Leaders

Officers

Alex Smith

National Chair
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Alex Smith is the National Chairman of the College Republican National Committee. Prior to being elected as National Co-Chairman for the 2012 cycle, she served as Chairman of the D.C. Federation of College Republicans.

In 2014, she was named as an RNC “Rising Star” and was the recipient of the RNC’s Jeane Kirkpatrick Award. She was also featured on Red Alert Politics’ “Thirty Under Thirty” list of up-and-coming young, conservative leaders.

Smith has appeared on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN on programs such as “The O’Reilly Factor,” “The Kelly File,” “Your World With Neil Cavuto,” and “The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart,” as well as in print in The Wall Street Journal and POLITICO. She is an alumna of The Catholic University of America, where she graduated from the University Honors Program magna cum laude, and of Seton Hall University School of Law. She is an attorney licensed to practice in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey Smith is a regular contributor to The Hill .

Ted Dooley

National Co-Chair
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Ted Dooley is serving as National Co-Chairman. Ted, originally from Holliston, Massachusetts, is a graduate from Boston College. Before attending BC, Ted was a student at George Washington University where he was a leader in the school’s College Republican chapter. After transferring to BC, Ted was elected Chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans.

Under Ted’s tenure, the MACR was able to expand to over 20 chapters and fundraise record amounts. In 2014, Ted was elected Northeastern Vice Chairman for the CRNC and helped coordinate interstate deployments of College Republicans across the Northeast.

During the 2012 election, Ted managed and consulted for a number of local and congressional elections in Massachusetts. In 2014, Ted managed State Representative Shawn Dooley’s (no relation) special election in Massachusetts, which garnered over 60% of the vote in a competitive three-way election race. He currently works at Purple Strategies New England on the public affairs and communications team. Ted is an avid fan of the New England Patriots and enjoys spending as much time as possible on the beautiful shores of Cape Cod.

John Kaufmann

National Treasurer
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John is currently serving as Treasurer of the College Republican National Committee. Previously, John was a chapter chair of the Muscatine Community College Republicans and served several positions on the Iowa Federation of College Republicans including his two-year tenure as Chair. He has played a major role in many successful campaigns in Iowa.

John is currently studying political science at the University of Iowa and is a graduate of Wilton JR/SR high school. In his free time John enjoys working on his farm and keeping up on politics, and rooting for the Hawkeyes, Colts, and Lakers.

Liz Minneman

National Secretary
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Liz serves as National Secretary. Liz is a 2015 graduate of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia where she earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and a Bachelor’s Degree in government and economics as a Jefferson Scholar.

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Liz got her start in politics in 2009 when she was elected chairman of the Minnesota Teenage Republicans. Liz served as chairman of UVA’s chapter of College Republicans in 2013 before being elected state chair of the College Republican Federation of Virginia.

Her work reaching out to millennials during Virginia’s 2013 gubernatorial race helped Ken Cuccinelli win the youth vote by 6 points. She currently works as an economic policy research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. Outside of politics, Liz enjoys shopping for Lilly Pulitzer sundresses and cheering on UVA basketball. Go Hoos!

Kasha Nielsen

National Comptroller
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Kasha is a fourth year at the University of Virginia and Chairwoman of the College Republican Federation of Virginia. Kasha has been actively involved in politics since 2012. Not only was she a Coordinator for Young Americans for Romney in the 2012 Presidential election campaign, she was one of the founders of the first chartered community college chapter in Virginia located in Northern Virginia.

During the 2013 election, Kasha worked on Barbara Comstock’s successful re-election campaign to the Virginia House of Delegate’s while also serving as the Political Director of the Fairfax County Republican Committee. In 2014 she worked on Barbara Comstock’s successful election to Congress in VA-10 and was also recognized for her efforts by the National Federation of Republican Women.

Kasha has spent the last two years traveling around the Commonwealth of Virginia engaging with millennial and minority communities sharing the Republican message. In addition to her work in the Republican Party, Kasha has been recognized by the Kosciusko Foundation and Ministry of Poland for her efforts towards U.S.-Poland alliance.

Taylor Mason

Southern Regional Vice-Chairman
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Taylor Mason is serving as Southern Vice Chairman of the CRNC. Taylor is from Charleston, South Carolina and attended the University of South Carolina Beaufort where he served as the Student body Vice President. Taylor Served as Chairman of the South Carolina Federation of College Republicans for the last 2 years where he grew the organization from 3 to 16 active chapters including starting the first College Republicans chapter at a HBCU in South Carolina. 

In addition to being involved in the College Republicans Taylor is also serving as Vice Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party and is actively involved in state politics. Taylor has played key roles in multiple campaigns for candidates all across the county including working for Mitt Romney in 2012 in Iowa and recently for Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Taylor’s hobbies include going to the beach, spending time with family, traveling and “grand ole partying”.

JR Bloom

Midwestern Regional Vice-Chairman
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J.R. Bloom serves as Midwestern Vice-Chair. Originally hailing from Castaic, California, J.R. moved to his adopted state of Nebraska five years ago to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He graduated with a degree in Economics and minors in Political Science and History.

Prior to election to national office, J.R. served two terms as State Chair of the Nebraska Federation of College Republicans (NFCR). During his tenure, NFCR more than doubled the state’s number of active CR chapters. By placing young conservatives on campaigns throughout the state, NFCR fueled the historic Nebraska GOP gains made in 2014. 

Before serving on the state level, J.R. served as chapter chair for the UNL CR chapter. He previously worked for the Nebraska Republican Party and currently pursues his Juris Doctorate at the UNL College of Law. When not politicking, J.R. likes a good round of golf and chanting Go Big Red at Husker games.

Zoey Kotzambasis

Western Regional Vice-Chairman
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A native of Tucson, Arizona, Zoey is a graduate of the University of Arizona Honors College, where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Political Science. Prior to being elected Western Regional Vice Chair, Zoey was recently re-elected to her second term as Chairman of the Arizona Federation of College Republicans.

A fourth generation Wildcat, Zoey has served as her chapter’s president, and will continue her education at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law this fall to earn her J.D. Aside from a academics and politics, she enjoys PAC-12 sporting events, spending time with family, and exercising her Second Amendment rights.

Chandler Thornton

Northeast Regional Vice-Chairman
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Chandler Thornton currently serves as Northeastern Regional Vice Chairman. Chandler was born and raised in Frederick County, Maryland, located approximately 50 miles from Washington and Baltimore. He is a proud graduate of American University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Chandler was elected to two terms as Chairman of the D.C. Federation of College Republicans, where he organized campaign deployments across the country.

He has local, state, and national experience in the public policy and political campaign arenas. On campus, Chandler managed a six-figure budget and 10 full-time staff members as Director of the Kennedy Political Union Lecture Series. He is a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. 

Chandler is currently a Master of Public Administration degree candidate at American University. During his free time, Chandler loves cheering on his favorite Washington and Baltimore sports teams, enjoying the great outdoors, and being with his family and friends.

Staff

Gus Portela

Executive Director
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Gus Portela is serving as the National Executive Director. Gus, born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, has been active in Michigan politics since his sophomore year in high school. Gus is a political operative having worked on multiple campaigns in Michigan and most recently as the Political Director for the College Republican National Committee for the 2014 cycle and on Rick Santorum’s Presidential campaign in 2012 as a part of the Delegate Operations Team. Additionally, Gus worked for the Michigan based firm Strategic National.
Gus worked his way up from being a member of the College Republicans his freshman year at his college, to becoming first Hispanic Chairman of the Michigan Federation of College Republicans for the 2010-2011 cycle, one that proved to be extremely successful for the organization shattering fundraising records, expansion in number of chapters, and improved online presence. Under his leadership, the Michigan College Republicans helped to bring a new Republican Governor to Michigan, a majority in the state house, and a super majority in the state senate. Gus’ work with the Michigan Federation of College Republicans aided in the capture of two Congressional seats, as well as, abetting the election of a new Republican Attorney General and Secretary of State.
Most recently, Gus was named to Red Alert Politics 30 under 30 and Newsmax’s 30 most influential Republicans under 30. As a proud Hispanic Republican, Portela’s biggest passion is to bridge the gap between Hispanic voters and the Republican Party.

Stefanie Petropoulos

National Digital Director
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Stefanie Petropoulos is serving as the CRNC digital director. At the CRNC, Stefanie has helped rebrand the GOP message, reaching the millennials through new language and innovative digital tools.

Stefanie joined the CRNC from the Republican consulting firm, DC London, Inc., where she served as an associate on the communications team. She graduated with a degree in political science and communication from American University in Washington, DC.  Stefanie is from the northern Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, IL where her passion for politics was fueled by the shenanigans of Chicago politics.

 

Catharine Cypher

National Political Director
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Catharine Cypher serves as the CRNC Political Director. She joined team CRNC in the summer of 2014 as our Midwest Political director, overseeing our Field Program in Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois. Catharine successfully managed our revolutionized field program on over 25 campuses, leading to Republican wins in seats that were previously held by Democrats. 

Catharine began her political career as the Campaign Manager for a highly competitive county commissioner seat, which turned out being a huge success. She later went on to working for her county party which enabled her to gain experience in state, house and senate races, as well as the Romney campaign. Leading up to her work at the CRNC Catharine interned for Congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-02) in his DC office and then went on to working for his district office.

Catharine is an alumna of Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she graduated in April of 2014 with a B.S in Legal Studies with honors. Catharine also has experience in working at top international law firms in the D.C area as a Legal Assistant but politics won her over in the end! Outside of politics, Catharine enjoys traveling and equestrian sports.  

Carolina Hurley

National Communications Director
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Carolina Hurley is serving as the National Communications Director. Growing up in Northern Virginia only a short drive from D.C., she had early experience with the political world. She graduated from Christopher Newport University in May 2014 with a double major in Political Science and Communications. While at Christopher Newport, she was involved with the College Republicans, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and served as a non-partisan survey research interviewer for the Wason Center for Public Policy.

Carolina’s political experience includes interning for the Newport News Romney for Victory Campaign, interning with Congressman Frank Wolf (VA-10), and press assistant for Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10).