Jeff Roe on Biden’s “Sugar High” and How to Beat Trump

GOP consultant Jeff Roe with Glenn Youngkin
G.O.P. consultant Jeff Roe with Glenn Youngkin. Photo by Anna Moneymaker
Tara Palmeri
September 15, 2022

Jeff Roe, the Republican operative of our moment, reached a professional crescendo last year after his previously little-known, fleece-vested, private equity gubernatorial client, Glenn Youngkin, pulled out an upset against Virginia’s one-time governor and inveterate Clinton-buddy Terry McAuliffe in the blue-leaning state. With Roe’s coaching, Youngkin had mastered the dark arts of culture war-stoking with a nice-guy tone, using phrases like “parents’ rights” that appeal to women and wealthy suburbanites, while keeping a pole’s length distance from Donald Trump. Youngkin, who can only serve one term as governor, is already being talked about as a potential 2024 nominee.

Meanwhile, Roe’s firm Axiom has become a behemoth of a consulting shop, with 303 employees and 298 contractors, running more than 500 races this cycle. And with 21 acquisitions since 2015, they’re continuing to expand. Just this month, they acquired a Pennsylvania consulting company and a compliance firm.

But this midterm cycle has been a mixed bag for Roe in the hotly contested primaries, especially in the Senate. Republicans were previously optimistic about major gains in the upper chamber, but now seem to be moderating their expectations, with Mitch McConnell confessing that they might fall short due to the dreaded “candidate quality” conundrum. Roe declared his client David McCormick victorious in the Pennsylvania Senate primary, but after an expensive recount in which he came up less than a 1,000 votes short, he was forced to concede to celebrity surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, who had ultimately won the golden ticket of the Trump endorsement. He’s currently working on Adam Laxalt’s Senate campaign in Nevada, which is shaping up to be a tight race to unseat incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. His client Eric Schmitt pulled off a win in the Missouri Senate primary after being blessed with a double ‘Eric’ endorsement from Trump, and outside funding that pummeled his opponent Eric Greitens. But in Arizona, his client Jim Lamon came in second to Blake Masters in the Senate primary, as he lacked a Trump endorsement.