tags: Experts

Celinda Lake

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/page/-/imm08splash/images/pic-lake-100.jpg Celinda is one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists, serving as tactician and senior advisor to the national party committees, dozens of Democratic incumbents and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Lake and her firm are known for cutting edge research on issues including the economy, health care, the environment and education, and have worked for a number of institutions including the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA), The White House Project, AFL-CIO, SEIU, CWA, IAFF, Sierra Club, NARAL, Human Rights Campaign, Emily’s List and the Kaiser Foundation. Her work also took her to advise fledgling democratic parties in several post-war Eastern European countries, including Bosnia, and South Africa.

Since its formation, Lake Research Partners has become one of the most respected Democratic polling firms in the country, with its Battleground poll widely recognized as one of the leading national issue and election thermometers. The firm’s work has moved the progressive agenda forward on a variety of issues. Working against the conservatives, Lake’s research showed not to call their side “religious right” but rather “religious political extremists”. In the healthcare arena, her research showed that it was key to include getting health care costs down, not just the uninsured, and positioning the uninsured as 8 in 10 of working families. Her interviews and statistics have been quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal as well as a variety of magazines, including Newsweek, Glamour and Marie Claire, and Lake has appeared on numerous television and radio news programs, including CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News and NPR, discussing her work and providing expert commentary.

Lake is one of the nation’s foremost experts on electing women candidates and on framing issues to women voters. American Politics calls Lake a “super-strategist or, better yet, the Godmother,” and Working Woman says she is “arguably the most influential woman in her field.” She is renowned for her groundbreaking research on single women voters in conjunction with Women’s Voices Women Vote and has helped elect numerous female candidates, including Barbara Mikulski, the “Dean” of Women Senators, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Blanche Lincoln, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, Mary Landrieu, the first woman Senator from the South elected in her own right, Patricia Madrid the first Hispanic woman Attorney General in New Mexico, and the historic victory of Carol Moseley-Braun, who was the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate. She also works for Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House.

In 2006, Lake served as pollster for Jon Tester, who won an upset primary win and went on to defeat incumbent Senator Conrad Burns. This built on a long record of defeating incumbents, including Jerry McNerney who beat Richard Pombo, Tim Walz who defeated Gil Gutknecht, and previously Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, both of whom beat incumbents. In 2006, Lake was the pollster for the largest 527 in the House races that helped Democrats and progressives take back the House. Lake Research Partners has a long history in successful initiative campaigns. In 2006, Lake Research Partners helped with successful minimum wage campaigns in five states and was the pollster on the first successful effort to beat a gay marriage initiative in Arizona. In the 1992 election cycle, Lake oversaw focus group research for the Clinton/Gore campaign and served as a general consultant throughout the campaign. An experienced moderator, she is also credited with identifying key voter groups, including Reagan seniors, NASCAR dads, waitress moms, the marriage gap and generation D. In 2005 she published with Kellyanne Conway What Women Really Want by Free Press.

Prior to forming Lake Research Partners, Lake was partner and vice president at Greenberg-Lake. Her earlier experience includes serving as political director of the Women’s Campaign Fund, and as the Research Director at the Institute for Social Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Policy Analyst for the Subcommittee on Select Education.

Lake, a native of Montana and one of the political world’s most avid whitewater rafters, holds a Masters degree in Political Science and Survey Research from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and a certificate in political science from the University of Geneva, in Geneva, Switzerland. Lake received her undergraduate degree from Smith College in Massachusetts, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with honors and was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumna Medal by the College.

Lake Research Partners