Katie Walsh was already a proven powerhouse in the GOP fundraising world when she broke records as the Republican National Committee's finance director during the 2014 election cycle. Walsh helped her boss, Reince Priebus, raise upward of $200 million—and she certainly knows the value of that contribution. "If you can get people to give money," she tells me when I visit her at RNC headquarters, "that's a much bigger get than getting people to vote for you."
(Chet Susslin)Earlier this year, Priebus tapped Walsh to be the RNC's chief of staff, assisting him with fundraising—and everything else—leading up to the 2016 presidential cycle. Former National Republican Senatorial Committee Finance Director Dorinda Moss says she was glad to hear of Walsh's appointment. "I think often times in politics, professionals get put in some kind of box, and they rarely ever get outside of their own box," Moss tells me. "I'm glad that Chairman Priebus and leadership at the RNC have recognized that Katie's not just a fundraiser. She understands the political process from top to bottom."
Walsh's roots in rainmaking do run deep, however. An only child from St. Louis, Missouri, Walsh was a business major at George Washington University, and she has been working in fundraising practically her entire professional life. Her first jobs were as a field representative for Missouri gubernatorial candidate Matt Blunt, and as an administrative assistant with the Ashcroft Group, the consulting firm founded by former Attorney General John Ashcroft. From there, she went to work as an assistant to the national finance director at Friends of Fred Thompson and then as Midwest regional finance director for the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008. She joined the NRSC for the 2010 and 2012 cycles, working with Senate campaigns around the country to implement comprehensive fundraising and political strategies. Then in January 2013, she joined the RNC as deputy finance director, working her way up to finance director by June of that year.