Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Political organizers work for a variety of different employers and provide the leadership needed to organize a political campaign. Some political organizers work for federal, state or local government candidates and help them get elected into office or remain in office once elected. Other organizers work for organizations like labor unions, mobilizing voters throughout the community when it comes time to vote on important issues or for particular candidates. Salaries for these organizers depend heavily upon who employs them and what level of responsibility they have.
The salary earned by political organizers can vary greatly and it is difficult to pin down any specific salary range for these campaign workers. However, because some political scientists work as consultants and organizers, the pay scale for those in the political science field provides a starting point and context for political organizer salaries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that political scientists made salaries that typically ranged from $48,720 to $155,490 per year in 2010, with a reported median salary of $107,420 and an average salary of $107,930.
The difficulty in ascertaining campaign organizer salaries is that the salaries are heavily dependent upon the fund-raising capabilities of the candidate and his success. Some campaign organizers work on a volunteer basis and are only paid after the election has been won. The lowest-paid political organizers are generally found at the local government level or working for organizations like labor unions. For example, a job post in 2011 for the SEIU Local 1000 in Sacramento, California, indicated a monthly salary range of $4,508 to $6,041, or about $54,000 to $72,500 annually for political organizers. Michael Janofsky of the New York Times noted in 2003 that Howard Dean's campaign manager made about $84,000 per year. The Political Consulting Blogger notes an average annual salary of $69,000 per year for campaign organizers in New York City as of 2011. The Campaign Manager Blog indicates that the lowest political organizer salaries can run anywhere from $0 to $3,000 on a monthly basis.
The highest-paid political organizers are generally associated with national political campaigns. For instance, Michael Janofsky once again notes that Joe Lieberman's campaign manager, Craig Smith, made about $15,000 per month, or $180,000 per year, as of 2003. Patti Solis, campaign manager for Hilary Clinton, managed to make the equivalent of $164,000 per year in 2008, according to Michael Tsai of Slate.com. These numbers correspond well with the Bureau of Labor Statistics statement that political scientists, in general, made more than $155,490 per year at the upper end of the pay scale.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects above-average job growth for those entering the field of political science for the period from 2008 to 2018. Increased interest in politics, along with increased activism at the grass-roots level, should continue to fuel job growth in this field. The bureau indicates that the number of jobs for political scientists will grow by about 20 percent during this time frame. Not all political scientists will become political organizers, of course, but this will be one job available to some trained in this field.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Political Scientists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics:Sociologists and Political Scientists
- American National Committee--Glendale Chapter: Employment Opportunities in Sacramento, CA
- New York Times: Merit Pay? Not Necessarily; Michael Janofsky; 2003
- Slate.com: How Much Do Campaign Staffers Make?; Michael Tsai; 2008
- The Political Consulting Blogger: Political Campaign Manager Salary; 2010
- The Campaign Manager Blog: What Does a Campaign Manager Make?; 2008
- The Atlantic: The Best Paid Republican Campaign Manager Is...; Mark Ambinder; 2007
Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.