In 2002, Kori Crow co-founded KC Strategies, a full-service political consulting firm based in Austin, Texas. Fifteen years later, the firm has become one of the most successful and respected political consulting shops in the state. This includes work on more than 250 campaigns in 154 different Texas counties, including state legislative, judicial (local, state and appellate), county and non-partisan races, ballot initiatives and projects for county political parties, activist organizations, and private sector businesses.
Kori has cultivated a reputation for running lean and effective campaigns, with minimal overhead, and stretching dollars to overcome better-financed opponents. In the recently completed 2016 Texas election cycle, KC Strategies’ clients compiled a record of 33-5, with many victories coming despite being heavily outspent.
One such client was Gerald Daugherty, a Republican County Commissioner in deep-blue Travis County, Texas. The Daugherty race generated the viral video, “Please Re-Elect Gerald…Please”, which now has over 9 million views online, and was called “America’s Best Campaign Ad of 2016” by numerous publications and commentators. Although Trump lost this district to Clinton by 17.98%, Daugherty won re-election as a Republican by 3.5%, outperforming the top of his ticket by more than 21 points.
For more information about Kori Crow and KC Strategies, please visit www.kcstrategies.com.
AAPC: To what do you credit your success at such a young age?
Kori: I believe the key to being successful in any field at a relatively young age is just to start even younger. My husband and I started KC Strategies when we were both in our mid-20’s. We had no idea what we were doing, but we were both full of piss and vinegar and ready to take on the world. We were told that we were too young and inexperienced (which we were) and that we needed to “pay our dues” and “bide our time” by working for the more established shops in Texas. There were a lot of stumbles, false starts and embarrassing moments in the beginning, but nearly all of those established shops are no more, we have hit our stride, and it only took us fifteen years to get here. What an overnight success!
AAPC: What advice would you give to a young professional who has their eye on being a future 40 Under 40 Award winner?
Kori: The best advice I can give anyone who wants to win awards is to forget about winning awards. They are just a by-product of doing good work. If you are an aspiring political consultant with little-to-no experience, then don’t try to be all things to all people. Instead, find yourself a niche market that is underserviced and then go about building a firm that is the go-to for people in that small corner of the political world. In my case, that niche market in the early 2000’s was helping Republican attorneys who were challenging sitting Republican judges in Texas GOP primaries. That’s a pretty obscure market by any measure, but it gave me the time and opportunity to develop a skill set without worrying about competitors lurking over my shoulder and trying to poach my clients every time I stumbled.
AAPC: What are you most looking forward to this year?
Kori: Travel. My husband and I have spent the better part of our off-seasons globetrotting since we got married and started our firm. We will typically spend 6-to-9 months every other year pursuing our non-political passions. Early on, we backpacked around the world one region at a time. Later, I attended culinary school in Buenos Aires and then worked in a Michelin-star kitchen in New York, and more recently we both became scuba diving instructors and did some freelance work around Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. I’m not sure where our next crazy adventure will lead us, but I do know that removing ourselves from the political world for extended periods is one of our keys to avoiding burnout and to being energized at the beginning of each new election cycle.