Ward Curtin, Local Campaign Manager of the Year for his work on Kendra Horn for Congress (OK-05), sat down with AAPC for an exclusive interview. Check it out below!
AAPC: What does being a 2019 AAPC Campaign Excellence Award winner mean to you?
Ward: It’s pretty humbling to be recognized by leaders in the industry from both parties.
AAPC: How did you get your start in politics/campaign industry?
Ward: In college I was sitting in a political science class I didn’t need and signed up for an internship on a campaign that I really didn’t need. I thought I was going to coach high school football and teach English. They ended up hiring me on the campaign, and I caught the bug.
AAPC: Who are your most significant mentors?
Ward: Liz Chadderdon, who actually introduced me at the awards ceremony, has always been someone I could ask for advice even if we weren’t on a campaign together. Kelly Gibson, with Hamburger Gibson Media, is someone that is always available to shoot down my bad ideas.
AAPC: What’s the most positive development in political campaigns since you started your career?
Ward: Digital fundraising and empowering small donors.
AAPC: Tell us about something you’re most proud of accomplishing in your professional career.
Ward: I’ve had somewhere over 200 interns or student fellows during my career, and I’ve always tried to go out of my way to give them training, networking opportunities or other experiences that was something more than just making phone calls and knocking doors. Working with young people and getting them plugged into organizing – for anything, be it political, campus, church, or their PTA – is one of the most rewarding things I’ve been able to do.
AAPC: What’s one piece of advice you have for consultants today?
Ward: Charge less money.
AAPC: Tell us a favorite campaign memory.
Ward: Sitting in our war room and having the opportunity to tell Kendra Horn, “Congresswoman, get in the car, you’ve got a victory party to go to” was an experience I’ll never forget. That moment was great because I’ve known her for over 20 years and she’s a true friend, but also, we’d just spent 16 months with just about everyone telling us it was impossible.
AAPC: What’s next for you this year?
Ward: The reelection campaign for the biggest congressional upset in the country is going to be even harder than the first one. So I’m all Kendra Horn for Congress, all the time.