John Kupper has spent nearly 30 years developing winning messages and press strategies for Democratic candidates and officeholders across the nation. Kupper was on the ground floor of President Barack Obama’s political rise, serving as a message and advertising consultant in both his 2004 U.S. Senate and 2008 Presidential campaigns. Kupper helped edit Obama’s 2004 Democratic Convention keynote speech that rocketed Obama to political stardom, and is acknowledged for his assistance in Obama’s 2007 bestseller, “The Audacity of Hope.”
Kupper helped edit Obama’s 2004 Democratic Convention keynote speech that rocketed Obama to political stardom.
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Kupper advised Michelle Obama, two of Barack Obama’s half-sisters and his mother-in-law on message and press strategy for their public appearances. He also worked in the speechwriting office at the Democratic Convention in Denver, reviewing and revising many of the hundreds of speeches given over the course of four days.
Kupper was the lead message strategist behind Rahm Emanuel’s 2011 campaign for Mayor of Chicago, in which he attracted 55 percent of the vote in a large field of candidates — avoiding the necessity of a runoff election. Kupper subsequently drafted Emanuel’s Inaugural Address and first Budget Message, and continues to advise the Mayor on a daily basis. Prior to the mayor’s race, Kupper served as message consultant and strategist for Emanuel’s 2002 campaign for Congress, and later assisted Emanuel’s successful effort as DCCC Chairman to return the Congress to Democratic control in 2006.
Kupper was the lead message strategist behind Rahm Emanuel’s 2011 campaign for Mayor of Chicago.
He served as a message strategist and press consultant to Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, whose 1998 victory broke a 30-year string of Republican governors in that state. Kupper played a key strategic role in Vilsack’s 2002 re-election, in which Vilsack came from behind to secure a second term.
Shortly after joining the firm in 1988, Kupper became chief speechwriter for Richard M. Daley in his successful campaign for Mayor of Chicago. Kupper has served as a strategist and message consultant in each of Daley four subsequent re-election campaigns.
Other mayoral races in which Kupper played a lead consulting role include Dennis Archer’s two elections as Mayor of Detroit; Lee Brown’s three elections as Mayor of Houston; and Deedee Corradini’s two elections as Mayor of Salt Lake City. Kupper has worked as a message consultant and strategist on a number of statewide and local ballot measures, including successful stadium referenda in Detroit and Cleveland, a successful school bond issue in Houston and several hotly-contested California ballot initiatives.
Before joining the Axelrod firm, Kupper served as press secretary for two Members of Congress: Henry S. Reuss (D-WI.), the long-time chairman of the House Banking Committee; and Lane Evans (D-IL.), the ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Kupper helped Evans secure a congressional seat in Downstate Illinois that had been in Republican hands for over a century. In a cover story, Congressional Quarterly magazine identified Evans as a “hometown hero” for his adroit use of the local press.
A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kupper graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Politics from Brandeis University. He is married with two children and lives in a suburb of Chicago.