Thanks for joining us portland_eric. Let's hit you with a gotcha question right out if the gate. You used to be a regular at RCT but seem to be more of a soccer fan now. If you could choose between KU winning a national championship or your soccer team winning a championship, who are you going with?
That is an absolutely brutal question. Since I saw the Timbers win their first title in 2015, after a 30 year drought, I think I have to go with Everton winning the Premier League over another Jayhawk title.
Where did you grow up? What did your folks do? What kind of a kid were you?
I grew up in Utica Nebraska, a town of 800 people about 45 minutes west of Lincoln. Both of my parents were teachers; therefore, I was a goody two shoes.
What made you choose KU?
I wanted to get out of town, and go to a big university, and KU was a 4 hour drive from my parents house: just far enough away to be independent, but just close enough that I could still go home for a weekend. And when I saw the campus for the first time, it felt like the idyllic college campus.
What did you go to school for? What did you do out of college?
Predictably, I majored in political science, but also studied the revolutions of Europe and Latin and South America.
After school, I moved to DC and got a job bartending and waiting tables about four blocks from the Capitol. One of my customers helped me get my first political job, at the DCCC.
How did you get into opposition research?
Amusingly, I got my start working on student Senate campaigns at KU. One year, there was confusion about what one of the presidential candidates was doing in the afternoons when he wasn't campaigning. I borrowed a friend's car and tailed him for a few days. I was always a voracious reader, so professionally, it was a natural fit.
What kind of things are you most interested in finding when researching a politician?
Ultimately, I'm looking for actions or beliefs voters won't approve of. But my reports are neutral assessments of all of the facts. There are a lot of similarities between opposition research and deep investigative reporting.
In the age of ultra partisanship and Donald Trump who seems to be almost immune to bad press, do you see oppo research diminishing at all?
Not at all. In many ways, Trump is an anomaly. Candidate still need detailed information about their own histories and their opponents'. And it is not just political candidate to want this type of information. Government agencies who are assessing possible contractors, companies looking for an edge on their competitors, and organizations making high profile hires all find the work I do useful.
What is the highest profile campaign you have worked on?
I worked for John Edwards' first presidential campaign, and for the DNC during the 2004 general election. As a consultant, four attorneys general, a western state governor, and a very high profile mayor are all clients.
How did you find RCT?
Google helped me find a place that was less toxic than the KUsports.com message boards.
Anything else we might not know about you or other things you would like to share.
My job looks nothing like the "opposition researcher" that you see on TV.
Age - 38
Height - 5'8"
Where do you live - Portland, Oregon
Facial hair - None currently
Any pets - Seven year old black lab named Guinness
What kind of car do you drive - Subaru outback
Corrective lenses - Reading glasses
Hair style - Trimmed and boring
Favorite movie - The Usual Suspects
Favorite tv show - Shameless or Tremé
Favorite beer or thing to drink - We are so spoiled with beer here, I can't name just one. I love Black Butte Porter. This spring, I've been drinking Pfriem's Mosaic Single Hop IPA and Ft. George's Overdub IPA.
Favorite band - Ryan Adams or Bad Religion
Favorite food - Tacos
Favorite non KU team - The Portland Timbers
All time favorite KU player - Kirk Heinrich
First concert - Nelson at the Nebraska State Fair
First w-2 job - Grocery store bag boy
Best athlete seen play live - Kaká
Favorite dinosaur when you were a kid - Triceratops
Is a hot dog a sandwich
Was Tyshawn right to dunk - 100%. The goal is to score points, not play keep away.