George E. BirnbaumPartner
George Birnbaum joined Avenue Strategies in mid-2017, but came of age during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. He first signed onto Congressman Bob McEwen’s (R-OH) tough reelection campaign, and later worked on campaigns in North Carolina, Florida and Virginia.
During the 1996 cycle, Birnbaum served as deputy political director and director of survey research under National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Alfonse D’Amato. Birnbaum’s work on several key races helped ensure that Republicans maintained their hold on the U.S. Senate. Subsequently, Birnbaum managed Charlie Crist’s 1998 challenger campaign against incumbent Senator Bob Graham in Florida. Though unsuccessful, the campaign helped set up Crist for his later successful runs for Florida state education commissioner, Attorney General, and Governor.
It was after the 1996 cycle that Birnbaum’s career took an international turn, when he agreed to consult for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign. Birnbaum eventually served as Netanyahu’s chief of staff, a position he held for a year and a half.
Since 2003, Birnbaum has consulted and managed campaigns throughout Europe and the Middle East. He is credited with having helped elected Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon, Chancellor of Austria Alfred Gussenbauer, Prime Minister of Bulgaria Sergey Stanishev, Prime Minister of Romania Colin Taricaneau, Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci, and President of Serbia Boris Tadic. In 2008, he helped elect Nir Barkat as Mayor of Jerusalem, and in 2009 he helped Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party become the 3rdlargest party in Israel – a position of strength which resulted in Mr. Lieberman’s ascension to the position of Foreign Minister in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s cabinet.
In 2010, Birnbaum helped with electing Prime Minister Peter Necas in the Czech Republic at a time when the free-market political party ODS was on the verge of losing. Also in 2010, the Birnbaum helped the center-right Fidesz party win a sixty percent majority in the Hungarian parliament, a record-setting achievement for any political party in any country since the founding of the European Union. Then again in 2014, the he helped re-elect Prime Minister Victor Orban in Hungary with a two-thirds majority making it the first time in European history to re-elect a Prime Minister with such a large majority.
In 2013, Mr. Birnbaum was integral in advising Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Lieberman of Israel to unite their two parties and run as a single party in the Israeli national elections. This strategy helped re-elect Prime Minister Netanyahu as Prime Minister.
In late 2014, Mr. Birnbaum was part of the team that provided the President of Azerbaijan the first ever “western-style” election-day exit surveys that were published in real time on the national news. This involved the training of over 1,000 local field personnel and the establishment of a data collection center in Baku. 2014 also saw Mr. Birnbaum working on national campaigns in the Republic of Moldova and Zanzibar. Early in 2015, he worked on the national campaign in Israel that saw Prime Minister Netanyahu re-elected to an unprecedented 4thterm as well as having worked on the Presidential elections in Nigeria.
In 2016, Dr. Ben Carson asked George to come on board as his chief policy advisor for Israel and the Middle East. In addition to those duties, Mr. Birnbaum also co-chaired debate preparation for Dr. Carson as well as help develop communications for the campaign.
Early 2017 had Mr. Birnbaum working on the national elections in Serbia and Austria. Much of his focus during 2017 was spent working on the international elections for the new Director General of UNESCO.
Mr. Birnbaum is often sought out for his insight and commentary regarding the international political situation and has appeared dozens of times on CNN, FOX, BBC as well having been interviewed over 100 times for radio and print media.