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IE Director Is ‘Clear-Eyed and Cold-Blooded’

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
With a background in field, mail and management, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Independent Expenditure Director Travis Lowe has earned the trust of the organization’s chairman, Rep. Steve Israel, and Democratic strategists.

But before Lowe joined the DCCC in 2009, he moved to Indiana to manage former Rep. Jill Long Thompson’s gubernatorial race. He guided the former Congresswoman to a 2-point victory in a very competitive primary and then lost by 18 points to incumbent GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels (R). Lowe got married 11 days after that primary, and his wife fared better in the general election as Barack Obama’s Indiana state director.

The couple subsequently landed in Washington, D.C., and Lowe was Midwest regional political director at the DCCC for the 2010 cycle. This cycle, he’s been campaign services director, but Lowe will cross the street to the Fairchild Building to run the IE.

“With Travis, it’s not just what he knows, but who he knows,” Thompson told Roll Call in a phone interview.

With a background in field, mail and management, Lowe has earned the trust of Israel and Democratic strategists.

“He steadily gains the respect of the political people in D.C. because he knows his stuff and he’s easy to work with,” Burton explained.

Lowe won’t be cutting television ads or designing direct-mail pieces, but instead will be organizing teams of consultants in dozens of races across the country.

“He’s got the leadership to direct a team and not be led by a team,” said Vogel, who ran the IE in 2008.

Democrats also believe that Lowe has the right mentality for the job. Thompson described him as “intense.” Israel called him a “political pit bull.” And even those closer to Lowe say he can be gruff.

“Despite his no-nonsense nature, people are very loyal to him and respect him,” explained Luke Quandt, who first met Lowe more than a decade ago in Iowa, was in his wedding and is now campaign manager for Pam Gulleson’s (D) House bid in North Dakota. The two friends still carve out time to go to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan concerts.

But at a time when Democrats must net 25 seats to win the majority, some incumbents and candidates might need to be abandoned in favor of better opportunities. Lowe doesn’t mind the challenge.

“We’re clear-eyed and cold-blooded,” he said. “There is too much at stake.”

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