Senior fellow leads OC project


Mike Madrid explores most politically competitive region in the country

Mike Madrid, a co-founder of The Lincoln Project, will serve as a School of Social Ecology senior fellow this spring and fall, bringing a state and national perspective to the school’s “Red County, Blue County, Orange County” project.

Madrid, who is no longer affiliated with The Lincoln Project, is a veteran American political consultant and one of the country’s authoritative experts on Latino voters. In 2001, he was named one of America’s “Most Influential Hispanics” by Hispanic Business Magazine and last year was awarded the “Capital Award” by UnidosUS, America’s oldest Latino Civil Rights organization. 

He is a partner in GrassrootsLab, a leading political consulting firm in California and is the author of the forthcoming book “The Latino Century: How America’s Largest Minority is Shaping Democracy.”

A graduate of Georgetown University, Madrid served as the press secretary for Rod Pacheco, former California Assembly Republican leader, and as the political director for the California Republican Party. His unique experience as a senior adviser to the campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans will provide a rare perspective to students in today’s polarized political climate.

“The balance of power in this country will be determined by the demographics that play an outsized role in Orange County,” Madrid said. “The implications of how Orange County residents vote will reverberate across America and we plan to invite political experts from across the country to engage with our students and to be involved.”

As a senior fellow, Madrid will host the School’s Red County, Blue County, Orange County video and podcast series. The series will cover the transformation of Orange County from a sleepy homogenous conservative county to the vibrant, diverse OC that is known across the nation today as one of the most politically competitive regions in the country. It will feature interviews with current and former politicians, journalists, political operatives and authors, showcasing the stories that have made Orange County and its politics famous. 

“From California to Washington, DC, Orange County has had an outsized impact on American politics, and the lessons it holds today are invaluable for anyone looking to bring together communities,” Dean Jon Gould said. “That’s why we created the Red County, Blue County, Orange County project. We are fortunate to have Mike as a partner in this endeavor. He combines unparalleled experience, a sharp mind, and tremendous advocacy skills. The issues on which he is working are those essential to the state and the nation.”

Madrid also will teach a new course in the fall quarter. The class will host workshops and campus visits for elected officials, journalists, scholars and political pollsters and strategists to interact with students and the general public and share their knowledge and experience. 
Mimi Ko Cruz