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DCCC Turns to Mook’s Ground Game for Fall

After staying with the Dean campaign “until the bitter end,” as Mook put it, he signed on with the Democratic National Committee and was get-out-the-vote director for the Wisconsin coordinated campaign. Kerry narrowly won the state but lost the election.

Mook’s résumé is dotted with wins and losses, but he’s unfazed by it. “I think you learn more when you lose,” Mook said. “I’m glad I’ve had both.”

In 2005, Mook managed Democrat Dave Marsden’s win for state delegate in Virginia, taking over a Republican open seat, and in 2006 he ran the Democrats’ coordinated campaign in Maryland when Martin O’Malley (D) knocked off Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) and Benjamin Cardin (D) defeated Michael Steele (R) for the open Senate seat.

In 2007, Mook returned to presidential politics, this time for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He started as Clinton’s state director in Nevada, which rose in prominence after the Senator’s loss in Iowa and re-emergence in New Hampshire. Clinton won Nevada’s popular vote, though Barack Obama won more delegates.

Mook shifted to Ohio for Clinton, then to Indiana. After the pressure cooker of the Clinton campaign, Mook landed in New Hampshire, in the middle of one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.

Mook first volunteered for Jeanne Shaheen in 1996 when she first ran for governor and he was still in high school, but in 2008 he managed her race and led her to victory over incumbent Sen. John Sununu (R).

“I know from the outstanding job he did running my campaign that his energy and positive attitude are limitless. He is undaunted by challenges, and his political skills are unparalleled,” Shaheen said.

She isn’t the only one impressed by Mook.

“I’ve seen Robby in action in a lot of races. Clearly he’s the right man for the job,” DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen said. “He shares my view that we have to draw a sharp contrast on the issues that matter to voters.”

The Maryland Congressman hired Mook last year to be the DCCC’s political director, but after he “proved himself superbly in the specials,” Van Hollen entrusted him with the IE for the rest of the cycle. Mook directed the independent expenditures for special election victories in Pennsylvania’s 12th and New York’s 23rd, where a strong third-party candidate, Doug Hoffman, emerged to complicate the race.

Mook’s “ability to quickly change and go after Hoffman, to quickly retool, showed strong political instincts,” said Jon Vogel, the DCCC’s executive director who also ran the committee’s IE in 2008.

Vogel compared Mook’s job to running a factory, moving lots of product very quickly through a system. In this case, the product is polls, television ads and direct-mail pieces. “It’s a nerve-racking job,” Vogel said from experience. “Every strategic decision has a risk.”

“I try to stay out of the Beltway process bubble because what actually matters is the direction of the country, and that’s determined by who is in the majority,” Mook explained.

After working side-by-side with Vogel at the DCCC for more than a year, Mook is sequestered across South Capitol Street to the Fairchild Building and prohibited from strategizing with committee staff on dozens of campaigns.

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