The John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress and NYU Global Programs presented a panel of American political analysts, media experts, campaign insiders, and scholars to discuss the 2014 midterm elections. Having had 35 Senate seats on the line, and all 435 House seats up for grabs, the panel considered the results of the Congressional elections - analyzing campaign strategies, game-changing events and what lies ahead for the American people for the 2016 presidential election.
Donna Cassata covers defense, foreign policy and politics in Congress. A newswoman in AP's Washington bureau from 1986-94 and 2003 to present, Cassata was later the national political editor for the 2004, 2006 and 2008 election cycles.
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Rob Collins is a veteran Republican strategist who currently serves as the Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. His primary responsibility in this role is to elect Republicans to the United States Senate. Before taking over at the NRSC, Collins was a partner at Purple Strategies, a bipartisan consulting firm. He also ran the American Action Network, which raised over $30 million for advocacy in 5 Senate races and 35 House districts. In addition, he created the successful Hispanic Leadership Network co-chaired by Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Before starting the Network, Collins was Chief of Staff for Majority Leader Eric Cantor. He has also served on the Board of Directors for American Crossroads GPS, worked on over 14 campaigns, worked for then-Senator Chuck Hagel, and served in various other capacities as well.
Steve McMahon is an attorney and co-founder of Purple Strategies, LLC. He got his start in politics on the Senate and political staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and has worked on dozens of Senate, Gubernatorial and Mayoral campaigns across the country.
Steve has served in senior roles in three presidential campaigns, and produced the advertising in support of then Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic National Committee in the 2008 presidential campaign.
For the past twelve years, Steve’s principal focus has been on providing comprehensive reputation, brand image, crisis management and issue advocacy campaigns to companies and industries operating in challenging environments. He and his colleagues have also handled numerous initiative and referendum campaigns on a wide range of subjects, and helped develop litigation communication strategies for major companies facing significant litigation threats.
Steve appears regularly as a political commentator on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell Reports. During the past three campaign seasons, he was a frequent commentator on the NBC Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, The Today Show, CNN, and FOX NEWS. Steve is married to Cynthia Alksne, a former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst. The couple has four daughters.
Ana Navarro was born in Nicaragua. In 1980, as a result of the Sandinista revolution, she and her family immigrated to the United States.
Navarro is a graduate of the University of Miami. In 1993, she obtained her Bachelor in Arts with Majors in Latin American Studies and Political Science. She obtained a Juris Doctorate in 1997. She has expertise on Latin American and Hispanic issues.
She served as the National Co-Chair of John McCain’s Hispanic Advisory Council and was a national surrogate for the McCain 2008 campaign. She has played a role in several Federal and State races in Florida. Most recently, she served as National Hispanic Co-Chair for Gov. Jon Huntsman’s 2012 Campaign. She is a political contributor at CNN and CNN en Español.
In 1997, she was a special advisor to the Government of Nicaragua and in that role, she was one of the primary advocates for NACARA (Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act)
Navarro served on Gov. Jeb Bush’s transition team and served as his first Director of Immigration Policy in the Executive Office of the Governor. In 1999, she returned to the private sector and has represented private and public clients on federal issues, particularly related to immigration, trade and policy affecting Central America. In 2001, she served as Ambassador to the United Nation’s Human Rights Commission and was a strong advocate for the condemnation of the Government of Cuba for human rights abuses.
Patrick J. Egan specializes in public opinion, political institutions and their relationship in American politics. He is author of Partisan Priorities: How Issue Ownership Drives and Distorts American Politics (Cambridge, 2013) and co-editor of Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy (Oxford, 2008). In 2012, he received the NYU Golden Dozen Award in recognition for his outstanding contribution to learning in the classroom. Before entering academia, he served as an Assistant Deputy Mayor of Policy and Planning in the office of Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School.