"The James Carville of California"
Garry South has more than 40 years’ experience at very high levels in government, politics and business consulting. He has worked for both the federal government and state governments in three different states, including as Special Assistant to a U.S. Cabinet Secretary, Senior Political Advisor to a Governor, Communications Director to another Governor, Chief of Staff to a Lieutenant Governor and Public Information Director of a State Legislature.
In 2023, Garry South published a hard-cover book, "The Collected Opinings of Garry South," which consists of all of the opinion pieces he has written and published in national, state and local publications over the past 30 years — 85 in all. The collection contains a huge amount of California political
Garry South plays politics with gusto and has never been afraid to throw an elbow or two in the process. But beneath the pithy quotes and sometimes pungent observations is a deep understanding of our state and its politics.
As Secretary of Agriculture, I needed someone to monitor the political winds surrounding USDA and to separate the merely interesting from the important. Garry South was my point man in this critical mission and he always came through.
Garry South’s insights on California politics and his record of leading Democrats to victory make him one of the most sought-after strategists in the nation.
It is entirely possible I would not have been elected governor without the strategic brilliance of Garry South. There is literally no better person than Garry when it comes to understanding the relationship between communications, messaging and human behavior.
Garry South is a campaign guru like no other. He is widely considered to be one of the top political strategists in this state.
Garry South has proven himself to be an institution when it comes to political campaigns in California. He brings not just conventional wisdom to a campaign, but also a refreshing out-of-the-box intellect and sophistication to political strategy. Any candidate is lucky to have him.
As a guy who cut his campaign teeth in Montana, we’re proud that Garry South has become one of the top Democratic consultants in the country. He combines a scholar’s knowledge of political history with a gunslinger’s skill at political strategy.
I have known Garry South for 30 years and have watched him distinguish himself in the rough-and-tumble world of electoral politics from Washington, DC, to Ohio, to California. His contributions to my Administration as Communications Director were creative, tangible and far-reaching.
Even as a very young man, Garry South exhibited the political acumen and people skills to succeed in the worlds of campaigns and government. That he has done so doesn’t surprise any of us who had the pleasure of working with him at the DNC more than 30 years ago
Garry South is at the top of his field and the top of his game as a political strategist and communications expert. As a longtime friend, I can also say that despite his sometimes ferocious political reputation, Garry is also a generous and thoughtful person.
Garry South is one of the smartest people in California politics. He knows every aspect of campaigning, from local campaigns to running statewide initiatives and governor’s races. Perhaps most impressive, he is one of the very few Democratic consultants who understands business issues as well as political issues.
Garry South is one of those rare consultants with sharp political acumen and a fundamental understanding that at the core of successful politics is healthy relationships, as he has demonstrated over and over with the number of relationships he has with leaders in the business, government, labor, philanthropic and nonprofit communities. Garry is a man of his word: he says what he means and means what he says.
As Speaker of the California Assembly in the late 1990s, I came to respect Garry South’s political savvy and expertise in campaign strategy and communications. Garry is widely viewed by thoughtful people on both sides of the aisle as a premiere campaign strategist.
Garry South is a political force. He has one finger on the pulse of California and the other on Twitter trolling the President. He has been a friend for years who will always tell it straight, even when it is uncomfortable to hear.
Garry South has that rare combination of a tremendous intellect, keen political instinct, and decades of high-profile consulting experience. He provides immediate gravitas to any issue or candidate, and any client would be well served to have him as their consultant.
Messaging, positioning, strategy and public opinion are all key for businesses to maintain their place in the market. Garry South is truly a genius in these areas and an amazing asset in both the political and business arenas.
Garry South is a master at helping private-sector clients achieve results by educating them on how to craft business strategies that reflect the intersects between public opinion, the political system and policymakers. He also brings a refreshing energy and candor to this business that makes working with him a joy.
Garry South really knows the political environment in which businesses operate. He brings to the table a keen awareness of public opinion and political realities, and is an incredibly quick study in understanding complex company issues and goals.
Garry South is perhaps the most influential political advisor in California.
Garry South understands voters. Colleagues and rivals say South’s distinctive feature as a strategist is his ability to frame a broad campaign message – and zero in mercilessly on the vulnerabilities of rivals.
Consultants aren’t usually worth a story, but this one is. Garry South has shown a knack for foiling [former George W. Bush strategist Karl] Rove’s plans. Whoever hires South will get the state of the art.
In less than 10 years, Garry South rocketed from obscurity to stardom among the elite of political strategists in California and, thus, in the nation… [In the 2002 gubernatorial race he] even outmaneuvered the White House, forcing the administration into a last-minute scramble.
Garry South is the best California representation of the so-called ‘permanent campaign’ perfected by former President Clinton… the profane holy roller of California Democratic politics.
Garry South is a political hard-baller of the first order, a one-man momentum machine.
Garry South [is in] the front ranks of California’s campaign strategists.
Garry South rose to fame as the man who got Gray Davis elected governor, and then re-elected. South is smart and focused, and understands the sweet spot in California politics better than anyone I know.
Garry South helped make California a basically Democratic state. He’s the only campaign manager in his party in more than 40 years to have steered two winning campaigns for governor.
Democratic strategist Garry South has arguably the smartest political mind in the state, is screamingly funny and impossible to dislike.
Garry South is a person of strong and abiding religious faith, which may surprise those familiar with his pile-driving personality and blast furnace of a mouth, features engaged the past few decades by several California Democrats, including, most notably, former Gov. Gray Davis.
Garry South [is] one of the state’s premier Democratic consultants.
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