HELENA — The Montana Democratic Party has turned to a 28-year-old organizer from Missoula to guide its efforts during the 2014 election cycle.
Andrea Marcoccio, who currently runs Forward Montana, will become the first woman to be the party’s executive director since the 1990s when she formally takes over in April.
She replaces Ted Dick, who left after guiding the party through the 2012 elections that saw them win key battles for the governor and the U.S. Senate. Dick now works for State Auditor Monica Lindeen as director of government and state relations.
Marcoccio comes on board as the party prepares to help U.S. Sen. Max Baucus’ re-election effort.
At Forward Montana, she helped a voter registration effort that some credit with driving up youth voters often helpful in Democratic races. The organization says it also tries to recruit and train young leaders.
“I feel like this is a great time to step up and be part of an organization that makes a difference,” said Marcoccio of the job change.
Marcoccio previously worked in the far northwestern portion of Montana on President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, trying to make headway in an area that routinely votes Republican.
Democrats said that background made her a perfect fit for the post.
“She has incredible experience in working with Montanans across the board, urban and rural, young and old, and everything in-between,” said state Rep. Bryce Bennett of Missoula, who sits on the party’s executive board and also works at Forward Montana. “I think she is exactly what we need moving forward into 2014.”
Democrats face some challenges, despite election successes last year that including winning four of the five state Land Board seats and securing re-election for U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in a fierce and expensive battle.
Republicans, again, easily won the state’s lone U.S. House seat — a race that has long eluded state Democrats even when they have been successful elsewhere.
The GOP also easily retained control of the state Legislature, and won the attorney general’s race for the first time since 1988.
Marcoccio, a Warwick, R.I.,-native who briefly played semi-pro soccer after starring in college in the sport at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., said she “doesn’t like losing” and expects more Democratic gains.
Marcoccio said the party will continue to focus on engaging voters with a ground game that involves a lot of door-to-door work.
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