Known for her expertise in the strategy and structure of California's political campaigns, Gale Kaufman has led some of the state’s most significant and successful issue-based initiative campaigns. Since 1998, there hasn’t been an electoral cycle with ballot propositions that Kaufman wasn’t involved in.
While widely recognized for her leadership on over a hundred California State Senate and Assembly campaigns over the years, as well as her strong background in working with labor and business groups running winning independent expenditure campaigns, she has gained even more notoriety for her many decisive victories on prominent statewide ballot initiative campaigns. That is one of the reasons she consistently appears near the top of Capitol Weekly’s annual Top 100 list, why Campaigns & Elections magazine named her one of the nation’s most influential political figures in 2012, and why she is one of only three women inducted into the American Association of Political Consultants Hall of Fame.
Most recently, Kaufman led the successful campaigns for two prominent 2016 ballot measures, Propositions 55 and 64. Proposition 55, which extended income tax rates on the wealthiest Californians, won with over 60% of the vote. Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana, attracted the broadest coalition and received the highest vote share of any of the eight states to pass a legalization measure to date.
In the 2014 General Election, Kaufman led the winning team for the "No on Proposition 46" campaign, assembling an unprecedented bipartisan coalition of over four hundred organizations across the political spectrum and delivering a precisely crafted message across all available media platforms. Early polling by Prop 46’s proponents showed the measure receiving over 70% support, yet Kaufman and her team defeated it by more than two to one.
In the 2012 General Election, Kaufman led a coalition of labor, business and good government organizations to defeat Proposition 32, which aimed to restrict union dues collection. “In perhaps their most important victory, unions defeated a California ballot measure that would have prohibited them from collecting money for political purposes through payroll deductions.” (Unions Show Muscle, Spent Millions in State Race, Associated Press, 11/19/2012). Kaufman was also instrumental in getting Proposition 30 on the November 2012 ballot, which has helped the state restore cuts to K-14 public schools.
One of Kaufman’s most notable triumphs was in the 2005 statewide special election. She was the lead consultant for the Alliance for a Better California’s successful fight against a series of ballot initiatives, proposed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which aimed to take away workers’ rights, threatened teacher tenure, and cut funding from public schools. Schwarzenegger had a total of four deceptive measures on the ballot, and with the help of the coalition led by Kaufman, all four were defeated.
Kaufman has served as a political consultant to the California Teachers Association for twenty years. She lives in Sacramento with her husband, Steve Murakami.
Hailing from San Francisco and now based in Sacramento, Jordan Curley has worked at all levels in campaigns across California since 2004. Jordan brings her extensive work in political campaigns, policy development and community organizing to her role at Kaufman Campaign Consultants. In her work as a consultant at KCC, Jordan is directly involved with the strategic planning, field operations, community organizing, message management, media production and external communications for clients.
Jordan has served as campaign manager, spokesperson and field director to a variety of local and state candidate campaigns, as well as local and statewide ballot initiatives focused on education, the environment, public power, transportation, public safety, working families, and economic development. Prior to joining KCC, Jordan worked closely with the firm as a consultant on the "No on Proposition 32" campaign. In her time at KCC, Jordan has played a significant role in various candidate campaigns as well as the statewide campaigns to legalize marijuana (Proposition 64) and the campaign to bring billions of dollars to public education, higher ed and health care for disadvantaged youth (Proposition 55).
In addition to her work in campaigns, Jordan served as a Senior Policy Advisor as well as a Chief of Staff within the California State Legislature. In those roles, Jordan worked with an exhaustive list of stakeholders to assist in drafting and ushering through landmark legislation focusing on election issues, health, environment, women’s issues, labor, equality, and business issues, as well as local government.
When she's not busy focusing on helping her clients advance their goals, it's likely you'll find Jordan cheering-on her beloved San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors, or planning for her next international adventure.
Dagny Starn joined Kaufman Campaigns in 2005, as office manager and executive assistant to Gale Kaufman. Starn provides key support related to accounting, billing, and office operations for Kaufman Campaigns. In addition, she has provided her extensive experience in project management for various candidate and initiative campaigns over the years.
Prior to joining KCC, Starn worked in the State Capitol in Sacramento for Assemblymember George Nakano in 2002 and then as the Assembly Democratic Caucus assistant from 2004 through 2005.
Starn graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a bachelor of arts in political science and art history and currently lives in Sacramento with her husband and daughter.
Johan Rognerud joined Kaufman Campaigns in 2015. As operations manager for KCC, Johan keeps campaigns on track by overseeing budgets, coordinating TV and radio media plans, executing mail programs, and working with our many vendors. Johan most recently worked on Proposition 55 and Proposition 64.
Prior to joining KCC, Johan worked on various competitive local and legislative campaigns, for the California State Senate, and for Senate Democrats.
Johan was raised in the East Bay and has a bachelor of arts in political science from San Francisco State University. When Johan isn’t crunching the numbers, you can find him at the local volleyball court or driving on one of California’s many back roads.
Joshua has been at Kaufman Campaign Consultants since 2005. During his tenure at KCC he has worked on all facets of campaigns including coalition building, issue research, opposition research, field operations, media production, message development, and fundraising.
Most recently, he managed endorsement outreach efforts for "Yes on Proposition 55," helping to build an extensive coalition, united to prevent billions in cuts to education and vital services.
Prior to joining KCC, Heller was a legislative researcher for State Net in Washington, DC, and worked on congressional campaigns in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Heller graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, with a bachelor of arts in economics. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and volunteering in the greater Sacramento community.