Obama General Election Campaign Organization, Michigan
revised July 2, 2009  disclaimer

A July 14, 2008 memo by Obama state director Amy Chapman, obtained by Marc Ambinder, outlines plans, well underway, to "build and manage the largest general election campaign in Michigan history."  Chapman reported that, "To date we have hired close to 90 staffers (mostly field organizers) and will have another 80 (mostly field organizers) hired by early August.  In total we will have a minimum of 150 field organizers throughout the state working through the Michigan Democratic Party/Campaign for Change."  Further, Chapman wrote, the "150 field organizers will be supported by over 50 additional paid staffers, bringing our total in state presence to over 200 paid staff.  As a comparison, the Kerry-Edwards general election effort in 2004 employed 112 staffers, including 87 field staff."

On Oct. 2 the McCain-Palin campaign confirmed reports it was cutting back operations in Michigan; some staff were shifted to other states, while a fair part of the field organization was left in place.

Obama for America   >
State Director
Amy Chapman
(announced June 13, 2008)  From Madison Heights.  Executive director of Grassroots Democrats, an independent non-profit 527 political organization dedicated to strengthening the infrastructure and financial resources of state Democratic parties.  Managed the Michigan Democratic coordinated campaign in 2002.  Midwest political director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), 2002.  Led the DNC's state legislative redistricting project in 2001.  Campaign director for the AFL-CIO from 1997-2001.  Managed the Michigan Democratic coordinated campaign in 1996.  Managed Ron Wyden's successful 1995 special election campaign for U.S. Senate in Oregon.  Managed Kitzhaber for Governor of Oregon in 1994.  Executive director of College Democrats of America, 1993-94.  Oregon state director for Clinton/Gore in 1992.  Political field director SEIU, 1983-91, and during that time also served as a staffer on Dukakis for President, 1988; Western field director on Bob Casey for Governor, 1986; deputy field director and assistant to the political director on Cranston for President, 1983-84.  Worked on Frank Lautenberg's 1982 campaign for U.S. Senate.  Field staff on Maguire for Congress, 1980.  B.A. in politics and journalism from New York University, 1983.

Deputy State Director/Political Director Michael Blake
Deputy political director on Obama's Iowa caucus campaign.  Director of external affairs for the Michigan House of Representatives before heading to Iowa.  Prior to that, in 2006, he was the West Michigan campaign organizer for the Michigan House Democratic Caucus, organizing three state house campaigns.  Member of the inaugural class of Obama's Hopefund "Yes We Can" training program.  Graduate of the Medill School of Journalism from Northwestern University.  New York native.

Communications Director Brent Colburn
Spokesman on U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow's 2006 re-election campaign.  Research director on Howard Dean's presidential campaign, 2003-04.  Worked at the DCCC.  A regional political director for the Democratic Leadership Council.  Graduate of the College of William and Mary, 1998.  ...to Virginia for the final three weeks

New Media
Chris Northcross
(producer/videographer/editor for the campaign in Chicago starting in Feb. 2007)  Assistant editor at Radar Studios, 2005-07.  Video post production supervisor at Fig Media, Inc., 2004-05.  Technical director at WILX-TV in Michigan, 1998-2000.

Campaign for Change
Headquarters: 2875 West Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202 [Detroit Federation of Teachers building]  ...grand opening July 23, 2008
General Election Director
Pat Maloney
Political director on John Edwards' 2007-08 Iowa caucus campaign.  National field director for 21st Century Democrats during 2006.  Previously worked at a public affairs technology firm where he helped corporate and association clients design and manage grassroots campaigns.  Political director for the 2004 Oklahoma Democratic Coordinated Campaign.  Organized southwestern Iowa (Council Bluffs) for Edwards in the 2003-04 caucuses before working as the campaign's deputy field director in Oklahoma and Texas.  Native of Cushing, Oklahoma.

Field Director
Elizabeth Wilkins
Started on the campaign as assistant to the national political director in March 2007; served as youth vote director on the South Carolina primary campaign and Baltimore city field organizer on the Maryland primary campaign.  Worked for SEIU Local 32BJ.  Community organizer for Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).  B.A. in ethics, politics and economics from Yale University.

Deputy Field Director
Betsy Hoover
Worked on the PA primary campaign.

Deputy Field Director
Noland Chambliss
Worked on the NH primary campaign.

Regional Organization

Constituency Vote Director
Amanda Stitt
Political affairs at the Granholm Leadership Fund.  Deputy director of the Michigan Democratic Coordinated Campaign, 2005-06.  Field director on Granholm for Governor, 2003-05.  Deputy GOTV on the 2004 Michigan Democratic Coordinated Campaign.  B.A. in political science from Kalamazoo College, 2002.  

Deputy Constituency Vote Director/Veterans Vote Director
Steve Dunwoody
Started on Obama's Iowa Caucus campaign as a field organizer in Iowa City and deputy veterans outreach coordinator; continued as a field organizer in Las Vegas, in the Seattle suburbs, and in other primary states.  Served six years in the Air National Guard, including in Iraq.  B.A. in political science-international relations from Kent State University.  Detroit native.

Rural Vote Director (including Sportsmen)
Chad Binge
Started Obama campaign in Iowa working agriculture outreach; also worked on the campaign in Pennsylvania.

Faith Vote Director
Allison Pulliam
Started with Obama for America in Iowa as Field Organizer in Cedar Rapids. Graduate of Butler University, 1999.    ...to Indiana.

Arab-American Vote Director
Rashida Tlaib
Candidate for state representative in the 12th District, Southwest Detroit; elected Nov. 2008.  J.D. from Thomas Cooley Law School, 2004.  B.A. in political science from Wayne State University, 1998.

Youth Vote Director
James Hannaway
Youth vote director in the Minnesota and Texas contests after serving as youth vote director in Chicago early in the campaign.  Hannaway is taking time off from being a student at Carleton College.  Chair of the Minnesota College Democrats.  Worked on the 2006 Minnesota DFL Youth Coordinated Campaign.  Originally from Baltimore.

Deputy Political Director/African-American Vote Director
Denise Pate
African-American and Senior Vote Director on the Iowa Caucus campaign.

Women's/Jewish Vote Director Jenny Nathan
On leave from position as grassroots administrator for the National Council of Jewish Women; started there Feb. 2007.  B.A. in English language and literature from the University of Michigan, 2006.

Policy Director
Jenna Pilat
Experience includes constituent relations representative for Sen. Obama.

Director of Travel and Scheduling
Barb McCallahan
Recently served as director of community affairs/regional manager for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

GOTV Director
Kerry Ebersole
In 2006 Ebersole was executive director of the Michigan Coalition for Progress, a PAC focused on state legislative races.  Field director on Jennifer Granholm's 2002 campaign for governor.

Voter Protection Coordinator
Renée Paradis
(Aug. 2008)  On leave from position as counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice; started there in Sept. 2005.  Fellow in the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project, 2004-05.  J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, 2003.  B.A. in English from Columbia University, 1998.

Michigan Democratic Party 
|   606 Townsend St.  |  Lansing, MI 48933.   517-371-5410  >
Chair (and serves as Executive Director)
Mark Brewer
The senior Democratic state party chair in the country; elected chairman in Feb. 1995, and re-elected in Feb. 1997, 1999, 2001, 2005 and 2007; elected executive chair in 2003.  Brewer is also president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, first elected in June 2003.  Joined Sachs, Waldman, O’Hare, Helveston, Hodges and Barnes, PC in 1983, became a shareholder in 1989, and continued at the firm until becoming chair.  Started in politics as a summer intern for Congressman David Bonior in 1977 and was involved in every reelection campaign of Congressman Bonior until 2000.  A.B. from Harvard College in 1977; law degree from Stanford University Law School in 1981.

Executive Assistant to the Chair
Sylvia Perkins
Worked for the State House of Representatives for 22 years before joining the state party staff in 1993.

First Vice Chair Tina Abbott        Second Vice Chair Lupe Ramos-Montigny        Third Vice Chair Ismael Ahmed
Treasurer Dianne Byrum        Secretary  Rosa Holliday  

Political Organizing Director
Pam Faris
Degree in business administration-human resource management and years of political experience electing Democrats from the municipal level to statewide office.  Wife of Lt. Gov. John Cherry.

Voter File Manager
Nancy Bosak
Previously was a precinct organizer in Livingston County during the MDP's 2004 coordinated campaign.

Base Vote Coordinator
Don DeFoe
Most recently campaign manager in a Northern Illinois Congressional race and communications advisor with the Michigan Senate Democratic Caucus. Degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Youth Organizer
Derek Dobies
Has worked on many campaigns throughout Michigan and has served as campaign manager in an Oakland County race for State Representative.

Senior Field Organizer
Paul Gieleghem
Associate's degree in general business from Macomb Community College; bachelor's degree in public relations from Wayne State University.

Senior Field Organizer - Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula G.T. Long
Former candidate for State Representative.

Communications Director
Liz Kerr
Previously at the Michigan Senate Democratic Caucus where she did communications and political work. Prior to her work in the Senate, Kerr worked on campaigns and in a health policy research group.  Bachelor's degrees in economics and oboe performance from the University of Michigan.

Finance and Compliance Director
Jody Weissler
B.S. in environmental studies and applications from the Michigan State University.  With the MDP since 1999. 

Deputy Finance Director
Mila Al-Ayoubi
Previously operations director for the MDP's 2004 coordinated campaign.  B.S. in political science and an M.S.A. in public administration from Central Michigan University.

Finance Assistants - Louis Fejszes, Laura Hornshaw

Manager of Bingo Halls
Jim Kadjan
Formerly the executive director of the old 12th Congressional District for five years, he has also worked with the David Bonior and Carl Levin campaigns, as well as the Dave Serotkin recall election. He has been with the State Party since 1989.

Joanne Warman
Prior to coming to work for the Party, Warman was a career employee with the federal government.

Obama primary
2004 Kerry

Copyright © 2008, 2009  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action