GOP strategist McGovern: Anger pushed us over the top

16 Nov

By Courtney Sturgeon

“Anger is what drove this election,” said John McGovern, Vice President of Resolute Consulting. “Anger at a lot of things.”

If anyone knows about what drives an election, it’s McGovern. He served as a senior advisor to former U.S. Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, for eight years. He also played a role as Hastert’s press secretary and campaign spokesperson.

More locally, McGovern led Mark Kirk to victory in his first campaign for U.S. Representative. He was also recently sought out to aide in clinching a win for Bob Dold in the last four weeks of his campaign for Congressman.

McGovern mastered the art of political communications, media relations and campaign strategy.

“It’s big enough to feel like you’re a part of something special; it’s small enough for you to feel important,” said McGovern of working on Congressional campaigns. “It’s got a grassroots feeling to it.”

McGovern, whose own roots are in Dold’s district where he grew up on the North Shore and graduated with a law degree from Northwestern University, attributed Dold’s victory to voter turnout. He was speaking at the DePaul University campus.

“I think the Republicans won all of the Congressional seats because of turnout,” said McGovern. “Republicans have to deliver because they were the beneficiaries of the Tea Party movement.”

The party movement’s political agenda, like it is to many people, is something McGovern admitted to not knowing much about. “I think the Tea Party has morphed into a group of people who are trying to have their own identity,” he said.

“The media is trying to press them into a category or party when they’re not either,” said McGovern. “They’re people who got mad at the government and wanted change.”

Change came Nov. 2 when the mid-term results painted a different political landscape across the country. Republicans in Illinois welcomed this change.

“I don’t know that all of those who voted were Republican,” said McGovern. “I think they were looking to the Republicans for change. If Republicans don’t deliver, voters will turn back, I’m sure.”

“The 2010 election was about the economy,” he added. “We have no idea what’s going to happen between now and 2012 that will determine the election. That’s two years away; a lot can happen in two years just like it has since Obama was elected.”

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