Matt Rhoades

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Matt Rhoades
Personal details
Born (1975-02-03) February 3, 1975 (age 43)
Saratoga Springs, New York,
U.S.
Political party Republican
Education Syracuse University (BA)
George Washington University (MA)

Matthew "Matt" Rhoades (born February 3, 1975) is an American political and public affairs consultant. Rhoades is cited as a pioneer in using less conventional outlets, such as the Drudge Report, America Rising, and Definers Public Affairs, to influence the public image about candidates and organizations who oppose his clients.[1] He was the campaign manager of Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign for the presidency.[2]

Education[edit]

In 1993 Rhoades graduated from Saratoga Springs High School. Rhoades received his B.A. at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 1997 and his M.A. from the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University in 1999.[3]

Career[edit]

After graduating from Syracuse University in 1997, Rhoades joined the Republican National Committee (RNC).[4] In the 2000 presidential election, he worked as a research analyst for the Republican National Committee assisting in the Florida recount.[5] After the victory of George W. Bush, Rhoades worked for the White House as an associate director for presidential personnel.[4] In the 2004 presidential election, Rhoades was director of opposition research for the campaign to re-elect President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. In the 2008 presidential bid of Mitt Romney, Rhoades was director of communications.[5] From 2007 to 2010 Rhoades was a vice president of the public affairs company DCI Group in Washington, D.C. In 2010, he left the company and served as the head of Romney's political action committee.[6]

Romney campaign 2012[edit]

As research director during the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign Rhoades became known for his opposition research.[7] He was hired by Romney's 2008 campaign manager, Beth Myers,[4] and served as the campaign manager for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign for presidency.[8] He deliberately kept a low profile, rarely traveled with Romney and tried to not appear on TV.[7] According to The Wall Street Journal he "remains a bit of a mystery even to those who work with him daily".[8] One of Rhoades early strategies regarding the state's caucuses was to leave out the Iowa straw poll in order to save resources. Rhodes worked with many advisers involved in the previous 2008 bid. In a heated GOP primary atmosphere Rhoades managed to secure the Republican nomination for Romney.[8]

America Rising[edit]

The group, America Rising LLC, was launched in 2013 by Rhoades,[9] former RNC spokesman Tim Miller and former RNC research director Joe Pounder.[10] It was established as the Republican counterpart to the Democratic opposition research group, American Bridge 21st Century.[11] The group is not only focused on opposition research but also engages in rapid response communications[12] and sending video trackers.[9] In 2014, America Rising helped derail Iowa Democratic candidate Bruce Braley's Senate bid by releasing a clip of the Democrat caught disparaging Iowa farmers and Senator Chuck Grassley.[13]

Definers Public Affairs[edit]

Definers Public Affairs is a private sector communications consulting firm[14] which was launched by Rhoades and former RNC research director Joe Pounder[15][16] in January 2015. After realizing that the corporate sphere faced similar challenges as Rhoades and Pounder had been confronted with at America Rinsing, the business idea for Definers was formed.[17]

Defending Digital Democracy[edit]

In 2017, Robby Mook, Clinton's 2016 campaign manager,[18] Eric Rosenbach, former defense secretary Ash Carter's chief of staff,[19] and Rhoades launched the Defending Digital Democracy Project at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.[20] The initiative looks at the problem of political organizations and election infrastructure being targeted by hackers. The initiative's objective, to find solutions for "election-related cybersecurity threats", is being supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.[21] Rhoades and Mook launched this project in large part due to the hacking attacks both experienced during their times as campaign managers in 2012 and 2016, respectively.[22]

Personal life[edit]

In June 2012 Rhoades married GOP communications strategist Jamie Loftus.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jim Rutenberg (October 22, 2007). "Clinton Finds Way to Play Along With Drudge". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  2. ^ Jason Horowitz (November 20, 2011). "Matt Rhoades, Romney campaign's under-the-radar chief". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  3. ^ "1993 Saratoga Springs High School graduate is Mitt Romney's campaign manager". Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  4. ^ a b c Horowitz, Jason (2011-11-20). "Matt Rhoades, Romney campaign's under-the-radar chief". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  5. ^ a b "Matt Rhoades: Executive Director at Free & Strong America PAC". The Washington Post. July 17, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  6. ^ "Top Romney aide to head political organization". Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  7. ^ a b "Political operatives". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  8. ^ a b c Murray, Sara (2012-05-25). "Team Romney's Relentless Driver". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  9. ^ a b "Romney campaign chief to lead new GOP research group". Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  10. ^ Weiner, Rachel (2013-03-21). "America Rising: Mitt Romney staffer starting opposition research group". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  11. ^ Parker, Ashley; Corasaniti, Nick (2015-05-16). "The Right Baits the Left to Turn Against Hillary Clinton". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  12. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (2013-03-21). "America Rising, GOP Research Super PAC, Launches With Romney Campaign Manager At Helm". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  13. ^ "America Rising comes into the spotlight". Washington Examiner. 2014-04-11. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  14. ^ "Definers Public Affairs". Definers Public Affairs. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  15. ^ Lipton, Eric; Friedman, Lisa (December 15, 2017). "Executive at Consultancy Hired by E.P.A. Scrutinized Agency Employees Critical of Trump". The New York Times. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  16. ^ Leber, Rebecca; Kroll, Andy; Choma, Russ (December 15, 2017). "The EPA Hired a Major Republican Opposition Research Firm to Track Press Activity". Mother Jones. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  17. ^ "Definers Public Affairs". Definers Public Affairs. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  18. ^ Nakashima, Ellen (2017-07-18). "Former Clinton and Romney campaign chiefs join forces to fight election hacking". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
  19. ^ "Eric Rosenbach | Harvard Kennedy School". www.hks.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  20. ^ "Belfer Center Launches "Defending Digital Democracy" Project To Fight Cyber Attacks and Protect Integrity of Elections | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs". www.belfercenter.org. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  21. ^ CNN, Dylan Stafford,. "Clinton, Romney campaign chiefs team up". CNN. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  22. ^ "Top state officials join bipartisan fight against election hacking". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  23. ^ "Political operatives". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-04-10.