Catching up with Conservative Regional Field Manager and OP Alum, Joe Gaffney

Ben Gaffney, Staff Writer

In 2016 Mrs. Gribben asked Joe Gaffney (Oratory Class of 2018) what nationality he was. “He stood up on his desk,” she recalls, “and screamed I am a G—-mn American!” Six years later, Gaffney is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado and brings the same sense of patriotism to his new career. Last spring he took a job at Camelback Strategy Group, a political consulting firm that works with Republican candidates. Then, he moved to Austin, Texas to work on Governor Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign against Democrat Beto O’Rourke. When asked about the job, Gaffney told the Omega: 

“My job was to manage a team of paid canvassers to speak with voters, find out who they were planning on voting for, and find which issues were important to them.” He then furthered his statement by saying, “We had a statewide goal of 1 million surveys on voters throughout Texas. With that information, we would change advertising messages for specific areas – even specific neighborhoods.”

As a Regional Field Manager, Gaffney had approximately 40 people working for him. Their assignments often involved developments in the news. For example, there was a horrific story this summer about 51 illegal immigrants dying in a truck when crossing the border. It was Gaffney went to the area to talk to voters about the immigration issue. When asked about this experience, Gaffney told the Omega: “Being a largely Hispanic community, they want a stronger border enforced to keep crime and drugs off the streets. With this information, I reported back to the campaign office and recommended advertisements be run on Abbott’s stance.”

Gaffney became interested in politics when he listened to conservative commentator Mark Levin’s radio show on his way home from OP baseball practice. He still listens to Levin to this day. Gaffney told the Omega about how Levin’s radio show even plays in to his home life. This is shown by how he said, “When the commercial break hits, I instinctively expect the radio to shut off so my dad can monologue on the good points made before the break.”

Interestingly enough, Gaffney majored in philosophy at Colorado. He believes it prepared him well for politics. Gaffney said, “I chose philosophy because I wanted to learn how to think and not what to think. I didn’t want to be taught one professor’s opinion on US History or political science. I wanted to be able to read through materials on my own and be able to come to conclusions on any matter logically.” Gaffney used this way of thinking to formulate advice for any OP student who might want to get involved in politics saying, “It is never too early to get involved in campaigns. You need to put in the grunt work to get ahead. The people above you will recognize your hard work and they will help you,” he says. “Most people get their jobs by being recommended by the people they have at one point worked for, so make connections and always be the hardest worker.”

Gaffney put his own advice to work to secure his position working for Abbott – who won his race by 11 points. Gaffney considers this to be one of the bright spots for the GOP during a wild campaign season.  Gaffney was happy to be in the middle of it and he is looking forward to 2024. As for closing thoughts, Gaffney said, “As I get into my cowboy boots and saddle up my F150 for work every day, I can’t help but feel proud that I am a G—-mn American.”