Decades of Local, State and National Political Campaigns
Visit the Kent Gray Campaign Photo Gallery for photos of some of the officials I've worked for and from some of the events I had a hand in producing.
In addition to my work as an attorney, I have worked on numerous political campaigns ranging from local mayor's races through statewide elections and six different presidential campaigns. I have been involved in a wide range of political activities including election law matters, campaign photography, opposition research, policy development, fundraising, text/mobile messaging and many years of candidate logistics and advance work.
During the Reagan administration, I became very active as a photographer. I often found myself at political events that were poorly lit or otherwise visually uninteresting. From the late 1980's to this day, I have worked as an advance man for many candidates. The term "advance" means to put in place the logistics of a candidate's travel, public interaction and media image. Since that time, I have worked on six presidential campaigns and produced events and handled logistics for dozens of Republican candidates and office holders.
In the mid 1990's, I worked as Illinois Comptroller Loleta Didrickson's Executive Assistant. This job included handling her advance at governmental and political events. I was also her official photographer. She was a big supporter of Senator Bob Dole and she graciously allowed me to take a leave of absence and become a full time staff member of Senator Dole's 1996 presidential campaign. I advanced the logistics for numerous campaign events in cities around the country. These included his participation in the Republican National Convention, both debates with President Clinton and his 35,000 person Labor Day rally.
In 2000, I reconnected with many of my advance friends and volunteered on then-Governor Bush's presidential campaign. I again advanced numerous campaign events around the country. These included his participation in the St. Louis presidential debate with Vice President Gore and rallies leading up to election day. I am most proud of serving as the site advance person for the Bushes' farewell rally to their hometown of Midland, Texas in January 2001. They flew from that 20,000 person rally directly to Washington for the inauguration a couple of days later.
With his election as president, I was honored to serve President George W. Bush as an advance representative on numerous temporary duty assignments for the White House. These included many domestic trips along with the planning and execution of international visits to Warsaw, Poland, Shanghai, China and Nairobi, Kenya. The 2001 visit to Shanghai was as a US Delegate to the APEC Summit just weeks after 9/11. In 2005, I was a member of the five-person advance team that coordinated the President and First Lady's visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum dedication. Several of the events I helped produce are highlighted at the Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, TX.
Beginning in 2007, I was an advance representative for the McCain Campaign and a Delegate on his behalf to the Republican National Convention. I was a member of advance teams for Senator McCain's hometown campaign announcement in Tempe, AZ in April 2007 and many other events along the way to his nomination. During the Fall of 2008, I was assigned by the McCain campaign to help coordinate Governor Sarah Palin's involvement in the Republican National Convention, the Vice Presidential debate in St. Louis, Election Night in Phoenix, and other speeches and rallies around the nation.
During the 2012 primary, I served as an advance representative and consultant to the Newt Gingrich presidential campaign from the Iowa Caucuses through the Tennessee Primary. My duties included producing events ranging from intimate ice cream and pizza shop visits to the largest rally of his campaign in The Villages, Florida. I also coordinated debate involvement, in-person appearances on shows like "Huckabee" and live satellite feeds.
In addition to President George W. Bush, Senators Dole and McCain and Speaker Gingrich, I have also handled logistics for a wide range of events and trips by notable political candidates, officials and entertainers such as: Sarah Palin, Elizabeth Dole, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, President George H.W. Bush, President Jimmy Carter, Vice President Dan Quayle, First Lady Barbara Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, Mitt Romney, Jack Kemp, Michael Reagan, Mike Huckabee, Congressman Aaron Schock, Lynn Martin, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Rush Limbaugh, Lee Greenwood, Ted Nugent, Aretha Franklin, John Rich and Colin Powell.
In addition to the practice of Illinois election law, I am also available to consult prospective candidates and sitting office holders on strategies and techniques to increase the effectiveness of your media outreach and logistics operations.