The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) is the largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the country and the only national organization whose mission is to elect down-ballot, state-level Republican officeholders. Since 2002, the RSLC has been working to elect candidates to the offices of lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state legislator, the judiciary and other down ticket races. The RSLC has more than 150,000 donors in all 50 states. During the 2013-2014 election cycle, the RSLC picked up ten new legislative chambers, leading to an all-time high of 69 out of 99 chambers controlled by Republicans. Following the 2015 elections, Republicans now hold 32 lieutenant governor seats and a majority of secretaries of state, now at 28. In 2014, the RSLC successfully expanded the Future Majority Project and “Right Women, Right Now” initiative, spending more than $6 million in direct support of Republican candidates of diverse descent and women, leading to the election of 181 new candidates. Last cycle, the RSLC also launched the Judicial Fairness Initiative and the new top-level domain for the Republican Party, ‘.gop.’ To learn more about the RSLC, please visit www.rslc.gop or follow @RSLC on Twitter.
Ed Gillespie is founder of Ed Gillespie Strategies, a strategic communications firm in Alexandria, Virginia. He is one of the nation’s leading experts in message development and delivery, having advised companies, candidates, and the President of the United States on how to communicate with their audiences. He and his wife Cathy live near George Washington’s historic Mt. Vernon in Fairfax County, Virginia with their three children John, Carrie and Mollie.
Gillespie was a long-time policy and communications aide to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. He was a principal drafter of the Contract with America, the 1994 campaign platform on which Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. For the last year-and-a-half of President George W. Bush’s time in office, Gillespie served in the White House as Counselor to the President during a time of historic significance, including the surge of troops in Iraq, the crisis in the financial markets and a presidential transition.
A former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Gillespie in 2004 became the first GOP chairman in 80 years to preside over his party’s winning the White House, House and Senate. His aggressive outreach to African-American and Hispanic voters was a highlight of his tenure. He went on to serve as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. He chaired the Republican State Leadership Committee in the 2010 cycle until 2014, helping to elect a record number of Republican state legislators across the country. In addition to Ed Gillespie Strategies, he started two other successful public affairs firms: Quinn Gillespie and Associates (QGA) and Policy Impact Communications.
In 2014, Gillespie was the Republican nominee for United States Senate in Virginia, losing by less than one percentage point in a near-upset of popular incumbent Mark Warner in what was widely hailed as one of the best campaigns in the country. His positive agenda for economic growth has been called a model for future campaigns.
Matthew Walter, President of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), oversaw the successful 2014 election cycle that included Republicans capturing an all-time Party record of 69 of 99 state legislative chambers, 31 lieutenant governor and 28 secretary of state seats, and electing 138 new women and 43 new diverse candidates. Joining the RSLC in 2011, he has also served as RSLC Managing Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Political Director, and launched the RSLC’s Future Majority Project, Right Women, Right Now, and Crossroads Generation initiatives.
Before the RSLC, Matthew served the New York State Republican Party in a variety of roles, including Executive Director, Director of Strategic Planning and Communications Director. He spent 11 years working in the Communications Department at the New York State Senate Majority, and since 1988 has served dozens of campaigns in all major capacities from volunteer to campaign manager for statewide office.