Eric Conrad named Charlie Crist’s newest spokesperson

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One of Florida’s rising political consultants is joining the Charlie Crist campaign today as the former governor’s newest spokesperson.

Eric Conrad is a fourth-generation Floridian that adds to Crist’s team a wealth of experience far beyond his 26 years, bringing with him a long list of campaign successes.

Named one of Florida’s “30 under 30” by SaintPetersBlog, Conrad honed his expertise over nearly a decade with campaigns in both Florida and New York.  

A former senior partner at the full service consulting firm WWD Strategies, Conrad also worked with Kevin Cate Communications as well as in a number of public and non-profit sectors.

Among his most significant political experiences were roles in both Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and his 2012 re-election efforts, acting as Deputy Press Secretary in Florida. Later, Conrad became Deputy Communications Director for the Florida Democratic Party.

He also worked on Susan Bottcher’s successful Gainesville City Commission and as Deputy Campaign Manager for both the Perry McGriff for State Senate Campaign in 2010 and Susan Bysiewicz for Senate in 2012.

Last year, the Gainesville native and University of Florida graduate supported the campaign for Reshma Saujani, who ran for Public Advocate of New York City. Saujani was the first Indian-American woman to campaign for U.S. Congress.

“When I begin a project or first work on a campaign, I look for the overarching theme,” Conrad told SaintPetersBlog in 2013. “I feel like too often we get caught up in the individual tactics or micro-targeted messages at the expense of the broader narrative.

“People are storytellers by nature and learn best that way. Any campaign message or tactic that doesn’t stem from a broader story will never be as effective as one that tries to be a little something for everyone.”

Conrad cites his parents and grandparents as mentors for giving him the management skills needed to run successful campaigns. He entered politics through what he calls “Obama World,” joining veteran consultants Kevin Cate and Steve Schale.

“I was lucky that all of them had a vast amount of expertise in the state political realm as well,” he said.

Throughout all the campaigns he had worked, one vital lesson Conrad learned was to have an identity outside of politics, since “dinner conversations with ‘normal people’ get boring pretty quick” when it is only about work.

“In the little free time I have or in the off seasons,” Conrad said, “I try to make sure I have activities and people that remind me that politics isn’t everything.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.