Garrett Arwa

Garrett Arwa

Executive Director, Michigan Democratic Party


Experienced Political Campaigner with experiences managing issue, constituency, and electoral campaigns. I have managed a State Party for two years. I have three cycles of budget experience and 7 years of political management experience. Political outreach included Labor, Constituency Leaders and Organizations, progressive organizations, and elected officials.

My academic background is in International Relations focusing specifically on the Middle East and Africa, and studying democratization and political economy trends. My academic background compliments my experience building relationships in diverse communities, working within and managing a teams, and developing and executing budgets.

Academic Accomplishments

New England Political Science Association Annual Conference

April 2007

Newton MA

  • Presented a paper on Oil and Democracy in Kuwait as part of the Post Colonial Politics panel


Oil vs. Democracy: Oil rent, social groups, and democratization in Middle East Monarchies

ISBN-13: 9781243392329

Publisher: BiblioLabsII

Publication date: 9/1/2011

Pages: 78



Work History

Work History
May 2013 - Present

Executive Director

Michigan Democratic Party
  • Managed two-year expenditures through the MDP of $22 Million, including an operating budget of $4.6 million. Grew Party Membership from 11,000 to 21,000, expanded active e-mail list to over 200,000, and increased contributions from individuals by 93% over 2012. Managed a staff of 11.
  • Implemented a $4 Million Coordinated Campaign operation that included 100 staff and generated 2.8 Million Voter Contact Attempts. Implemented $ 9 Million in paid communications through the MDP Independent Expenditure Program, including TV, Radio, Mail, and Digital Advertising.
  • Oversaw all major party functions and event including two Statewide Conventions, 2014 Jefferson Jackson Dinner that netted $300,000, and five major Principal Visits in 2014. Also spoke on-the-record on behalf of the MDP.
May 2012 - Nov 2012

Michigan Operation Vote Director

Obama for America

  • Developed and executed a $650,000 GOTV budget through the Michigan Coordinated Campaign that included direct mail, digital ads, working with six printing and direct voter contact vendors, executing a campus program, and executing a paid canvass program in 12 cities. The funds for this budget were procured from several statewide and district-based campaigns, and involved funding the transfer of a labor-funded ballot initiative staff to the Coordinated Campaign.
  • Developed and executed a $180,000 Absentee Voter program through the Michigan Coordinated Campaign which included a mail program, paid and volunteer direct voter contact, and a Detroit Vote-In-Person push. The program resulted in over 50,000 targeted voters in  our universe voting absentee, a record 85,000 AV voters in Detroit, and a record 1.2 million AV voting in Michigan overall in a year where voter turnout was down from 2008 overall.
  • Managed a statewide constituency program that engaged a dozen targeted communities with outreach to constituency leaders and organization, recruiting surrogates, and building grassroots volunteer capacity from within each community. Hired and managed 3 staff in this department.
Apr 2011 - May 2012

State Director

Obama for America

  • Responsible for drafting several monthly and quarterly state-specific campaign plans.
  • Responsible for hiring six departmental directors.
  • Responsible for political outreach to Democratic party leaders, elected officials, labor unions, and other democratic campaigns. Outreach included over 100 one-on-one meetings, dozens of speaking engagements, and managing our Political database SEAT. 
  • Responsible for setting up statewide Constituency program which included outreach to leaders in a dozen targeted communities and demographics and hiring deputy directors.
Apr 2009 - Apr 2011

State Director

Organizing for America in Michigan
  • Responible for drafting and implementing a statewide issue/electoral organizing campaigns including the push for the Affordable Care Act, the push for Frank-Dodd Wall Street Reform Act, and Vote 2010. Managed a staff of 7.
  • The push for the Affordable Care Act included delivering over 20,000 petitions to member of Congress, 21,000 Michiganders call their congressional member or visit a district office in person, organizing education forums, and organizing earned media events.
  • The push for Wall-Street reform included organizing earned media events.
  • On-the-record interview experience
  • Drafted and posted all digital content on Facebook, twitter, and our Michigan blog
Aug 2010 - Nov 2010

Field Director

Michigan Coordinated Campaign
  • Responsible for managing a staff of 15 organizers and 1 GOTV Director, conducting political outreach and coordinating with other campaigns, and drafting and implementing a $300K GOTV plan and budget.
  • Worked closely with two DCCC Red to Blue races, including helping Congressman Gary Peters (MI-09) get re-elected.
Sep 2007 - Nov 2008


Obama for America

Regional Get Out the Vote Lead- September 2008 to November 2008-Gainesville, FL

  • Coordinated early voting and GOTV logistics with 12 organizers and over 50 staging areas in 12 Counties in North Central Florida.
  • Region above 100% of early vote goal, and 87% of total vote goal.

Regional Field Director- June 2008 to September 2008- Columbus, GA 

  • Responsibly for accountability and management of 20 counties, 8 organizers, and 4 field offices in West Central Georgia.

Field Organizer and Delegate Tracker- February 2008 to June 2008- Waco, TX

  • Won Bell County by 17% (24030 total votes)
  • Part of small Texas State Democratic Convention team managing 15,000+ delegates and alternates at the largest caucus in the country, resulting in 3 extra national delegates.

Regional Field Coordinator- January 2008 to February 2008- Columbus, GA

  • Won Muscogee County with 71% of the vote.

Field Organizer- September 2007 to January 2008-Manchester, NH


Jan 2006 - Sep 2008


University of New Hampshire
Aug 1999 - May 2003


Syracuse University



Budget Writing and Management

Microsoft Powerpoint

Expression Engine

Blue State Digital