Dave Heller Biography

Dave Heller Main Street Redistricting

Dave Heller is one of the top political media consultants and campaign strategists in the Democratic Party. As president of Main Street Communications, an award-winning political media firm, Dave has compiled the best won-loss record in the Democratic Party helping clients win election to Congress. Dave's clients have won 15 out of 19 general election open seat races for Congress (open seats being the most contested races). Overall, he has handled the media for 27 different Members of Congress.

In 2022, Dave had one of his best years. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a top Republican target, won re-election by the largest margin of any Democrat to win in a district Trump carried in 2020 (+13.5). She also had the largest percentage of the vote above President Biden’s 2020 score of any of the 435 Members of Congress! In addition, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), another top Republican target, won by double-digits in a tossup district and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) won by 19 points despite facing his stiffest challenge in years.

Helping Democrats win in “red districts” is what Dave does best. In 2010, his clients won 4 out of 5 “toss-up” races for Congress – the best record in the party, including U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), who won in a R+6 district – the only one of 15 targeted Democrats in a four-state region to win re-election. In 2012, his clients fared even better, winning 9 of 10 House races, including Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.), who won the closest House race in the country in a R+13 district. In 2014, while Democrats nationally lost 16 seats, Dave’s clients won 8 out of 10 races, including Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) winning re-election by 9 points in a R+14 seat. In 2016 and again in 2018, Heller helped re-elect Rep. Peterson with 52% of the vote, despite his running in a district in which Hillary Clinton garnered just 30.7% — the “reddest” district in the nation to be represented by a Democrat.

What makes Dave’s success unique is the ideological diversity of his clients. Dave has helped elect and re-elect more African-Americans to Congress than any other media consultant, including current and former U.S. Reps. Frank Ballance (D-N.C.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), John Conyers (Mich.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), David Scott (D-Ga.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Al Wynn (D-Md.). Dave has also helped elect many “Blue Dog” Democrats, the party's most conservative voices, including itsco-founder, Rep. Collin Peterson. Other Blue Dog clients include Reps. Bishop, Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Donnelly, Ken Lucas (D-Ky.), McIntyre, David Phelps (D-Ill.) and David Scott (D-Ga.). From the far left to the right, Dave has helped win many of the party's toughest races.

Dave has also won many mayoral races. He helped elect the former Mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh, and former Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. He also helped elect the first woman mayor of Cleveland, Jane Campbell; the first African-American mayor in St.Louis, Freeman Bosley, Jr.; the first Democrat in 16 years in Syracuse, Matt Driscoll; and businessman Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville/ Jefferson County, Kentucky.

In addition to his campaign successes, Dave has advised numerous clients on redistricting. In 2011 and again in 2021, Dave was hired by ClarkCounty, Nevada (population 2,265,000), to handle its redistricting. Both times his maps passed with a unanimous 7-0 vote; neither map was ever challenged in court. Dave also redrew the precincts and ward boundaries for the City of St. Paul, Minnesota (population 311,000); that map also passed with a unanimous vote. He drew the 2021 map for Ramsey County, Minnesota (population 550,000), which passed with a 6-0 unanimous vote, and the map for Sullivan County, New York (population 75,000), which passed by a vote of 8-1. His most recent map, drawn for the City of Evansville, Indiana (population of 118,000) passed with a 7-2 vote. Dave also helped draw the Maryland congressional lines in 2011 and has provided in-depth analysis and modeling for congressional clients in Ohio, Georgia and North Carolina. 

Dave is best known for his creative TV and radio ads: he has earned 19 Pollie Awards from his peers at the American Association of Political Consultants for his ads. In 1996, Dave was named a “Rising Star in American Politics” by Campaigns & Elections magazine. Dave graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with honors from Brown University and earned a Master's Degree in Politics (M.Litt) from Oxford University (Nuffield College). He also taught his own undergraduate seminar at Yale University.

An avid baseball fan, Dave owns the minor league Quad Cities River Bandits, the Kansas City Royals’ Advanced-A affiliate and the only Midwest League club to win four championships in ten seasons. Dave’s team was named “Team of the Year” by Ballpark Digest for 2021. The team’s ballpark was voted “Best Minor League Ballpark in America” by readers of USA Today and 10Best.com. Five times, Dave’s club has won Ballpark Digest’s “Best Ballpark Improvement Award.” The team also won Ballpark Digest’s “Commitment to Charity” award in 2015, 2017, and 2019 (no other team has won twice) and multiple U.S. Army Gold Awards for community service. In 2016, Dave’s organization, Main Street Baseball, was named Minor League Baseball Organization of the Year. Dave also serves on the Board of Genesis Health System, an IBM Watson Top-15 hospital. He and his wife, June, have two sons – Dylan (15) and Cade (12).