In The News
Second U.S. Republican primary debate with Trump absent again
Channel News Asia, September 28, 2023
Craig Varoga, Congressional and Presidential Studies Fellow at American University, in an appearance on Channel News Asia, analyzes the political fallout of the second GOP presidential debate, including what it means for President Biden and former President Donald Trump.
Why Biden's closing argument worries some Democrats and could miss the mark with midterm voters
By Joey Garrison, USA Today November 6, 2022
Craig Varoga, a longtime Democratic strategist for congressional races, said, "If we have made any kind of mistake, it's the fact that we haven't talked about all of these assaults on American freedom." He pointed to Democrats' siloed messages on abortion, the economy, and threats to democracy. "We probably should have done a better job of pulling it all together."
Mitch McConnell’s outside man, Steven Law, plays the long game
By David Cantanese, McClatchy DC Bureau, July 22, 2021
Craig Varoga, a veteran strategist who has run Democratic super PACs, describes Law as a “smart, super pleasant guy,” an “able competitor who doesn’t miss a trick” and a professional who predates all the insanity” of Trumpism. “He’s probably having nightmares about the QAnon types, MAGA super nuts and others who are running in Republican Senate primaries next year,” Varoga said.
Ask the Campaign Doc: Breaking Into International Consulting
By Craig Varoga, Campaigns & Elections, Jul 6, 2021
Q: I’m looking to break into international work, but don't have many connections abroad. Do you recommend taking trips to different capitals to court potential clients, or try to find another way in?
Mauricio De Vengoechea is president of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) and past president of the Latin American Association of Political Consultants (ALACOP). His advice is to target your best fit (e.g., language, region, election system), become familiar with the top political issues in these countries....
The Attack on Voting
How President Trump’s false claim of voter fraud is being used to disenfranchise Americans.
By Jim Rutenberg, New York Times, 9/30/2020
"Craig Varoga, a longtime Democratic operative who runs Patriot Majority USA, which funded the Indiana project, told reporters that the fraud claims were false. Lawson was a close ally of Mike Pence, the state’s former governor who was then Donald Trump’s running mate. “We believe she is using government resources,” Varoga said, “to discredit and impugn the entire process.”
With four months to go, Trump faces deep polling deficit, multiple growing crises
By Stephen Loiaconi, Sinclair Broadcast Group, 7/6/2020
“If the election were held today, Biden would win in a landslide and Democrats would probably take control of the Senate, in addition to widening their majority in the House,” said Democratic strategist Craig Varoga. “But four months is a thousand-or-so tweets away, so it would be foolish for Democrats to feel over-confident.”
Ask the Campaign Doc: Expanding Your Services
By Craig Varoga (C&E's "Campaign Doctor"), Campaigns & Elections Magazine, 6/15/2020
Q: I’m a general consultant who's trying to expand into more technical service lines. Between phones, digital or P2P texting, what's the easiest to learn?
A: Any unique or new channel will take time to learn and fully grasp its capacity and limitations. As Zach Stewart at Blueprint Interactive notes, “Phones and texting may be easier for those with field experience, while digital may be easier for those with a background in targeting or communications experience.”
Meet Some of the People in Brandon Scott’s Inner Circle
By Josh Kurtz, Maryland Matters, 6/11/2020
“Scott in many ways has charted his own course, politically and on the policy front, since first being elected to the City Council in 2011. He came up from a struggling, violent neighborhood, and he’s never had a wide circle of advisers….Here’s a look at some of the people who who helped him to victory….The national consultants: A group that includes Craig Varoga, a veteran party operative who learned at the feet of former U.S. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).”
Democrats spend big to put Senate in play
By Reid Wilson, The Hill, 12/12/2019
Running early advertising “is a good strategy and, budget allowing, necessary in the current volatile environment, whether it is for an incumbent, challenger or open race,” said Craig Varoga, a longtime Democratic strategist who has run outside groups himself. “Like any battle, anyone who unilaterally disarmed would increase their odds of losing the war. It is almost always better to fight than to tie your own hands behind your back.”
Strong jobs report could complicate Democrats' economic case against Trump
By Stephen Loiaconi, Sinclair Broadcast Group, 12/6/2019
“The normal rules of political gravity no longer apply,” said Democratic strategist Craig Varoga. “Voters’ opinions about Trump are baked in. Good news and bad news no longer move the needle. The only major variable is the identity of the Democratic nominee, and it may be another half-year until we know who that is.”
Sanders conecta con los jóvenes
By Amanda Mars, El Pais (Spain), 3/9/2019
“Muchos votantes estadounidenses, pero los jóvenes especialmente, están descontentos con la política en el país y quieren un candidato que les parezca auténtico”, reflexiona Craig Varoga, estratega demócrata. “Bernie Sanders, lo ames o lo odies, es auténtico, no esconde en lo que ha creído a lo largo de toda su vida adulta. Además, muchas de sus ideas, como la sanidad garantizada o ayudar a los jóvenes a pagar su formación, tienen el apoyo de muchos demócratas, independientemente de la etiqueta política que se le quiera dar a esas posturas”.
Dem long shots crash 2020 debate stage
By Elena Schneider, Politico, 3/6/2019
Allowing long-shot candidates to debate “has the potential to diminish everyone on stage,” said Craig Varoga, a Democratic strategist, “but on the other hand, it’s a temporary phenomenon that’ll be dealt with by the brutal economics of running for president.”
Egy hét alatt egymillió önkéntest és tízmillió dollárt gyűjtött be Bernie Sanders kampánya
By Weiler Vilmos, Merce (Hungary), 2/27/2019
A független demokrata stratéga, Craig Varoga a megdöbbentően jó eredményről azt mondta: „Úgy gondolom, hogy a Sanders által összegyűjtött hatalmas összeg sokakat elrettenthet attól, hogy egyáltalán elinduljanak az elnökjelöltségért”
Governors eyeing White House may struggle to raise money
By Brian Slodysko, Associated Press, 2/26/2019
"The traditional argument for electing a Democratic governor is they have proven records and appeal to independent voters. Those are all valid points," said Craig Varoga, a veteran Democratic strategist who has worked for several governors who ran for president, including former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. "But you have to have enough money just to be able to show up in Iowa and New Hampshire. And traditional fundraising is going to be exceptionally difficult."
Bernie Sanders Raises $10 Million in Less Than a Week
By Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, 2/25/2019
“I think the fact that he has raised so much, so fast, so early should be concerning for anyone else who wants to pick up the liberal flag in this nominating contest,” said Craig Varoga, a Democratic strategist who is unaligned in the race.
Trump presidency & US politics are about to change dramatically now that Democrats have the House
By Tom Blackwell, National Post, 1/3/2019
Craig Varoga, a veteran Democratic strategist, said his party is planning to pursue goals American voters recently demanded, like improving health care. But he said Trump’s impulsiveness, crises of various sorts and outside investigations of the president will combine to make for an unpredictable two years. “Needless to say, the world is watching and history will begin judging all of the people involved,” Varoga added.
Clintons aren’t going away yet, as upcoming speaking tour shows
By Annie Linskey and Jess Bidgood, Boston Globe, 10/11/2018
“Trump will rub his fingers raw tweeting about the Clintons and will use their tour as yet another distraction for whatever firings he undertakes after the midterms,” predicted Craig Varoga, a Democratic strategist. “But only a very cold heart would begrudge a former president and secretary of state the opportunity to be heard.”
Ask the Campaign Doc: What Can I Do About My Unsupportive Family?
By Craig Varoga (C&E's "Campaign Doctor"), Campaigns & Elections Magazine, 10/2/2018
Q: My family isn't supportive of my campaign and has been publicly critical. Should I address their criticism directly or try to ignore them? A: We’re going to channel Tolstoy for a moment: "All happy families are alike.” (That would have gotten you off the hook.) “Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." You need to customize your response based on the vehemence of your family’s criticism. If a bunch of your relatives go on the record saying you’re a moral reprobate or lend their voices to your opponent’s paid advertising, you won’t have any choice and must deal directly with their accusations.
Republican social media bias hearing overshadowed by disputes over 'Diamond and Silk'
By Ali Breland, The Hill, 4/26/2018
“This must be what it was like a hundred years ago watching politicians who came up in the 19th Century try to come to terms with radio — the technology exceeds their communication skills,” said Craig Varoga, a Democratic political strategist. “Combine that with knee-jerk grandstanding, witnesses who can’t keep their own facts straight, and a political culture of excessive accusation, and it’s not surprising that today’s hearing blew up the way that it did,” he said.
Flood of legislative candidates points to enthusiasm in both parties
By Reid Wilson, The Hill, 3/6/2018
“Democrats took lessons from Virginia, where the party dramatically increased the number of seats they hold in the state House of Delegates in 2017. ‘You gotta play to win the game — period, point, exclamation point,’ said Craig Varoga, who headed the party’s House of Delegates campaigns. ‘If you don’t show up, you lose.’”
Schapiro: Toscano and his muscular minority
By Jeff E. Schapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/20/2018
“[Democratic Leader David] Toscano and others said that a memo prepared for the caucus in the run-up to the election by general consultant Craig Varoga said Democrats could win up to 17 seats, taking the House altogether, if turnout surged 5 percentage points or more from 43 percent in 2013. Turnout rose 4.6 percent, yielding a 15-seat gain.”