Candidates: Obama Alumni Running for Office or Holding Office

It is thrilling to see so many from this community seek to contribute by running for office, just as Barack Obama did more than 20 years ago.

Recognizing that we share a set of values and experiences but not necessarily the exact same views, the Alumni Association sees our role as spreading awareness of candidates, not endorsing them. We commit to not presuming to speak for the entire alumni community by making endorsements of candidates. We present the candidates here below so that you can learn more about their platforms, alumni connection, and the communities they represent.

The Obama Alumni Association is excited to  share information about those of us who are running for office! Visit our resources page to submit your information or learn more.

Click one of the headers below to jump to a category of candidates. Within each category, candidates are listed by state and then alphabetically by surname.

 
 

Candidates for U.S. Congress

CA | FL | IL | KS | MA | MIMN | MO | NH | NJ | NM | OH | TX | WV

California

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Ammar Campa-Najjar

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, CA-50

Support and Learn More: campacampaign.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience:

  • Field Director, California, Organizing for America (2012)

  • White House Intern (2013)

  • Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of Labor (2016)

 

Florida

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Lauren bAER

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, fl-18

Support and learn more: laurenbaerforcongress.com

Election Date: November 8, 2018 (general)

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Member of the U.S. Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff (2011-2016)

  • Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (2016)

 

Illinois

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Lauren UnderWOOD

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, il-14

Support and learn more: underwoodforcongress.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2016-2017)

  • Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2014-2016)

 

Michigan

Elissa Slotkin

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, MI-8

Support and learn more: elissaforcongress.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs & various other roles, U.S. Department of Defense (2012-2017)

 
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Haley Stevens

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, MI-11

Support and learn more: haleystevensforcongress.com

Election Date: Nov. 6, 2018 (general)

Alumni Experience:

  • Briefing Director to Vice Presidential Nominee Biden, Chicago, IL, Obama for America (2008)

  • Senate Confirmations and Cabinet Designees, Obama Transition Team (2008-2009)

  • Chief of Staff, U.S. Auto Rescue Taskforce, U.S. Department of the Treasury (2009-2011)

  • Advisor, U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce (2011-2012)

 

Rashida Tlaib

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, MI-13

Support and learn more: rashidaforcongress.com
Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

Alumni Experience:

  • Muslim and Arab Community Outreach Coordinator, Michigan, Obama for America Campaign (2008)

 

Minnesota

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Dan Feehan

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, mn-01

Support and learn more: danfeehan.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience:

  • White House Fellow, U.S. Department of Defense (2013-2014)

  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness), U.S. Department of Defense (2014-2015)

  • Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness), U.S. Department of Defense (2015-2017)

 

New Jersey

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Andy kim

Running for U.S. House of representatives, nj-03

Support and learn more: andykimforcongress.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience

  • Director for Iraq, White House National Security Council (2013-2015)

  • Iraq Country Director, Office of the Secretary of Defense - Policy (2013)

  • Strategic Adviser to Commanding Generals David Petraeus and John Allen, Afghanistan, Department of Defense (2011)

  • Iraq Foreign Affairs Officer, Department of State (2009-2011)

 
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Tom Malinowski

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, NJ-07

Learn moremalinowskifornj.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience: 

  • Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (2014-2017)

 

New Mexico

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Debra Haaland

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, NM-01

Support and learn moredebforcongress.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Native American Vote Director, New Mexico, Obama for America (2012)

 

Ohio

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Jill Schiller

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, OH-02

Learn more: voteschiller.com

General Election Date: November 6, 2018 

Her Alumni Experience: 

  • Special Assistant, Office of Management and Budget (2009)

  • Special Projects Manager, President's Management Advisory Board (2010)

 

Texas

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Colin Allred

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, TX-32

Support and learn more: colinallred.com

General Election Date: November 6, 2018

His Alumni Experience:

  • Special Assistant to the General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development (2016-2017)

 
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ADRIENNE BELL

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, TX-14

Support and learn more: Bell2018.com

General Election Date: November 6, 2018 

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Obama Campaign, Field Organizer, Houston, Texas (2012)

 

West Virginia

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Talley Sergent

Running for U.S. House of Representatives, Wv-02

Support and learn more: talleysergent.com

General Election Date: November 6, 2018

Her Alumni Experience: 

  • Director of Strategic Initiatives, U.S. Department of State (2009-2013)

  • Advance Associate, Executive Office of the President (2009-2013)

 

Candidates for State Government

Arizona

January Contreras

Running for Attorney General of Arizona

Support and learn more: https://www.januaryforaz.com    

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Senior Advisor to Secretary Napolitano, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2009)

 
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California  

Eleni Kounalakis

Running for California Lieutenant Governor

Support and learn more: eleni@eleniforca.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)      

Her Alumni Experience:

  • U.S. Ambassador to Hungary (2010-2013)

  • Member, National Finance Council (2008)

 
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Buffy Wicks

Running for CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 15 (eAST bAY)

Support and learn more: buffywicks.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

Her Alumni Experience:

  • State Director, Obama for America (2007-2008)

  • Deputy Director, White House Office of Public Engagement (2009-2010)

  • National Director of Operation Vote, Obama for America (2011-2012)

 
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Colorado

Rochelle Galindo

Running for colorado STATE House, district 50

Support and learn more: www.galindoforcolorado.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

Her Alumni Experience:

  • 2012 Obama Campaign, Field Organizer, Weld County, Colorado

 

 
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Jena Griswold

Running for Colorado Secretary of State

Support and learn more: www.jenaforcolorado.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Deputy Voter Protection Director in Colorado, Obama for America Campaign (2012)

 

Dylan Roberts

Running for Colorado State House, District 26

Support and learn more: www.dylanroberts.org

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience:

  • Field Organizer, Colorado, OFA (2008)

  • Deputy Field Director, Colorado, OFA (2012)

 

Phil Weiser

Running for Attorney General of Colorado

Support and learn more: www.philforcolorado.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience:

  • Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, Department of Justice (2009-2010)

  • Senior Advisor, Technology & Innovation, White House (2010-2011)

 

Guam

Joshua Tenorio

Running for Lieutenant Governor of Guam

Learn more: louandjosh2018.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience:

  • Guam Campaign Director, Guam, Obama for America (2008)

 

iOWA

Deidre dejear

Running for iowa secretary of state

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Support and learn more: secure.actblue.com/donate/dejear

Election Date: November 6, 2018.

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Volunteer, Drake University, Iowa (2008)

  • Director, African American Outreach, Iowa (2012)

 
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Tim Gannon

Running for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture

Learn more: gannonforiowa.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience: 

  • Deputy Political Director, Des Moines, Iowa Campaign for Change (2008)

  • Special Assistant to the Administrator, Rural Business & Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2009-2010)

  • Director of Advance, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2010-2015)

  • Associate Administrator, Risk Management Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2015-2017)

 
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Massachusetts

Quentin Palfrey

Running for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts

Support and learn more: www.quentinpalfrey.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

Alumni Experience:

  • Voter Protection Director, Ohio, Obama Campaign (2008)

  • Deputy General Counsel for Strategic Initiatives, U.S. Department of Commerce (2009-2011)

  • Senior Advisor for Jobs & Competitiveness, The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (2011-2013)

 

Massachusetts

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Julian Cyr

Running for Re-Election to Massachusetts State Senate Cape and Island District

Learn more: juliancyr.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018

His Alumni Experience:

  • Intern, White House Council on Environmental Quality, Office of the President (2009)

  • Regional Field Organizer, Obama for America Massachusetts (2012)

 

Michigan

Samuel Bagenstos

Running for supreme court of michigan

Support and learn more: bagenstosforjustice.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience:

  • Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Justice (2009-2011

 
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North Carolina

Wiley Nickel

Running for North Carolina State Senate, District 16


Support and learn more: wileynickelfornc.com

General Election Date: November 6, 2018

His Alumni Experience: 

  • National Advance Staff, Obama for America (2008)

  • Event Manager (Southern Ball & Staff Party), Presidential Inaugural Committee (2008-2009)

  • National Advance Staff, The White House (2009-2010)

  • Advance/Events Consultant, Democratic National Committee (2010-2011)

  • National Advance Staff, The White House (2011-2012)

 

Ohio

Rich Cordray & Betty Sutton

Running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Ohio (Joint Ticket)

Learn morecordrayforohio.com

General Election Date: November 6, 2018 

His Alumni Experience:

  • Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2012-2017)

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Administrator, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (2013-2017)

 
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STEVE DETTELBACH

RUNNING FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OHIO

Support and learn more: steveforohio.com

General Election Date: November 6, 2018

His Alumni Experience: 

  • US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio (2009-2016)

 
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Taylor Sappington

Running for Ohio State House, 94th District

Support and learn more: sappingtonforohio.com

General Election Date: November 6, 2018 

His Alumni Experience:

  • Field Organizer, Stark County, OH (2012)

 

michigan

jordan acker 

Running for university of michigan board of regents

Support and learn more: mgoacker.com

Election Date: November. 6, 2018

His Alumni Experience:

  • Presidential Personnel Office, the White House (2010-11)

  • Department of Homeland Security (2011-2013)

 

Candidates for Local and Municipal Office

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arkansas

Tony Washington

Running for Tax Collector of Jefferson County, Arkansas     

Learn more: tonywashington.net

General Election Date: November 6, 2018
 
His Alumni Experience: 

  • 2008 Political Director Arkansas, Obama for America Campaign    

 

california

Giselle hale

Running for city council in redwood city

Learn moregisellehale.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Regional Field Director, California (2008)

 
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Matt Haney

Running for San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 6

Learn more: matthaney.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018

His Alumni Experience:

  • Director, Stanford Students for Obama (2008)

  • Field Organizer, Obama for America Texas (2008)

  • Youth Vote Director, Obama for America New Mexico (2008)

 

illinois

michael negron

Running for 47th ward alderman, chicago

Learn Morenegronfor47.com

Election Date: February 26, 2019

His Alumni Experience: 

  • New Media Blogger in New Hampshire, Obama for America Campaign (2008)

  • Southwest New Media Desk in Chicago, Obama for America Campaign (2008)

 

Iowa

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Yeshimebet Abebe

Running for Supervisor of Black Hawk County, Iowa

Learn More: voteabebe.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018

Her Alumni Experience: 

  • Volunteer & Precinct Captain, Obama for America, Waterloo, Iowa (2007-2008)

  • Field Organizer, Obama for America, Gary, Indiana (2008)

  • Appointee, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2009-2017)

  • African-American Outreach and Voter Protection, Organizing for America, Iowa (2012)

 
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KENTUCKY

Christian Motley

Running for Lexington Urban County Council, District 8

Learn morechristianmotley.com

General Election Date: November 6, 2018 

His Alumni Experience: 

  • Pennsylvania Regional Field Director, Obama for America (2012)

  • Assistant to Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton, U.S. Department of Education (2013)

 

Maryland

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Andrew Friedson

RUNNING FOR COUNTY COUNCIL OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD, District 1

Support and learn more: andrewfriedson.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience:

  • Field Organizer, Obama for America, Pennsylvania Region 9 (2008)

  • Member, Jewish Community Leadership Council (2012)

 
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Will Jawando

Running for County Council of Montgomery County, MD, At-Large

Learn morewilljawando.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018

His Alumni Experience:

  • Legislative Aide to Senator Barack Obama (2005-2007)

  • Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement (2009-2011)

  • Special Assistant to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education (2011-2012)

 

Hans Riemer

Running for re-election to County Council of Montgomery County, MD, At-Large

Support and learn more: hansriemer.com

Election Date: November 6, 2018 (general)

His Alumni Experience:

  • National Youth Vote Director, Chicago (2007)

 

Recently Elected or In Office

Elected officials in this section are listed alphabetically by surname.

Assemblyman Michael Blake: NY

New York State Assembly, District 79

Learn more: NY State Assembly Member Page

In office since: 2015

His Alumni Experience:

  • Deputy Political Director, Iowa, Obama for America (2008)

  • Director of National Labor Outreach, Presidential Inaugural Committee (2009)

  • Associate Director of Public Engagement & Deputy Associate Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (2009-2012)

  • National Deputy Director of Operation Vote, Obama for America (2012)

  • Senior Advisor for the Office of Public Engagement, Presidential Inaugural Committee (2013)

 
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Ryan Covert: MI

City CouncilMembeR, New Baltimore, Michigan

Learn more

In office since: November 7, 2017

His Alumni Experience:

  • 2012 Campaign Field Organizer in MI

 
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Jenny Durkan: WA

Mayor of Seattle, Washington

Support and learn more: 

In office since: November 28, 2017

Her Alumni Experience:

  • U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington (2009-2014)

 
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Kelly Gonez: CA

Los Angeles Unified School District Board, District 6

Learn morehttp://www.kellygonez.com/

In office since: 2017

Her Alumni Experience:

  • Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Education (2014-2016)

  • Communications and Field Organizer, Nevada, Obama for America (2012)

  • White House Intern, Speechwriting (2011)

 
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Christopher Flanagan: MA

Selectman for the town of Dennis, Massachusetts

Learn morewww.christopherflanagan.org

Elected on: May 15, 2018

His Alumni Experience:

  • Special Assistant to Secretary John Kerry, U.S. Department of State (2013-2017)

 

Ro Khanna: CA

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U.S. House of Representatives, CA-17

Learn morehttps://khanna.house.gov/

In office since: 2017

His Alumni Experience:

  • Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce (2009-2011)

 
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Zach Klein: OH

City Attorney of Columbus, OH

Support and learn morehttp://zachklein.us/

In office since: January 1, 2018

His Alumni Experience:

  • Deputy Director of Management and Administration, Office of the Vice President (2009)

 
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Carrianna Suiter Kuruvilla: MD

Hyattsville, MD City council, Ward 3

Learn morewww.votecarrianna.com

In office since: 2017

Her Alumni Experience:

  • 2007 Iowa caucus staff, 2008 primary/caucus staff (MN, OH, WY, NC), 2008 general election staff (OH & PA)

  • White House Associate - Intergovernmental Affairs (2009)

  • Obama Appointee at the U.S. Department of Labor, most recently as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs (2009-2017)

 

Eric P. Lesser: MA

Massachusetts State Senate, First Hampden & Hampshire

Learn more: senatorlesser.com

In office since: 2015

His Alumni Experience:

  • Ground Logistics Advisor, Obama for America (2008)

  • Special Assistant to Senior Adviser David Axelrod, The White House

  • Director of Strategic Planning, Council of Economic Advisers, The White House

 
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Alfonso Lopez: VA

Re-Elected to Virginia House of Delegates, District 49

Learn more: alfonsolopez.org

Re-Election Date: November 7, 2017; will remain in office in 2018 session

His Alumni Experience:

  • Assistant Administrator, Office of Congressional & Legislative Affairs, U.S. Small Business Administration (2010-2011)

  • White House Liaison, U.S. General Services Administration (2011)

 
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Nick Melvoin: CA

Los Angeles SChool Board, District 4

Learn more

In office since: 2017

His Alumni Experience:

  • Legal Protection Team Member, Columbus, OH (2012)

  • White House Intern, Domestic Policy Council (2013)

 
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Melanie Muenzer: OR

Lane Community College Board Member, Zone 1 

Learn more: muenzerforlccboard.com

In office since: May 2017

Her  Alumni Experience:

  • Deputy States Director, Obama for America (2008)

  • Personnel Liaison, Obama-Biden Transition Team (2008-2009)

  • White House Liaison, U.S. Department of Education (2009-2010)

  • Chief of Staff for Policy, U.S. Department of Education (2010-2013)

  • Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Policy, U.S. Department of Education (2013-2015)

 

Mike Pipe: PA 

County Commissioner, Centre County, PA

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Learn more: https://www.mikepipe.com/

In office since: 2012 (Elected Chair of Board of Commissioners in 2015) 

His Alumni Experience:

  • Co-Director of New Media in NV, Obama for America (2007)

  • New Media in SC, IL and OH, Obama for America (2008)

  • Field Organizer, PA and NC, Obama for America (2008)

  • Regional GOTV Director in SD, Obama for America (2008)

  • Deputy Regional Field Director in MI, Michigan Campaign for Change (2008)

 
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Beau Wright: VA

City Council of Lynchburg, AT-Large

Learn more: www.wrightforlynchburg.com

Elected on: May 1, 2018

His Alumni Experience:

  • White House Intern, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (2011)

  • White House Advance Associate, Office of the Vice President (2012)

  • Staff Assistant, White House Operations (2012)

  • Staff Assistant, Office of the White House Counsel (2013)

  • Associate Director for Finance, White House Operations (2014)

  • Senior Deputy Director of White House Operations and Director for Finance, White House Operations (2015)