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Garry South has been called the "Carville of California" by The New York Times and "one of the top political strategists in the Democratic Party" by DailyKos.net, the most-visited liberal-leaning blog. Newsweek described him as "a one-man brain trust on the battlements of Fort California" with "a knack for foiling [White House advisor Karl] Rove's plans." The National Journal finds him "shrewd and widely feared."
In 1998, South masterminded the come-from-behind, landslide victory of Gray Davis, the first Democratic Governor of California elected in 20 years — and only the fourth in the entire 20th century. For his achievement, he was named by the American Association of Political Consultants as "Campaign Manager of the Year," an honor he shares with Rove, James Carville and the late Lee Atwater. In 2002, he directed Davis's reelection effort, helping Davis become only the third Democratic governor of the state since 1854 to win a second term.
South was Senior Advisor to the Westly for Governor primary campaign, and in 2003-04 served as Senior Advisor to the Joe Lieberman for President campaign. He was a chief strategist on several initiatives on the November 2004 ballot, including the campaigns against Propositions 67 and 68. Both measures lost badly - 68 by one of the biggest margins in California history, 16-84. In 2000, he was a key advisor to Al Gore's California presidential campaign, which carried the state by 12% and 1.3 million votes. That same year, South was lead strategist for the successful statewide school-bond measure, Prop. 39. A specialist in political radio, South has won numerous national awards for his radio spots and has written and lectured widely about the subject.
A regular contributor of opinion pieces to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee and Capitol Weekly, South has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, San Diego Union-Tribune, Contra Costa Times, the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Chinese Daily News, and the Melbourne (Aus.) Herald Sun. He is a member of the Council on American Politics of George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management.
In 1994, South managed Davis's successful race for Lieutenant Governor and was Chief of Staff to Lt. Gov. Davis. Prior to moving to California in 1991, he served as Communications Director for Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste and as Vice President for Political Communications for the National Association of Realtors in Washington, DC, where he designed and executed the group's independent expenditure campaigns in U.S. Senate and congressional races across the country.
He was Special Assistant to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Bob Bergland in the Carter Administration in the late `70s, and served as Midwest Regional Finance Director of the Democratic National Committee prior to that. In his home state of Montana, South was Public Information Director of the Legislature and also was elected student body president at his alma mater, the University of Montana.
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