Krystal Ball

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

(1981-11-24) November 24, 1981 (age 39)
King George County, Virginia, United States
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jonathan Dariyanani
ResidenceKing George County, Virginia[1]
Alma materUniversity of Virginia
OccupationSmall business owner, political commentator

Krystal Marie Ball (born November 24, 1981) is an American political commentator and progressive commentator who co-hosts Rising with the Hill's Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti,[2] produced by The Hill. She has appeared on Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Real Time with Bill Maher. She was previously a contributor under contract for MSNBC and a regular contributor to the HuffPost. Ball is also a co-host with Kyle Kulinski on the progressive podcast Krystal Kyle & Friends.

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.

Early life and education[edit]

Ball was born on November 24, 1981 in King George County, Virginia, 60 miles south of Washington, D.C.[3] Her father Edward Ball is a physicist and mother Rose Marie Ball, a teacher. The name Krystal came from her father, a physicist who wrote 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 one year before transferring to the University of Virginia, where she received a bachelor's degree in economics.[6]


Ball is a business owner and a certified public accountant.[7] She previously worked for the federal contractor CGI Group. Leaving CGI she went on to design educational software, in a business owned with her husband, working internationally.[8] She is a former columnist for The Atlantic.[9]

In 2012, Ball launched a website calling for a boycott of advertisers on The Rush Limbaugh Show after Limbaugh's comments about Sandra Fluke.[10][11] ThinkProgress reported on March 2, 2012 that over 50 advertisers were confirmed to have dropped the show.[12][13]

2010 U.S. House campaign[edit]

In 2010, Ball ran to represent Virginia's 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives against Republican incumbent Rob Wittman. During the campaign, Ball supported education reform, including charter schools, using technology, alternative certification of teachers, and paying teachers six figure salaries.[14] 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.[15] 72% of her fundraising came from out-of-state donors.[16] In total, she raised $1.06 million, 20% less than Wittman.[17]

One month before the election, bloggers posted sexually suggestive photos of Ball with her then-husband from a Christmas party in 2004.[18][19][20] Her campaign had little national attention before the incident. Ball initially blamed her opponent, Wittman, for the leak as being part of a smear campaign. Wittman released a statement opposing the leak and asked the bloggers to take it down.[19] Ball also complained about the double standard of expectations for male and female candidates given the scant attention Scott Brown had received for previously posing nude in Cosmopolitan.[20] She has used the experience as a warning for future candidates about their youthful indiscretions.[18]

Ball lost to Wittman by a margin of 63.90% to 34.76%.[21]

The Cycle (2012-2015)[edit]

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

In part due to the photo scandal from the 2010 campaign, Ball appeared on Fox News, CNN, and CNBC, and became a regular contributor 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] Interviewed by Jill Filipovic she explained how she launched into a new career as a political commentator on television.[27] One of her most discussed monologues on the show was a 2014 critique of Hillary Clinton which urged her not to run for President.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30] It was among the largest contributors to Richard Ojeda's campaign for the West Virginia Senate.[31]

In May 2018, McClatchy wrote of her PAC:

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.[30]

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".[30] 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.[32] McClatchy wrote that candidates and campaign officials that she had assisted had said that Ball "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."[30]

Rising (2018-present)[edit]

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.[33] Ball's second book, co-authored with Enjeti, is The Populist's Guide to 2020: A New Right and New Left Are Rising, released on February 8, 2020.[34][35]

Ball supported Bernie Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign.[36][37][1][38] During the 2020 impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump she speculated that Democrats were using the Senate trial to keep Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in Washington D.C. when they would otherwise be campaigning.[39]

Krystal Kyle & Friends[edit]

On January 1, 2021, Krystal Ball and Kyle Kulinski launched a new podcast called Krystal Kyle and Friends. Podcast guests have included Noam Chomsky, Nina Turner, Glenn Greenwald, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Ball is married to Jonathan Dariyanani, a venture capitalist attorney and entrepreneur, and has three children.[8][41] Ball attributes her interest in politics after becoming a mother, and whilst working in Jordan with Dariyanani, watching the outcome of the 2008 US presidential election and how it affected people in other countries.[27] She was a Senior Fellow of the New Leaders Council.[42]


  • Reversing the Apocalypse: Hijacking the Democratic Party to Save the World (Pelican Media, 2017, eBook)
  • The Populist's Guide to 2020: A New Right and New Left Are Rising (with Saagar Enjeti; Strong Arm Press, 2020, ISBN 978-1947492455)

Electoral history[edit]

Virginia's 1st Congressional District election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rob Wittman (incumbent) 135,564 63.87
Democratic Krystal Ball 73,824 34.78
Independent Greens G. Gail Parker 2,544 1.20
Write-in 304 0.14
Total votes 212,236 100
Republican hold


  1. ^ a b Kilpatrick, Connor. "Krystal Ball Is the Anti–Rachel Maddow Bernie Fans Have Been Waiting For". Jacobin. Jacobin Magazine. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  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. ^ Hunley, Jonathan. "Krystal Ball hopes for good fortune come November". InsideNoVa. Rappahannock Media LLC. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  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. ^ "Krystal Ball". The Atlantic. 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  10. ^ Palmeri, Christopher (March 6, 2012). "Limbaugh Radio Show Faces Backlash from Social Media as Advertisers Flee". BusinessWeek. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Rush Limbaugh's Advertisers Facing Social Media Firestorm". Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  13. ^ Siegel, Robert (March 8, 2012). "As Advertisers Flee, Is Limbaugh Losing That Much?". All Things Considered (audio and transcript). NPR. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  14. ^ Stabley, Matthew. "Krystal Ball -- the Future of The Hill's Most Beautiful". NBC4 Washington.
  15. ^ "Issues". Krystal Ball for Congress. Archived from the original on August 30, 2009.
  16. ^ "Congressional Elections: Virginia District 01 Race: 2010 Cycle". OpenSecrets. April 25, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  17. ^ "Virginia District 01 2010 race". OpenSecrets. 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Peters, Jeremy W.; Stelter, Brian (November 5, 2010). "The Facebook Skeletons Come Out". The New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  19. ^ a b Weiner, Rachel. "44 - Krystal Ball: Bloggers who posted my photos are 'sexist and wrong'". Washington Post. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  20. ^ a b Payne, Kimball (October 7, 2010). "Bloggers post revealing photos of Democrat Krystal Ball". Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  21. ^ "General and Special Elections Unofficial Results". November 2, 2010. Archived from the original on November 3, 2010.
  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'". The Hill. 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. ^ a b Filipovic, Jill (January 26, 2015). "Get That Life: How I Started My Own MSNBC Show". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  28. ^ Simon, Johannes (January 30, 2020). "Schluss mit der proletarischen Scham!" (in German). Neues Deutschland. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ a b c d "Is Krystal Ball's PAC a fresh approach or a get-rich scheme?". McClatchyDC. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  31. ^ Stuck, Taylor (October 29, 2018). "Ojeda outraises Miller with out-of-state donations". Associated Press. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  32. ^ ""Ask The Candidates" — Krystal Ball Fires Back At Reporter, Defends People's House Project".
  33. ^ "Rising with The Hill's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton". The Hill. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  34. ^ Palmer, Anna; Sherman, Jake (January 7, 2020). "Popping the Bolton bubble". Politico Playbook. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  35. ^ Hartmann, Thom (February 3, 2020). "Will 2020 Election Be A Story of Populism?". Free Speech TV. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  36. ^ "Krystal Ball: Why MSNBC is to blame for Joe Biden". The Hill: Rising. The Hill. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  37. ^ Ball, Krystal. "Krystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment?". The Hill: Rising. The Hill. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  38. ^ "Krystal Ball: The left doesn't owe Joe Biden their vote". Rising. The Hill. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  39. ^ Chait, Jonathan (December 23, 2019). "Tulsi Gabbard and the Return of the Anti-Anti-Trump Left". Intelligencer. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  40. ^ Ball, Krystal (2021). "Krystal Kyle & Friends". Substack. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  41. ^ "Krystal Ball and Jonathan Dariyanani hold daughter Ida Rose at Politicon in Pasadena, California". July 29, 2017.
  42. ^ Angueira, Lauren (November 30, 2016). "South Florida activists prepare for life under Trump". Miami New Times. Retrieved December 23, 2019.

External links[edit]