Campaigns & Elections 2014 Rising Stars



C&E 2014 Rising Stars

Since 1988, Campaigns & Elections has recognized the up-and-comers of the campaign world with its coveted Rising Star award.

Over the years, Rising Star recipients have climbed to the heights of politics, launching dozens of successful consulting firms and guiding hundreds of successful state and federal campaigns.

This year, we’re proud to present 25 new Rising Stars. The class of 2014 will be recognized on June 16 at C&E’s annual Art of Political Campaigning Conference in Washington, D.C., and they’ll be joined by four members of our inaugural Rising Stars class: Stan Greenberg, Celinda Lake, Neil Newhouse and Craig Shirley.


Kirsten Borman, 28



Founder, KB Strategic Group

Sink or swim. Treading water. Take the plunge. It’s the kind of language Kirsten Borman uses while training her candidates on the ins and outs of campaign fundraising. It’s borrowed, though, from her earlier career as a competitive swimmer, lifeguard and children’s swim coach on Florida’s Space Coast, where she grew up.

“When I get cynical and jaded and sick of politics, that’s my fallback job,” she says with a laugh. Not that her fundraising business is about to dry up. Borman, who counts Karl Rove and Lee Atwater as her role models, has made a smooth graduation from Tallahassee to Washington. She sees fundraising as a backdoor into greater influence over campaigns, candidates and potentially even the national party. “I saw a lot of opportunity in fundraising to make a bigger difference and a bigger impact,” she says.

That’s already happening. Borman was fundraising director for Florida Rep. Dan Webster (R) when he unseated liberal firebrand Alan Grayson in 2010. The following year she launched her own Capitol Hill firm and subsequently traveled the country for the RNC as part of its “Ready to Run” program that coached female candidates on how to launch campaigns.

“My personality is naturally suited to it,” she says of being a fundraiser. “I’ve always been tenacious and extremely driven.” Just as she coached kids to take their first plunges into the deep end in Brevard County, Borman now finds herself getting candidates excited for call time and evening fundraisers. “It is about encouragement and recognizing someone’s strengths,” she says. “Personalization is really important in fundraising.”

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