Rising Stars 2009
Campaigns & Elections
Campaign & Elections’ Politics magazine today announced the 2009 Rising Stars. One of the most prestigious honors in politics, the award goes to people 35 or under who have already made a significant mark in political consulting or advocacy. The magazine chose 10 Democrats, 10 Republicans and seven nonpartisan leaders this year out of a pool of several hundred nominees.
“Capping off an historic election year, we received a record number of nominations for this year’s Rising Stars,” said James Klatell, managing editor of Politics. “With so many exceptional young people working in politics today, this was an exceedingly difficult process.”
The Rising Stars will be honored on June 12 during our 26th annual training seminar, The Art of Political Campaigning. Past Rising Stars have included David Axelrod, Paul Begala, Donna Brazile, James Carville, Alex Castellanos, Rahm Emanuel, Ed Gillespie, Alexis Herman, Karen Hughes, Laura Ingraham, Celinda Lake, Jim Pinkerton, Ralph Reed and George Stephanopoulos.
See a list of previous Rising Stars honorees here. Read the full Rising Stars bios in the June issue of the magazine.
Danny Diaz, 33, launched his own consulting firm, Diaz Communications LLC, this year. A senior member of John McCain's 2008 campaign, he was previously the communications director at the Republican National Committee.
Danny Diaz 33, Republican
Co-workers are used to getting phone calls from Danny Diaz at strange times—10:56 on a Tuesday night for example. Diaz never stops thinking about politics, but it wasn’t always that way.
He describes his post-collegiate stance as “essentially apolitical,” but he was captivated by the 2000 Florida recount and it drove him to politics. Inspired, he spent a year handing out resumes on Capitol Hill before landing a job with the NRCC doing Spanish-language communications. From there, his work ethic and strategic thinking helped him rise to the top. In 2004 he led President Bush’s communications work in nine southwestern states, winning them all (and coming up with the hit idea for anti-Kerry “Waffle Breakfasts”). In late 2007, after working with the McCain campaign, Diaz took the top communications job at the RNC. This year, he launched his own firm.
Diaz hopes private work will be a chance to step back from the campaign workload—for ten years his wife and four children have put up with him shipping off to New Mexico at a moment’s notice. But co-workers say they will have to see a slowdown before they believe it.
“Diaz will never get outworked,” explains PR consultant Brian Jones, who has overseen Diaz on multiple campaigns. “He never stops doing his job.”