Tyler Jones is a veteran political strategist and communicator, who has advised elected officials, candidates and businesses for the last 15 years. Named by Campaigns and Elections Magazine as one of the most influential Democrats in the country, Jones founded SPEAK Strategic in 2015 and today serves as President and CEO.
His ancestors first emigrated to South Carolina in the 1790’s, settling in present day Marlboro County before eventually finding their way to North Carolina. Jones grew up in Eastern North Carolina where he was raised on vinegar-based barbecue and ACC basketball. As a teenager, he licked envelopes and knocked on doors for various campaigns from Erskine Bowles for US Senate and Mike Easley for Governor. He moved to South Carolina in 2003 to attend Charleston Southern University, where he served as President of the College Democrats and a Student Senator. His law school plans were permanently put on hold after he was offered a low-level job on a presidential campaign in 2007, which he immediately accepted before even knowing the pay.
In 2008, he won his first campaign when he managed the re-election effort for State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis in a swing district in Charleston County. In 2009, he became the youngest caucus director in the country when he was named Executive Director of the South Carolina House Democratic Caucus. In 2013, he was named Senior Advisor to the House Democratic Caucus where he also served as spokesman for House Democratic Leader Todd Rutherford until 2017. In the legislature, Jones crafted legislative, political and communications strategy for individual members as well as the caucus as a whole. In 2015 he helped spearhead House Democrats’ successful campaign to remove the Confederate flag from the state house grounds, which he considers the proudest moment of his career.
Later that year, he was named State Director for Governor Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign in South Carolina. Four years later, Jones was the first South Carolina hire for Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 presidential campaign, serving as a Senior Advisor to the former Texas Congressman. In 2018, Jones served as chief strategist and general consultant for Joe Cunningham’s historic campaign in South Carolina’s First Congressional District where he helped flip a district that had not been held by a Democrat in 40 years. The Charleston Post and Courier called it, “the biggest upset in modern South Carolina history,” while The Hill described Cunningham’s victory as, “one of the biggest political upsets of the decade.” After the victory, Jones led Cunningham’s transition to Congress and served as general consultant through his 2020 re-election campaign.
Over the course of his career, Jones has led upset victories throughout the state. In 2012, he helped now-State Rep. Beth Bernstein unseat an eight-year incumbent Republican by 13 points in the biggest surprise of the year. In 2016, he managed the campaign of the then-State Representative Mary Tinkler, who defeated a Republican incumbent to become the first Democratic Treasurer of Charleston County in over two decades. In 2020, Jones helped run the insurgent campaign of Spencer Wetmore, who flipped a Republican-held state house seat in Charleston by 20 points.
Jones was born and raised in New Bern, North Carolina and is a die-hard fan of the Chicago Cubs and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. He and his wife, Lauren, a clinical pharmacist at the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Hospital in Charleston, live on Johns Island with their one year old daughter, Afton, and their dog, Leia.
Tyler is originally from New Bern, North Carolina.
His favorite movies are Hook and National Treasure.
When Tyler is at work his favorite music is, “Whatever that conference call jingle is called.”
Tyler’s first job was working at a community television station in New Bern.
When Tyler isn’t at work you can most likely find him watching sports or playing with his baby, Afton.
Something most people might not know about Tyler is that he used to be a musician and played in bars and restaurants in college.