In the dynamic political arena of California, Courtni Pugh stands out as one of the most sought-after political consultants in the state. Her recent triumphs reflect her strategic prowess, serving as the General Consultant for two pivotal statewide ballot measures in 2022. She helped lead the charge for “Yes on Proposition 1,” securing a Constitutional right to abortion and contraception, and countered the controversial “No on Proposition 30,” known as the “Lyft grift.”
But Pugh’s impact extends far beyond any single campaign cycle. Over the past two decades, she has traversed the Golden State, orchestrating numerous statewide earned media tours that garnered positive press for her clients and causes. Her deep understanding of the political landscape—knowing the key players, the electorate, the validators that made an impact, and the right media markets to target—set her apart.
Long before the whirlwind of the 2022 midterm elections, Pugh had already made her mark by running a Mayor’s race in the second largest city in America and serving as a Senior Advisor on the crucial “Stop The Republican Recall” campaign. Her pivotal role from 2014 to 2017 as Caucus Director for the California State Senate Democratic Caucus marked a historic achievement—the first two-thirds majority in that house.
Beyond the state’s borders, Pugh’s influence stretched into the national arena. She lent her expertise as a consultant and senior staff member to numerous presidential campaigns, including Biden-Harris 2020, Bloomberg 2020, Kamala Harris 2020, Hillary Clinton 2016, John Edwards 2004, Kerry-Edwards 2004, and Gore-Lieberman 2000. Currently, Pugh serves as an Advisor to prominent figures like Katie Porter for US Senate, Governor Gavin Newsom, and Attorney General Rob Bonta.
Before her consulting career took flight, Pugh played pivotal roles within the labor movement, working directly for SEIU and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. In 2010, she spearheaded the groundbreaking “Cambiando California” campaign—a statewide, multifaceted $5 million independent expenditure effort in support of Governor Jerry Brown. This initiative, at the time, represented the largest Spanish-language paid media, mail, and canvassing operation of its kind.
In a state teeming with consultants and firms, Pugh’s unique distinction lay in her unwavering commitment to organized labor for over a decade. She is a trusted, known quantity. Pugh served as Western Regional Political Director for SEIU International, Political Director for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, was elected as Executive Director of SEIU CA State Council, and elected as Executive Director of SEIU Local 99. While in these roles, Courtni was nominated and subsequently elected to leadership including the California Labor Federation Executive Council, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Executive Board and the SEIU International Executive Board (IEB). She continues to work closely with labor, with deep ties reflected in the winning coalitions she has built for successful campaigns.
Courtni Pugh’s strategic brilliance may be best known for securing some of the most significant party endorsements in recent years. Leaning in and leveraging her extensive knowledge and relationships, she consistently propels her clients to success. Her unmatched understanding of Latino and AAPI voters often proved to be the pivotal factor in her campaigns. Her in-language media work across TV, radio, print, and digital platforms for campaigns like THE 2020 Biden-Harris Presidential campaign, Bloomberg for President, the DCCC, Yes on Prop 1, and For Our Future Nevada garnered national acclaim.
Pugh’s ability to assemble effective teams covering everything from paid media to field operations, communications, and polling consistently delivered victories across California. Her remarkable track record secured her repeated ranking in Capitol Weekly’s Top 100 Influencers in California since the list’s inception in 2009. From her contributions to electing the first female and AANHPI United States Vice President in Kamala Harris to her pivotal role in the “Stop the Republican Recall” campaign, Courtni Pugh’s strategic prowess propelled her into an exclusive circle—one of the first and often the only woman of color amongst California’s elite political power players.