star. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013.
  9. ^ Palmeri, Christopher (March 6, 2012). "Limbaugh Radio Show Faces Backlash from Social Media as Advertisers Flee". BusinessWeek. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  10. ^ Yakas, Ben (March 4, 2012). "Politicians, Advertisers Unimpressed With Rush Limbaugh's Apology". Gothamist. Archived from the original on November 6, 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  11. ^ "Rush Limbaugh's Advertisers Facing Social Media Firestorm". Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  12. ^ Siegel, Robert (March 8, 2012). "As Advertisers Flee, Is Limbaugh Losing That Much?". All Things Considered (audio and transcript). NPR. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  13. ^ "General and Special Elections Unofficial Results". November 2, 2010. Archived from the original on November 3, 2010.
  14. ^ "Most Powerful Women in the Mid Term Elections"
  15. ^ Stabley, Matthew. "Krystal Ball -- the Future of The Hill's Most Beautiful". NBC4 Washington.
  16. ^ "Issues". Krystal Ball for Congress. Archived from the original on August 30, 2009.
  17. ^ "Congressional Elections: Virginia District 01 Race: 2010 Cycle". OpenSecrets. April 25, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  18. ^ "Virginia District 01 2010 race". OpenSecrets. 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  19. ^ a b c d "Is Krystal Ball's PAC a fresh approach or a get-rich scheme?". mcclatchydc. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  20. ^ Stuck, Taylor (October 29, 2018). "Ojeda outraises Miller with out-of-state donations". Associated Press. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  21. ^ a b ""Ask The Candidates" — Krystal Ball Fires Back At Reporter, Defends People's House Project".
  22. ^ Pershing, Ben (September 11, 2011). "Krystal Ball: From scandal star to professional pundit". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 1, 2011.
  23. ^ "Super Tuesday Gives No Definite Result". CNBC. March 7, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  24. ^ "Krystal Ball: Yang's MSNBC boycott shows network has 'officially lost the left'". November 25, 2019.
  25. ^ "Krystal Ball". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  26. ^ Stelter, Brian (June 21, 2012). "New MSNBC Show Will Feature a Panel of Political Pundits". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  27. ^ "Rising with The Hill's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton". The Hill. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  28. ^ Enjeti, Saagar (April 29, 2019). "1/ *personal news*: After 3 amazing years @dailycaller I'm joining @thehill @HillTVLive as a Washington Correspondent & Host where I'll report & give thoughts on whats happening at The White House, Congress, and whatever else arises during a wild 2020 election". @esaagar. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  29. ^ Palmer, Anna; Sherman, Jake (January 7, 2020). "Popping the Bolton bubble". Playbook. Politico. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  30. ^ "Krystal Ball and Jonathan Dariyanani hold daughter Ida Rose at Politicon in Pasadena, California". July 29, 2017.
  31. ^ Angueira, Lauren (November 30, 2016). "South Florida activists prepare for life under Trump". Miami New Times. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  32. ^ Rising (January 4, 2020). Jamie Kilstein: Is there a crisis in masculinity? on YouTube.

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