- Political consulting firm that seeks to help Democratic and leftist candidates win elections
Founded in 2007 by Steve Rosenthal, Mary Beth Cahill, and Michael Whouley, the Atlas Project (AP) describes itself as a private consulting firm “committed to the success of the progressive movement.” In an effort to help leftist political candidates win their respective elections, AP “conducts in-depth analysis of collected and preserved campaign-related information in key states” to enable its clients – mostly Democrats – to “make better informed data-driven decisions.” AP works in partnership with the National Committee for an Effective Congress (NCEC), which furnishes the Atlas staff with much of the information upon which its analyses and recommendations are based.
To plan a successful campaign for each of its clients, AP considers such variables as:
- the degree of cable and satellite TV penetration in the area where political advertising will be run
- what type of direct-mail pieces will most effectively influence voters in the targeted area
- the findings of public and internal polling on issues important to voters
- the demographics of the targeted population (race, ethnicity, age, occupation, income, level of education, political affiliations, etc.)
- how state and local elected officials, labor leaders, and political operatives might be able to help promote AP’s candidate
- how to register as many voters as possible prior to registration deadlines in the targeted area
- how to take advantage of absentee- and early-voting options, where applicable
Atlas Project clients include not only individual candidates for political office, but also some of the most prominent and powerful leftist organizations in the United States. Through their get-out-the-vote drives and fundraising campaigns on behalf of selected candidates, these groups exert a profound influence on the American political process. Among these AP clients are the American Association for Justice, AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, America Votes, the Democratic Governors Association, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, EMILY’s List, Fund for America, the Laborers International Union of North America, the National Education Association, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Other noteworthy organizations that have contributed money to AP in recent years are: America Coming Together, the John Kerry Presidential Campaign, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Project New West, the Sheet Metal Workers Union, The Media Fund, and Unity ’09.
AP founder Steve Rosenthal was formerly the Political Director of the AFL-CIO and a co-founder of America Coming Together. A co-founder of the Atlas Project, Michael Whouley, is a Democratic Party political consultant who specializes in get-out-the-vote operations. He is also President of the Dewey Square Group, a consulting firm that provides lobbying and campaign-strategy services for both political and corporate clients. In 1992 Whouley served as field director for Bill Clinton‘s presidential campaign. He went on to become a key strategist for Al Gore‘s and John Kerry’s presidential bids in 2000 and 2004, respectively. In 2007 Whouley worked for Senator Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign in Iowa, and in 2008 he ran Mrs. Clinton’s New Hampshire operation.
AP’s other co-founder, Mary Beth Cahill, formerly worked for EMILY’s List and was an Assistant to the President in the Bill Clinton administration. In 2004 she served as Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign director.
AP’s key staffers have extensive backgrounds in leftist politics and activism:
- Political coorinator Joe Figueiredo worked for the 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
- Research director Christina Heckart was a fact-checker for EMILY’s List during the 2006 election season, after which she took a job with the Ohio Democratic Party.
- Research director Andy Meyer was employed variously by the DNC, the American Association for Justice, and former congressman Rahm Emanuel.
- Chief of staff Ruthie Posekany worked for America Votes, Catalist, America Coming Together, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and Barack Obama‘s “Campaign for Change” in Wisconsin and Missouri.
- Executive director Melissa Roy worked for the Democratic Governors’ Association, Senator Hillary Clinton’s political action committee (Hillpac), and America Coming Together. She is currently a partner for The Organizing Group, a political consulting firm.
- Reagional lead Richard Santos worked on Bill Richardson‘s failed presidential campaign in 2008,helping to coordinate a national direct-mail program in conjunction with the AFL-CIO