Experience matters - our leadership team
Our team draws on our broad political and industry experience to develop personalized, data-enriched messaging and targeting to build winning campaigns.
Partner | Polling & Data
Hudson Talley, a campaign veteran and principal partner of Ascend Action, has an extensive background in campaign strategy, predictive analysis, and polling. Hudson worked on the Ted Cruz for President campaign in 2016 where he served as delegate strategist, managing district and state convention strategy for 15 states. He also managed field teams in Iowa, where the campaign won the largest number of votes in presidential primary history. After the Cruz campaign, he joined WPA Intelligence -- a Republican consulting firm in DC, specializing in voter modeling and campaign polling. Hudson served as project manager for many statewide and federal campaigns across the country, as well as managing the development of a grassroots engagement app used by nationally recognized campaigns like Governor of Texas Greg Abbott and the U.S. Senate reelection of Ted Cruz.
Partner | Strategy & Messaging
Holly Gerard has worked on campaigns for more than twenty years, from local to presidential race involvement, and has volunteered for campaigns and causes since well before she was old enough to vote. For over a decade, Holly Gerard has earned a strong winning record, built upon the realization that there was a significant need for a consulting firm that works only for candidates and causes that reflect shared principles. Holly works with the Ascend staff to craft a personalized blueprint for each campaign, designing a hands-on tactical ground game, innovative messaging approach, and a strategy that wins. Her expertise includes market analysis and opposition research, message development for target audiences, identifying and developing new and expanded market and advocacy opportunities, proactive neutralization of competitor trend-positive trajectories, crisis public relations, strategic development plan development and execution, and facilitating education, training, skill development of field teams. Holly is deeply committed to conservative activism, helping to organize GOP groups and teaching activist bootcamps, has served multiple terms on the State Executive Committee of the OKGOP and is Vice-Chair of her local county GOP. She has also assisted on numerous GOP initiatives - including serving as statewide co-chair of the OKGOP Courthouse Committee, the RNC Rural Working Group committee, the Executive Committee of the 2015 Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Permanent Organizing Chair for the Oklahoma Delegation at the 2016 RNC Convention, was awarded the Rising Star from Oklahoma GOP and is inducted into the First Ladies of Oklahoma by the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women.
Robert J. Crookshank, JD,CPA
Partner | Ethics & Compliance
A licensed attorney and CPA with over twenty-five years of financial and tax consulting experience, Robert has been associated with political organizations in assisting candidates for both federal and state office in the development of policy positions designed to bring effective, conservative, small-government solutions to the problems currently facing our nation. He has been a principal of Scott Jeffrey & Associates, a business consulting and management advisory services firm, since its founding in 2004, and has consulted on a variety of related business matters such as economic policy, profit recovery, internal control evaluation, and strategic business management.
EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATIONS
Mr. Crookshank holds M.B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and is a Certified Public Accountant.
National Field Director & Policy Associate
Christian Andzel has volunteered and worked for conservative candidates and elected officials for over a decade from school board to presidential campaigns because he has dedicated his life and career to growing the number of elected constitutional conservatives throughout the country. Christian's reputation of successful voter engagement and field advocacy to all communities, particularly conservative constituencies, energizes him to provide our clients his best grassroots work. Moreover, Christian's work in the United States Congress and with the Texas Public Policy Foundation prepared him to benefit our data clients with his research, analysis, and writing skills. Christian has had the honor of leading in grassroots activism, voter engagement, or public policy shops for Senator Ted Cruz, Congressmen Jim Jordan and Chip Roy, and groups such as the House Freedom Caucus and Americans for Prosperity.
Director of Campaign Operations
Joshua Kraft brings nearly two decades of campaign experience spanning from local to statewide races. A former Executive Director for the Oklahoma Republican Party under two Chairmen, Joshua has worked with candidates across the Sooner State. Additionally, Kraft has also served in other statewide leadership positions including serving as State Vice Chair and Secretary for the Oklahoma Young Republicans. His political experience extends beyond campaigns to party building; he has served at the local precinct level, the county election board and as a county chairman.
DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH
Joshua Boydstun added his talent to Ascend in growing our polling, data, and political statistical analysis team. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science. Joshua focused his studies in History, Mathematics, and Political Science. He has fit right in with our team with a hard work ethic, easy personality, and initiative in helping not-so-technically-savvy cohorts and clients in wading through technical conundrums. Joshua’s favorite pastimes include researching international politics, keeping up with current events, participating at church, learning new skills, and spending time with friends and family.
Shade McCurdy has always been known for his artistic abilities--earning him the title of "Future Picasso" by popular vote of his classmates as a Senior in High School. Almost as long as Shade has been drawing, he has also been interested in the political trajectory of the nation and what he can do to make a positive difference. In 2022, he was brought onto the Ascend team for that very purpose. In an era where marketing has become driven by quantity, Shade recognizes the value of quality media to ensure our clients make a lasting impression.
Technical Support Specialist & Voter Outreach Assistant
Andrew Gerard has always been about dissecting processes, and making difficult challenges understandable and solvable. He helps our clients navigate technology needs, and also is a prolific outreach aficionado - knocking doors and assisting with events and projects for causes and campaigns since he was in elementary school. Now a pre-medicine major entering his Junior year in college, he continues to assist campaigns on technological needs and helping to achieve voter contact goals.
Senior Data Analyst
Stephen Evans is a campaign veteran and data and technology wizard with experience on over a dozen campaigns. He’s worked with Ascend since 2018 managing field teams and conducting polling analysis for campaigns all over the region, including serving as deputy director for a statewide ballot initiative campaign. He specializes in data analysis, database management and computer programming. Stephen grew up in a home of all girls, which thoroughly prepared him for handling a stressful political environment with ease.
Creative Media Director
Reagan Elkins grew up in Chickasha Oklahoma where his father, grandparents, and great-grandparents also grew up. All of whom were business owners in the area. Armed with his dad’s 8mm camcorder, Reagan would spend hours making videos with his two brothers. Reagan later began making church camp videos and comedic music videos that he shared with his friends and youth group.
During his senior year of high school, Reagan entered a video competition put on by the American Bankers Association, and to his surprise, he not only won the regional competition but also national. In addition to earning a degree in filmmaking, Reagan also graduated from USAO with a degree in History. Soon after graduation, Reagan launched Intellego Media.
Reagan worked his way up in the corporate realm, where he began producing commercials for well-known companies like First National Bank and Trust, Standley Systems, and Hart Trailers, and has also worked on full length feature films, both in the US and internationally. Since the 2018 election cycle, Reagan has also brought his creative vision and technical skills to Ascend Action, creating impactful visual storytelling to help candidates effectively share their message and platform to gain the support of voters. Two of Reagan’s commercials were selected as winners in the 40th annual Telly Awards.
Technology and Web Development Director
Justin Talley has almost twenty years of experience in the planning and execution of software development and systems management. Justin brings to our team proficiency in software engineering, IT management and web development. Justin ensures that our clients web, data and security needs are met promptly and precisely. Although he enjoys his work in tech, his true passion lies with his barista skills. Although we don't offer Justin's premier coffee brewing abilities as an official Ascend service, we're always willing to bend the rules for any clients who stop by the office.