Sen. Rick Jeffares Announces Lt. Gov. Campaign Team

From a press release:

State Senator and candidate for Lt. Governor Rick Jeffares today announced the senior campaign team that will help him bring his conservative education and job creation message to the people of Georgia.

“This is a terrific team and I look forward to their help in organizing the grassroots, raising resources and getting my message out all across Georgia,” Jeffares said.

That team includes:

Campaign Co-Chairs:

State Senator Burt Jones

Burt was elected to the State Senate for Georgia’s 25th District in 2012 and represents Baldwin, Butts, Greene, Jasper, Morgan and Putnam counties along with portions of Bibb, Jones and Walton counties. Senator Jones serves as Chairman of the Insurance and Labor Committee. He is a member, and past Chairman, of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. He also serves on the Higher Education and Transportation Committees.

Senator Jones previous served as the President of the Butts County Rotary Club, Board Member of Partners for Smart Growth which is a group dedicated to establishing and promoting quality growth in Butts County and the surrounding areas, Board Member of the Butts County Water and Sewage Department, Advisory Board Member of both Donegal Insurance Company and Utica National Insurance Co.

Senator Jones is also an active member of the University of Georgia Lettermen’s Club and member of the Grid Iron Society. In 2014, Senator Jones was named to the University of Georgia’s (UGA) 40 Under 40 Class of 2014 by the UGA Alumni Association. The same year, Senator Jones was recognized as a distinguished alumnus by Woodward Academy. Senator Jones is a sixth generation Jackson, Ga. native. He received a bachelor’s of science in History from the University of Georgia and attended the Hartford School of Insurance where he developed skills in risk management and insurance brokerage.

In 2004, Senator Jones founded JP Capital & Insurance, Inc., with the purpose of serving as the risk management advisor for the parent company, Jones Petroleum. He quickly saw the opportunity for expansion into the retail insurance brokerage market and through hard work and dedication, built the start-up agency into an established insurance brokerage house founded on professionalism and client service.

Senator Jones was a student-athlete and a four-year letterman for the University of Georgia Football team. As a former walk-on, Senator Jones was voted as a Permanent Team Captain for the 2002 SEC Championship Team. His contributions to the team helped bring UGA their first SEC Championship in 20 years.

Senator Jones is married to the former Miss Janice L. Boswell of Griffin, Ga. and they have two children, Stella and Banks. Senator Jones enjoys water skiing, fishing, hunting, and attending sporting events with his family.

Dr. J. David Allen

Dr. Allen is an Emory graduate, Dentist and veteran of the U.S. Navy.  He is a current member of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, a past President of the Georgia Dental Association, former Department of Natural Resources Board member, former Chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and an Eagle Scout.

His background also includes:

  • President, Southeastern Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 1997-1998.
  • President, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons,1999-2000.
  • Emeritus member of the Emory University Board of Trustees, The
  • Emory Clinic and Emory Healthcare, 2004-present.
  • DNR Board Member, 2008-2010.
  • Chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, 2008-09.
  • Organizing and Emeritus Director of Atlantic Capital Bank, 2009-14.
  • Founding and Emeritus Chairman of the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation, 2010-present.
  • Georgia World Congress Center Authority, 2016-present.

Dr. Allen is the father of three grown daughters and grandfather of two. He is a member and usher of the Social Circle United Methodist Church.

Finance Chair: S. Aaron McWhorter

Mr. McWhorter is the owner and president of North Georgia Turf, Inc. and Sports Turf Company, Inc. He is a current Vice Chairman of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, a member of the General Contractors Licensing Board and past president of the Georgia Turfgrass Association and the Georgia Sod Producers Association. He is a member of the North Georgia Mountains Authority, the West Georgia Regional Water Council, Carroll County Water Authority Board, the American General Contractors Association Board, and the Georgia Environmental Restoration Association Board (GERA).

McWhorter earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in education from the University of West Georgia. He resides in Whitesburg with his wife, Linda. They have three children and five grandchildren.

General Consultant: Scott Rials and Jay Walker, RightPath Strategic Affairs, L.L.C.

Scott Rials has a background that combines extensive campaign success for over 20 years and has earned a solid reputation for developing, leading and executing proven, winning strategies.

Starting his career with Newt Gingrich’s campaign in 1993, he has managed campaign efforts at all levels of government in multiple states and held leadership roles with the GA GOP. In 2006, Scott founded RightPath Strategic Affairs where he continues a winning record as General Consultant to clients from the courthouse to the state house to the U.S. Congress and Presidential candidates.

Jay Walker has experience at almost every level of a campaign including grassroots initiatives, communications, political strategy, management and consulting. His knowledge of the inner workings of a campaign has created his strong track record of building and guiding teams to victory.

Upon graduation from the University of Georgia, Jay served as political and communications director with Steve Stancil for Lt. Governor. He served as Campaign Director for the Georgia House Republican Caucus and Chief of Staff for the Georgia House of Representatives. He was an integral part of the effort that flipped the Georgia House of Representatives to the Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction and led the charge for the House campaign effort resulting in another big pick-up for the GOP.

RightPath has led teams to victory over heavily favored opponents in Georgia including Governor Sonny Perdue, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Congressmen Barry Loudermilk, Rick Allen, Drew Ferguson, and Tom Graves, Senator David Perdue and other candidates in and around the Southeast.

Media Consultants: DMM Media

DMM Media is a premier Republican advertising agency that specializes in writing, producing and buying television, radio and digital pre-roll advertising.

One of the most successful GOP firms in the country since its inception fourteen years ago, DMM’s clients include statewide elected officials, 17 current members of the U.S. House, and some of the largest outside groups on the right, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Crossroads and American Action Network.  In the last four election cycles, DMM’s advertising contributed to GOP victories in 11 marquee U.S. Senate races, as well as a major ballot initiative victory in Michigan.

Michael McElwain, Partner. 

Mike McElwain is one of the country’s leading campaign strategists and has over fifteen years of experience at the highest levels of Republican politics. He has been a partner at DMM Media since January 2007.

McElwain served as Political Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 2001–2006. Responsible for the national political strategy and a $100 million budget, under his leadership the NRCC was called “political Bronx bombers” by CBS News political analyst Stuart Rothenberg, who lauded the “strong leadership, stability and political savvy” at the committee.

NBC News political analyst Charlie Cook called McElwain “one of the most talented operatives ever to work at any House or Senate party committee.”

Campaign Manager: Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams worked as a field representative for Gov. Deal’s 2014 re-election campaign, coordinating grassroots efforts and mobilizing support in southeast Georgia.

Following Gov. Deal’s successful re-election, Williams joined the Office of the Governor where he served as the local government liaison, and later as a legislative liaison, working with members of the General Assembly to help coordinate legislative proposals and mobilize support for the Governor’s agenda.

Williams earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and international affairs from the University of Georgia. He resides in Atlanta.

Finance Director: Laura Willis Dunaway, Capitol Strategy Group

Dunaway joined Capitol Strategy Group as a partner in early 2005. She manages many of the firm’s fundraising, marketing, and event planning projects. Dunaway leads the fundraising efforts for Congressman Lynn Westmoreland in Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District and Rick Allen in the 12th Congressional District and serves as a consultant for a number of fundraising projects.

Over the past decade, Dunaway has helped raise the millions of dollars necessary for the victories of Saxby Chambliss’ historic election to the United States Senate, Congressman Lynn Westmoreland’s election in 2004 and Governor Nathan Deal’s successful gubernatorial campaign.

After having been involved in trying to unseat the Democratic stronghold in the 8th district of Georgia the past three election cycles, Dunaway was proud to be a part of Congressman Austin Scott’s victory in 2010. She also enjoyed the opportunity to venture outside Georgia and participate in unseating another Democrat in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District with the election of Congressman Martha Roby.

These campaigns and others have allowed Dunaway the opportunity to plan events for President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and many other Congressional Leaders. Capitol Strategy Group is often called upon to plan and execute events in Georgia by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and Senate and Congressional candidates from outside of Georgia.

Communications: Dan McLagan, Tactical Communications Solutions

Dan McLagan served as a spokesman and public relations strategist for some of the highest profile political candidates of the last two decades; and also fought intensive PR battles in the private sector.  In Georgia, McLagan served as Communications Director for Sonny Perdue’s long-shot gubernatorial campaign in 2002, and as the Governor’s spokesman at the State Capitol from 2003 to 2007.

He also served as spokesman for now congressmen Drew Ferguson, Barry Loudermilk and Rick Allen. His political clients have included four presidential candidates (Bush ’88 and ’92, Alexander ’96, and McCain 2000) Governors, U.S. Senators (including the late Paul Coverdell), as well as the National Republican Senatorial Committee, where he served as Press Secretary.

Direct Mail: Ron Butler, Creative Direct

Ron Butler is President of Creative Direct, one of the most successful Republican voter contact direct mail firms in the nation.  Creative Direct’s clients have included The Republican Governor’s Association, The National Republican Senatorial Committee, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Congressman Tom Graves, Governor Sonny Perdue, Senator Bob Corker, Senator John Thune, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Barry Loudermilk, Rick Allen and more than a dozen members of the Georgia House and Senate.

Prior to forming Creative Direct, Ron managed many successful campaigns, and he served for five years as Political Director for the Republican Party of Virginia and worked as Field Director for the Republican National Committee.

Digital: Push

Leading Jaffares’ digital effort will be Push, a Republican digital agency with a history of leveraging cutting-edge trends in technology, online advertising and social media. Founded in 2009 by Wesley Donehue, the firm has been instrumental in leading digital strategy for national GOP candidates like Senators Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton, raising millions of dollars for conservative candidates and causes up and down the ballot.

Push’s Georgia clients include Senator David Perdue, and Congressman Rick Allen, Drew Ferguson, and Tom Graves. Jaffares’ lead strategist at Push digital will be Sr. Vice President Phil Vangelakos who’s prior experience includes leading digital strategy for Georgia’s historic 2012 Charter School Amendment.

Polling: Randall Gutermuth American Viewpoint

American Viewpoint has extensive experience in Georgia, having served as the pollster for Newt Gingrich, Johnny Isakson, Austin Scott, Sam Olens, Chris Carr, the Republican State House Caucus and numerous other candidates and organizations in the state.

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