“I’d never held the national committees in high opinion,” Cox admitted, but after witnessing the critical role the RGA played in the Virginia race, his view started to change.
Cox learned about the inner workings of the committee last year as a political consultant to the RGA, working on races in Florida and Pennsylvania, among others.
Cox has the advantage of seeing the RGA work from the inside and outside, but as executive director, he’ll have to couple political savvy with strong fundraising.
The GOP operative gained some fundraising experience working in development for the Mercatus Center and Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, but the RGA is another league. The committee spent more than $100 million on races last year alone.
At least he has his résumé to fall back on.
“Every donor in the country knew about Virginia in 2009 and that gives him a calling card to every donor in the country,” said media consultant Brad Todd, who worked with the RGA in that race.
Republican governors and strategists agree that Cox has the right experience and temperament to guide the committee forward.
Harris highlighted Cox’s ability to resolve delicate issues within the campaign in a diplomatic and balanced way.
“We had very strong personalities. ... Phil somehow found a way to resolve the tension and keep everyone focused on my election,” Harris said.
After Cox helped Harris get elected, he took a job on his legislative staff. When re-election time came around, Harris put Cox in charge, but it was unclear what specific role he would play.
“He told me he didn’t need a title,” Harris recalled fondly. “He didn’t have a title and didn’t need one,” even though, “everything went through Phil.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.