Darrin Schmitz, President
Darrin Schmitz, an 18-year veteran of national- and state-level politics, has the experience and winning record to craft a message that stands out from the pack.
In 2006, Darrin served as the chief strategist and general consultant to the only statewide Republican candidate in the nation to capture a Democrat seat. He has successfully managed and advised gubernatorial, attorney general, Congressional and legislative races.
As the Executive Director for the Wisconsin Republican Party, Darrin directed strategy development and implementation. He crafted voter contact mail programs and communications plans including television and radio production. During his tenure, the Wisconsin GOP enjoyed its largest legislative majority in 50 years.
In 2004, Darrin helped lead the Wisconsin GOP on behalf of President Bush through one of the most closely watched elections in state history. In the crucial Presidential battleground state of Wisconsin, Darrin managed the historic Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign as the Executive Director.
Darrin also served in a variety of leadership roles on behalf of the longest-serving governor in Wisconsin history, the Honorable Tommy G. Thompson. As Deputy Campaign Manager and Turnout Director for Thompson's successful 1998 campaign, Darrin oversaw voter turnout efforts and direct mail programs that contributed to Thompson's 20-point victory. In Governor Thompson's office, Darrin applied his experience as a communications professional to the jobs of Communications Director, Press Secretary and Speechwriter.
Bryan Kaegi, Regional President
Bryan Kaegi brings over twenty years of political and fundraising expertise to Persuasion Partners. His experience spans successful campaigns for the US Senate, US House of Representatives, and state constitutional offices.
Bryan's exhaustive political experience includes work with U.S. Senator Bob Corker, U.S. Senator Bill Frist, U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, Governor Don Sundquist, the Tennessee Republican Caucus, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Steve Gill for Congress, Senator Paul Coverdell (GA), Senator Bob Kasten (WI), and U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh (PA).
From 2005 to 2008, Bryan served as Finance Director for Senator Alexander's successful re-election campaign. Prior to 2005, Bryan served as the state finance director for the Tennessee Republican Party from 2001 to 2004. During that time, Bryan was coordinated the finance operation for Victory, the GOP's Get-Out-The-Vote Effort in Tennessee for the Presidential, federal and state elections. He continues to provide consulting services to U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander and to the Tennessee Republican Party.
In 1997, Bryan co-founded Kaegi Resources, a fundraising consulting partnership that serves political, corporate and non-profit clients. Kaegi Resources client list has included the Nashville Chamber Partnership, the Tennessee Titans, and the Nashville Ballet Capital Campaign.
Mike Austin, Senior Account Executive
Mike Austin has an in-depth background in politics and campaigns at both the state and federal levels.
In 2006, Mike served as the Campaign Manager for Wisconsin Representative Gene Hahn's (R-Cambria) successful campaign. Mike's ability to target swing voters using microtargeting and high-impact voter mail allowed his client to claim victory in a district that Democratic Governor Jim Doyle won by seven percentage points.
Mike most recently served as the Chief of Staff to Representative Hahn. Mike lead day-to-day operations including developing comprehensive and innovative communications strategies to advance successful public policy initiatives. He also served as Clerk to the Assembly Committee on Biofuels and Sustainable Energy.
During the 2004 election, Mike was an integral member Republican Assembly Campaign Committee where he helped lead the campaigns of a variety of candidates across Northwestern Wisconsin. His efforts helped Republicans gain two seats long-held by Democrats and re-elect a targeted Republican.
Mike's experience includes a race for the United States Senate. As a Regional Field Coordinator for former Wisconsin Senator Bob Welch's United States Senate campaign, he organized a 72-Hour grassroots operation that included get-out-the-vote programs across much of Eastern Wisconsin. Mike also worked in Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's office while completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Government at Ripon College.