Washington and Lee University’s Mock Convention is pleased to announce its Advisory Board for its 2012 Republican Convention. The Board includes heavy hitters from the worlds of politics and journalism, all of whom should help to ensure another successful convention. W&L’s Mock Convention is a quadrennial tradition in which students choose, through on-the-ground research, the presidential nominee of the non-incumbent party. With over 95% student involvement, the Convention is one of the nation’s largest and most widely followed student organizations. With only two incorrect predictions since 1948, and an overall accuracy rate of over 75%, Mock Convention is considered “the most realistic” exercise of its kind, according to Newsweek magazine. This impressive list of advisors should ensure that in 2012 W&L reaffirms its place as “the biggest and boomingest” of student political organizations (TIME Magazine).
Mike Allen, a W&L alum, currently serves as the Chief Political Correspondent for POLITICO, one of the nation’s leading political news sites. Allen has enjoyed a long career in journalism and has covered elections, campaign finance, and Capitol Hill for The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. As an undergraduate at W&L, Allen served as the Southern Regional Chair in the 1984 Mock Convention.
Michael Baudinet is the former Executive Assistant to Director Larry Sabato of the Center for Politics at UVA, with special contributions to his Crystal Ball, a well-known political newsletter known for its incredibly accurate election predictions.
Christopher B. Burnham, an alumnus from the Class of 1980, served as the Under Secretary General of the United Nations for Management, charged with overhauling transparency and accountability. When he was appointed in June of 2005, he was the senior-most American in the UN Secretariat. Within a year of his appointment, he wrote the first consolidated annual report for the UN and created an Ethics Office and International Public Sector Accounting Standards. Prior to his appointment at the UN, Burnham served as Acting Under Secretary of State for Management under Condoleezza Rice and Assistant Secretary of State for Resource Management under Colin Powel. He has also served as the Treasurer of Connecticut.
Shelley Moore Capito is the Congressional Representative to West Virginia’s second district. She is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit on the House Financial Services Committee and serves as a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
William Connelly, PhD, is the John K. Boardman Professor of politics at Washington & Lee University, where heads the Washington Term program. He is the author of the newly released James Madison rules America, in addition to many other published articles and essays. Before becoming a professor, Connelly spent many years on the Hill, serving as a legislative assistant for Dick Cheney and Sen. Dick Lugar.
Rhodes Cook is one of today’s leading political analysts. He runs a successful website, rhodescook.com, serves as a free-lance contributor for the Washington Post, and has authored several books on the election process. He previously served as senior writer for Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report and makes frequent appearances on ABC News and CSPAN.
Fred Cooper, a Washington and Lee alumnus, is the Chief Executive Officer for Cooper Capital, LLC. He headed the host committee for the 2003 G8 Summit under President Bush and is a former head of the Georgia GOP. Cooper has previously served as an executive for Flower Industries and is a board member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Washington & Lee’s Williams School of Commerce.
Johnny DeStefano currently works as a Senior Advisor in the Speaker’s office, having worked with current Speaker John Boehner since 2007 as his Political Advisor. He has also served as Deputy Executive Director of the NRCC and has worked on numerous Republican campaigns.
Beau Dudley, a Washington and Lee alum, is the Executive Director of Alumni Affairs at the University. Prior to his return to his alma mater, Dudley was a partner in the Richmond, Virginia office of McGuire Woods, LLP.
Bob Goodlatte is currently serving his tenth term in Congress as the Representative from the sixth district in Virginia, representing the City of Lexington. He is Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet and Vice Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, in addition to other appointments. Before taking office, Goodlatte was a partner at the firm of Bird, Kinder, and Huffman in Roanoke, Virginia after earning his JD from Washington & Lee.
Hardin Marion, both an alum of the University and the School of Law, is a partner with Tydings and Rosenberg, LLP, in Baltimore, MD. He is a former member of the school’s Board of Trustees and served as its President from 1990-1991.
Jonathan Martin is a senior writer at POLITICO, one of the nation’s most influential political news websites.
John McManus is the President and founder of the McManus Group, a Washington-based health care consulting firm. He has previously served as the Staff Director of the Ways and Means Health subcommittee, where he crafted the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. Mr. McManus is a graduate of Washington & Lee University.
Roger Mudd has had an impressive impact on American broadcast journalism over the last fifty years. He has anchored CBS’s Evening News, NBC’s Nightly News, NBC’s Meet the Press, and most recently was the primary anchor for the History Channel. The winner of five Emmy Awards, Mudd is best known for his forceful interview of Ted Kennedy shortly before the senator announced his bid for the presidency in 1979. A W&L alum, Mudd recently endowed the school with a gift of $4 million to establish a center for the study of ethics.
David Rexrode is the Executive Director of the Virginia Republican Party. He previously served as the deputy campaign manager to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s campaign.
Robin Roberts is the Co-founder and President of National Media, Inc., one of the nation’s leading public relations and media advocacy firms. He is also the recipient of the American Association of Political Consultant’s award for “best development of new technology” with the creation of Polaris, a tool media firms use to track commercial audiences in the Top 100 TV Markets.
Larry Sabato is one of the nation’s leading political analysts and one of the most accurate predictors of both Congressional and Presidential elections. He is the founder and lead author of the Crystal Ball Project, a newsletter and website famous throughout political spheres. He has also authored more than twenty-four books. A Rhodes scholar, Sabato is a professor at the University of Virginia and is the Director of UVA’s Center for Politics.
Marc Short is currently the Chief-of-Staff for the House Republican Conference. Before joining the HRC, he served as Chief-of-Staff for both Mike Pence and Kay Hagan.
Mark Strand is the President of the Congressional Institute, a non-profit organization designed to educate members of Congress on how to communicate more effectively with their constituents. Previously, Strand worked on Capitol Hill for more than twenty-four years as Chief-of-Staff for many U.S. Representatives and Senators, and several Congressional committees. He used this wealth of experience to co-author Surviving Inside Congress, a how-to for aspiring Hill staffers.
Michael Toner is currently a partner at Bryan Cave, LLP where he serves as head of the firm’s Election Law and Government Ethics practice. He is a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, and has served as in-house counsel for the RNC and Bush-Cheney transition committee. Toner has also co-authored many books and articles on finance and has appeared as a commentator on FOX News, ABC News, CBS Evening News, Bloomberg News, CSPAN, and NPR.