Founder, RedPrint Strategies
Anne Crockett-Stark was just the scrappy, upstart challenger that Casey Phillips gravitated to early in his career. During her first race for the Virginia House of Delegates the flame-haired Republican, who boasted a distant relation to frontiersman Davy Crockett, was considered a long shot. “I totally threw everything I had into that race. I actually lived in a gas station,” says Phillips, chuckling. “An abandoned gas station.” The South Dakota native, who started in 2002 with Sen. John Thune, rolled into Wytheville in his sticker plastered Jeep Cherokee and got to work recruiting volunteers. At the time, Phillips’ bass player-length long hair was a hit at campus parities.
“We had a very robust GOTV effort,” he recalls. In the heart of Virginia coal country, Phillips helped put Crockett-Stark over the top. The victory was dubbed a “Southern Surprise” and earned Phillips some notoriety. In fact, it’s what got him hired to manage Van Taylor’s 2006 race against then-Waco Rep. Chet Edwards (D) in the Texas 17th.
The NRCC came calling after that. They wanted him for a senior field position, but didn’t have the budget to hire him until the following year. Instead of waiting by the phone, Phillips went south to Mississippi. There he took charge of Delbert Hosemann’s secretary of state campaign and took Hosemann from third place to first with a brilliant TV ad that featured an old lady sitting on a bench messing up the name Delbert. “It opened my eyes to the power of a really good, creative political ad,” he says.
Video production was something Phillips had an interest ever since “Dances with Wolves” was filmed near the century-old family ranch where he grew up. “One of my earliest memories is being on that set,” he says. “Fast forward 20 years and I go to work at the NRCC as a regional field director.” He worked the 2008 cycle as a kind of Mr. Wolf of the political world, standing up House challenger campaigns around the country. Two years later, he spent 200 nights on the road for state-level candidates on behalf of the Republican State Leadership Committee.
As Phillips moved to establish himself as a media consultant, many of those ambitious politicians became his clients. “I concentrate really hard on writing and producing top quality ads that tell a story,” he says. “Every time you do a good ad you get more phone calls.”