SKDKnickerbocker Announces New Heads of Political Department

Doug Thornell, Oren Shur, Emily Campbell represent next generation of leading political consultants; Bill Knapp to continue political work as one of firm’s Founding Partners

June 18, 2019

WASHINGTON – Today, SKDKnickerbocker announced Doug Thornell, Oren Shur and Emily Campbell as principals and the new heads of the firm’s political consulting department (SKDKPolitical). Thornell, Shur, and Campbell reflect the diversity of the Democratic party and will guide the expansion of the firm’s political advertising work to reach all new platforms where voters consume information.

Bill Knapp, Jennifer Cunningham, Karen Olick, Greg Minoff will continue advising political clients in senior roles, with Olick leading the firm’s ballot initiative practice and Minoff overseeing all advertising, creative and production. The firm’s other partners, Anita Dunn, Hilary Rosen and Josh Isay, will remain active in politics and public affairs.

 “As one of the founders of this great firm, I am thrilled that Doug, Oren and Emily will lead our political practice into the future. Their new ideas, fresh, creative approach and sharp political acumen will only improve the suite of services and support this firm provides to Democratic candidates and causes,” said Knapp.

“Doug, Oren and Emily truly understand the changing ways that voters consume information. Voters are looking for candidates who have an authentic story to tell and this team will help those candidates tell it in a powerful way – whether that’s on a 50-inch screen or a 5-inch smartphone screen,” said Cunningham.

SKDKnickerbocker offers a suite of services to Democratic candidates, independent expenditures, progressive organizations and ballot initiatives, including TV advertising, multi-platform digital advertising, long-form online videos, radio/audio advertising, print/OOH, message development, media strategy and debate/media prep.

Over the years, SKDKnickerbocker has helped elect two presidents and hundreds of senators and governors, House members, numerous local officials across the country and helped pass important gun safety ballot measures in Washington state and Nevada. In addition, the firm has worked many cycles for the party committees including the DSCC, DCCC, DNC, Senate and House Majority PACS, EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood. In 2018, SKDK played a role in helping to elect three new Governors, 24 new members of the House of Representatives, one new Attorney General and successfully defending a targeted U.S. Senator.

The rest of the SKDKPolitical team includes seasoned and experienced operatives, including: Andrew Shipley, Damon Miranda, Christina Worthington, Jake Schonfeld, Herbie Ziskend, Devon Puglia, Max Walk, Greta Feldman, Raj Kaur, Matt Kreps, Jordan Finkelstein and Chandler Dunn.

About Doug Thornell:

Doug joined SKDK in 2011 and was promoted to managing director in 2015. At SKDK, Doug has served as a media strategist to House and Gubernatorial campaigns and progressive and civil rights organizations. Over his 19-year career, Doug has been a lead strategist to the Democratic National Committee, the top spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a senior aide at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a top advisor to both Senator Chris Van Hollen and the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the traveling spokesman for Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. Doug was a top House Democratic leadership aide from 2007 until 2011 and played a key role in passage of the Affordable Care Act, Wall Street reform and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Doug began his political career as an organizer on the Gore Iowa campaign, following the 2000 election, Doug worked as a press aide to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. PRWeek said this about Doug, “when it comes to the public affairs sphere, Doug Thornell knows the Beltway like few others.” Doug is the co-host of the political podcast The Electables and a regular analyst on MSNBC, Fox, Bloomberg TV and CNN. He resides in Maryland and graduated from Cornell University where he played varsity football and earned a degree in government.

About Oren Shur:

For over 15 years, Oren has served as a media consultant, campaign manager and communications strategist on some of the most competitive Democratic campaigns and independent expenditures across the country. He has a winning track record not only in blue states, but has also successfully navigated Democratic campaigns in more difficult states like Missouri and Kansas. In 2018, Oren was the lead media strategist and ad-maker for Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s gubernatorial campaign – a win that U.S. News called “one of the biggest Democratic victories of the night,” in a state that Donald Trump carried by over 20 points. Before joining SKDKnickerbocker, Oren served as the Director of Paid Media for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Director of Independent Expenditures for the Democratic Governors Association and as a campaign manager on several targeted races – including Gov. Jay Nixon’s (D-MO) successful re-election campaign in 2012. Prior to managing campaigns, Oren served as the Communications Director and lead spokesman on Gov. Nixon’s 2008 campaign for Governor. He served as Senator Ben Cardin’s (D-MD) Communications Director on Capitol Hill and his hard-fought 2006 campaign. Oren also previously worked for U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and on other campaigns at the state and local level.

About Emily Campbell:

Emily has more than two decades experience advising candidates and campaigns at all levels of the ballot and running paid media campaigns. Prior to joining SKDKnickerbocker, she spent six years as a political and finance adviser to campaigns at EMILY’s List where she advised federal and gubernatorial candidates in the western region, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon and Washington state. While there, she recruited candidates and advised campaigns on messaging, polling, paid media, staff infrastructure, fundraising and on development and implementation of campaign plans and budgets. During her tenure, she helped elect and re-elect nearly two dozen women to the United States House and Senate. Prior to joining EMILY’s List, Emily worked on numerous campaigns around the country, managing fundraising and field programs. She has also worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as a Regional Candidate Fundraising Advisor, at the Democratic National Committee. In addition to her campaign work, Emily has been a consultant to nonprofits and political organizations, including AmeriCares, CARE, Habitat for Humanity and NARAL Pro-Choice America, helping them develop direct response fundraising programs and integrate their online communications into overall fundraising and communications strategies.

About SKDKnickerbocker:

SKDKnickerbocker (SKDK) is one of the top communications and political consulting firms in the country and brings unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support on how to manage a crisis, protect a brand, advocate an issue or win an election. The influential Holmes Report once again named SKDK as the North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year in 2019, following wins in 2015, 2016, and 2018.

To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at

SKDK is a proud member of The Stagwell Group, a collaborative group of agencies who are out to “reinvent the holding company,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The Stagwell Group portfolio includes more than a dozen best-in-class, digital-first agencies who are focused on what modern CMOs need.

Learn more about Stagwell at


Rachael Shackelford

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