Jesse Ferguson, communications director and deputy executive director, DCCC
It's not often that political committees feature veteran staffers. But that's the case with Ferguson, who started with the DCCC late in the 2010 cycle and served as the national press secretary during the past two years.
His experience gives Ferguson, who got his start in Virginia politics, a different perspective this time around — particularly when it comes to the hard work necessary to be successful winning House races across the country. As he put it, it's a great job "if you're OK with waking up at 2 a.m. to check your e-mail."
"Nothing is more valuable than sweat equity," he said. "You have to be committed to what you're doing, because the time and energy you put in is going to take everything else out of you."
Working at the DCCC wasn't a lifelong dream of Ferguson's — in fact, he entered college at William & Mary a Republican. Now, however, he's helping craft a message that Democrats can use to retake the House majority. The key, he's learned, is staying aggressive.
"I think that one of the truths I've come to learn over the course of being there is that if you're not on offense, you're losing. Call it my experience in the 2010 cycle."
Chris Georgia, deputy digital director, NRCC
How did a finance major from the University of Minnesota who worked as a business consultant to medical organizations like the Mayo Clinic end up as a deputy digital director at the NRCC? According to Georgia, who joined the Republican political committee in January, the two fields have two important things in common: data and critical thinking. Determining how to better incentivize worker pay relies on the same skill set as building models that show what certain voters think.
Those are valuable skills for a GOP that is desperately trying to close the perceived "tech gap" it faces against Democrats. For Georgia, who worked at the American Action Network last cycle, it's both a challenge and a great opportunity to help the Republican Party catch up.
"You have to constantly learn and stay on your toes," he said. "And there was a lot of critical thinking involved in all of that. How are we going to use those tools and win races? That's not something that was thought a lot about two or four years ago."
The NRCC is already showing some results. Its redesigned website is built to export viral-marketing material, in the vein of popular sites such as BuzzFeed, and just last week it released a new six-second online ad, known as a "vine," that drew notice across the political spectrum. "We have serious challenges that we're facing," he said, "but I look at all of those as opportunities for us."
Hot Seats is a weekly series highlighting significant staff positions in the 113th Congress. To suggest a position or staffer for the list, please tweet to @NJLeadership or e-mail Managing Editor Kristin Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org.