David Carney

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David M. Carney (b. 1959), often quoted in news stories as "Dave Carney," is a Hancock, New Hampshire-based political consultant to Republican 527 groups, candidates, and office holders. He is currently the chief political advisor to Texas governor Rick Perry"[1][2] Carney is also the former political director for President George H.W. Bush.[3] Some have observed that Carney is "a master at the bare-knuckle politics that put former associates like Lee Attwater and Roger Ailes on the map." [2]

Early career

Dave Carney's early career in politics was profiled in Time Magazine at the time he was Robert Dole's top campaign consultant. [4]

Carney was the first campaign staffer hired (in 1980) by NH Republican Governor John H. Sununu, to run field operations for his (failed) run for the US Senate. Carney and Sununu joined the campaign of Bush 1 in 1998. After the election, Carney became political director of the Bush 1 White House,[5]. After the loss to Clinton in 1992, Time magazine says, Carney "was instrumental in the G.O.P.'s brilliant 1994 senatorial campaign effort, in which the party picked up eight seats."[4]

In the 1996 Presidential elections, Carney was Dole's top consultant.

Carney worked to draft Sununu's son John E. Sununu to run for the US Senate from NH in 2002.

Front groups

Careny has been a top staffer or consultant for several industry-funded front groups with innocuous names -- Americans for Job Security is one -- using them "to criticize opponents without involving campaigns he works for."[1]

In 2002, for example, Carney was executive director of AJS when it ran over $1 million in ads attacking Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, who was running for the US Senate from NH in opposition to John E Sununu. Carney, who was then also serving as an aide to Republican gubernatorial candidate Gordon Humphrey, encouraged his AJS colleagues to pay for calls encouraging Democratic voters to vote for Governor Shaheen's primary opponent. That plan did not go forward, but Carney was later forced to apologize for baselessly accusing Governor Shaheen's campaign of anonymous telephone and postcard attacks on Humphrey, which were in fact arranged by Republicans.[6]

In July 2004, Carney created the Republican 527 group "American Resolve" with John H Sununu and Grover Norquist, with the goal of helping to tip swing states to Bush. [7]

Third party candidates

In 2004, NH Democrats filed a complaint with the FEC, claiming that Carney and his company Norway Hill Associates had made an illegal corporate contribution to the Ralph Nader campaign by paying people $12 per hour to work at a George W Bush picnic, collecting signatures on a petition to put Nader on the NH ballot. Carney's response: "The fact that the Kerry campaign is squealing like pigs validates everything people across the state have done to help get Ralph Nader on the ballot," said Carney. "I only wish I had started earlier."[8] [9] The FEC refused to hear the complaint, overruling its General Counsel's advice[10], on the grounds the Carney should not be help to a higher standard of knowing the law just because he was an experienced politician.[11]

In 1992, Dave Carney was asked to address Harvard's Kennedy School of Government as an expert on the legalities of third-party candidates, in connection with the candidacy of Ross Perot. Carney told his audience that expertise was required: "If Rush Limbaugh tried to run for president, people - Democrats - would be out in droves to insure that all the things that he said were out there and people knew more about him. I don't think that Rush, as an independent, could deal with them. It's remarkable for a nonparty-structure person to get on 50 state ballots? Most people in the world don't understand how complicated it is to get the qualifying ballots. Bay is so upset about South Dakota. You have to know the rules, you have to go out and work hard. I don't think that a Rush Limbaugh or a Pat Buchanan or a Ronald Reagan, or any of these other people would be as successful without a party structure."[12]


Capitol Insider called Carney "Governor Rick Perry's top general political consultant." [3]

A 2004 Texas Observer article about Americans for Job Security describes Carney as "the wizard behind the curtain." [5]

Texas Republican Speaker Tom Craddick's "GOP allies in the House" hired Carney in September 2007 to "consult for Stars Over Texas, a political committee that ostensibly is run by GOP House incumbents to re-elect colleagues. Its board includes only Craddick supporters, and his daughter, Christi, is paid to run it."[1]


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