Tags: Gillespie | Can-Do | Man | for | the | GOP

Ed Gillespie a Can-Do Man for the GOP

Wednesday, 18 June 2003 12:00 AM

His new position is not official until the RNC meets in New York next month. But he’s the president’s candidate, so that settles it. He replaces former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, who becomes chairman of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

Don’t give the 41-year-old political operative any of that argument over who is and who is not a good Republican or other internal warfare issues that have beset the GOP through the decades. If you’re a Republican and you’re running for office, Gillespie says it’s his job to get you elected, and that’s that. Conservatives, “moderates” or somewhere in between, he’s there to see that they succeed.

Grassroots organizing, that’s what he’s all about. Republicans in Boston and Republicans in Mississippi are likely to have different views on some issues. Doesn’t matter to him. If they’re on the ticket, he sees it as his job to elect all of them. His background suggests he leans conservative but believes the best way to advance that cause is through a strong GOP as America’s more conservative party.

Since 1985, when he started out as a night-time telemarketer in the basement of RNC headquarters, Gillespie’s career has shot up like a rocket. He’s a founder of the firm Quinn, Gillespie and Associates, whose business is government/public relations and strategy and includes such giant corporate clients as Microsoft and Verizon.

The son of an Irish immigrant grocer and bar owner in Brown Hills, N.J., Gillespie personifies the old adage that you can grow up to attain your highest ambition if you work hard.

He proved his political mettle when he ran George W. Bush’s primary campaign in Iowa in 2000. That’s when he impressed the future president and Bush’s top political operative and soon-to-be top White House adviser Karl Rove.

Name almost any major Republican cause of the past few years, and chances are you’ll find his political skills were involved. The man comes off as a street-smart pol.

Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, which elected the first Republican Congress in 40 years? That was Ed Gillespie’s handiwork. He drafted the document.

Gillespie was one of the most successful strategists in the Republican Party in the successful midterm elections of 2002. He was a key operative for Elizabeth Dole’s Senate campaign in North Carolina, where she racked up the biggest margin of victory for any Senate candidate in the state in the preceding 25 years.

His work for President Bush began with his management of the highly regarded program at the Republican Naitonal Convention in Philadelphia where then-Gov. Bush was nominated for the highest office in the land.

He has been a top aide to GOP Chairman Haley Barbour and House Majority Leader Dick Armey. In fact, he started with Armey when the latter was a little-known freshman congressman. As Armey moved up the congressional ladder and ultimately became House majority leader, so too did Gillespie’s career advance.

The GOP chairman-designate is married to the former Kathy Haye, a onetime executive director for Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. They have three children.

The president has picked for this pivotal position a relatively young man who lives and breathes politics. He says he loves to do campaigns “more than anything.” You can tell he’s ready to hit the ground running.

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His new position is not official until the RNC meets in New York next month. But he's the president's candidate, so that settles it. He replaces former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, who becomes chairman of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. Don't give the 41-year-old...
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2003-00-18
Wednesday, 18 June 2003 12:00 AM
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