June 10, 2021
PHILADELPHIA — Today, 314 Action Fund announced the addition of five new staff members to the organization’s campaigns, communications, and development teams. From former key staff on presidential campaigns to the leadership teams of national political organizations and critical Democratic races, these new staff members bring a wealth of experience in electing smart, facts-driven candidates up and down the ballot — and will be fundamental to 314’s success in what is projected to be their biggest-ever fundraising, recruitment and election cycles.
In 2022, 314 Action Fund will aim to spend $50 million to elect scientists across all levels of government, with initial targets of seven U.S. Senate races, forty U.S. House races, and twenty-one statewide races. In 2020, the organization spent $25 million on behalf of its endorsed candidates and raised a total of $5 million in grassroots donations for scientists running for office.
The five new hires are:
- Alexandra De Luca, Communications Director
- Brittany Grimm, Strategic Gift Officer
- Brendan Koch, Senior Finance Advisor
- Jacob Sarkozi, Campaign Advisor
- Ben Young, Campaign Advisor
Adding to the strength of its incoming class of experienced team members, 314 Action also announced the promotions of three members of its leadership team:
- Hilary Badger, National Development Director
- Erik Polyak, Managing Director
- Esteban Rodriguez-Vazquez, Digital Director
314 Action President Shaughnessy Naughton released the following statement:
“314 Action has recruited battle-tested, experienced operatives in Democratic electoral politics to join our ranks — top-tier talent that will continue to grow our organization and build on our successful programs that have already elected a wave of pro-science, pro-truth candidates. After our victories up and down the ballot in 2020, 314 Action isn’t resting on our laurels. The wealth of experience that these staffers bring to 314 Action will ensure that we don’t just break our own record number of wins in 2022, but that we have the infrastructure to keep bringing home victories for our candidates for decades to come. We’re here to win — and win big.”
Alexandra De Luca joins 314 Action as Communications Director. She is a Democratic communications professional with years of experience in national, statewide and local campaigns. Before joining 314 Action as communications director, she served as the communications director for Dr. Barbara Bollier’s historic U.S. Senate race in Kansas, the South Carolina communications director and New Hampshire press secretary for Cory Booker’s 2020 presidential bid, and the national press secretary for EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest organization for women in politics.
Brittany Grimm joins 314 Action as Strategic Gifts Officer. During the 2020 cycle, Brittany served as the Deputy National Finance Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, managing a team of 20+ finance staffers raising over $132 million. She previously worked for a number of House, Senate, gubernatorial, and local campaigns across the country, including directing the finance operation for Xochitl Torres Small’s successful 2018 congressional bid, for which she raised more than any House candidate in New Mexico history. Brittany also previously worked at EMILY’s List, and for a number of consulting firms and non-profits in Washington, DC and New Mexico.
Brendan Koch joins 314 Action as the Senior Finance Advisor for Federal and Statewide campaigns. Most recently, Brendan was National Finance Director to Cal Cunningham’s US Senate campaign in North Carolina. He previously served as Deputy National Finance Director to then-Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 2020 Presidential campaign and Sen. Jon Tester’s 2018 re-election campaign. Prior to that, Brendan worked at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and as a finance consultant with the Chraca Friedman Group.
Jacob Sarkozi joins 314 Action as a Campaign Advisor. He is a veteran of campaigns, particularly in New York. He most recently served as scientist Nancy Goroff’s campaign manager in NY1, one of the most expensive races of the cycle, where they were the only Democratic campaign in the country to beat a 2018 nominee who was running again in a primary. Before that, he managed Pat Ryan’s winning campaign for Ulster County Executive and had been finance director on several other races.
Ben Young joins 314 Action as a Campaign Advisor. He has managed campaigns all across the country from city council to Congressional. He most recently managed Cameron Webb’s campaign that Cook Political called one of the best-run campaigns in the country. As a campaign advisor, Ben knows what it takes to run tough races and help candidates have the resources they need to win.
The members of the leadership team include:
Hilary Badger is 314 Action’s National Development Director. Hilary is the founder of Badger Strategies Consulting, where she advised members of Congress, PACs, and candidates on national fundraising strategy. In the 2018 cycle, Hilary was the National Finance Director for Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, one of the highest-raising House campaigns of the cycle, raising over $8 million. She also worked in Congress, serving Rep. Elizabeth Esty, and at the Center for American Progress as the Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Policy.
Erik Polyak is 314 Action’s Managing Director. Previously, Erik was 314 Action’s Director of Campaigns for the last two election cycles. He has worked as a campaign manager and political fundraiser in seven states across the country. Prior to joining 314 Action, Erik was the campaign manager for Shaughnessy Naughton’s Pennsylvania congressional campaign. He was the Deputy Finance Director in Tammy Duckworth’s successful 2016 Senate bid, while also serving as the Finance Director of the Illinois Democratic Coordinated Campaign. Erik also worked as Finance Director for a DCCC Red to Blue race in 2014, on Tammy Duckworth’s election to Congress in 2012, and with Congresswoman Lois Frankel.
Esteban Rodriguez-Vazquez is 314 Action’s Digital Director. Prior to joining 314 Action, Esteban worked at a range of digital and consulting firms. As a former senior digital strategist and copywriter, Esteban has written for and/or ran digital fundraising programs on behalf of 21 Democratic senators, 44 Democratic members of the House, several 2020 Presidential hopefuls, the Speaker of the House, and the nation’s premier organization devoted to saving America’s wild horses. In the past four years, he’s raised $25+ million online for Democratic, progressive, and pro-sciences causes online.
In 2020, 314 Action Fund endorsed 120 scientists who successfully ran for public office at every level of government. Of these scientists, over 50% were women, nearly a quarter were candidates of color, and nearly a quarter were also first-time candidates. 314 Action Fund also further established its commitment to building a strong bench of science candidates who may seek statewide or federal office in the future. 314 Action Fund committed $1 million to partner with the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and Democratic legislative caucuses to elect STEM candidates across the United States.
314 Action Fund is powered by a grassroots community of over six million people working to elect scientists, doctors, and STEM professionals who will use science and facts to address our most pressing issues like climate change and health care. In 2018 and 2020, we played a pivotal role in flipping the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, electing eleven Democratic scientists to federal office, as well as over 100 to state and local offices. In 2021 and 2022, 314 Action Fund will continue working to elect science leaders and defeat climate deniers in Congress and legislatures across the country.