Terry Nelson

Senior Adviser, Freedom First PAC

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Why He Matters

Described by an adviser to 2008 presidential candidate John McCain (R-Ariz.) as the "best bricklayer in the business" for his "ability to build a massive grassroots political organization," Nelson is one of those veteran GOP political operatives that everyone covets.

An Iowa native, Nelson started as campaign manager for GOP revolutionary Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa), who won election to the House in 1994. He soon landed in Washington running the national GOP political operation during the 2000 cycle and then as deputy chief of staff and director of political operations for the Republican National Committee during the 2002 cycle.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Consultant, National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (2010 and 2012 cycles); Senior Adviser, McCain Straight Talk America PAC (December 2006-July 2007); National Political Director, Bush - Cheney 2004 (May 2003-2004); Partner, Dawson McCarthy Nelson and Crosslinks Strategy Group (as of May 2006, Mercury Public Affairs); Deputy chief of staff and director of political operations, Republican National Committee (January 2002-May 2003); Political director, National Republican Congressional Committee (2000 cycle); Majority staff director, Iowa state Senate caucus; Campaign manager, Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) (1994)
  • Hometown: Marshalltown, Iowa
  • Alma Mater: University of Iowa, B.S. (political science), 1994.