Mark Nickolas is a veteran of Democratic political campaigns on the federal, state, and local levels since 1996. During that time, he interned in White House Office of Political Affairs during the Clinton administration, and then served as an aide to Vice President Gore for several years leading up to the 2000 presidential campaign where he worked in several capacities in the Nashville, Tennessee national headquarters, including being one of the original political staff during the Florida recount.
In 2002, Mark served as deputy campaign manager on the successful 524-vote re-election campaign victory by U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) where he cut his management teeth under the mentoring of Steve Hildebrand, deputy campaign manager on the Obama presidential campaign and chief architect of his vaunted state-based ground operations. Thereafter, Mark managed several gubernatorial and congressional campaigns, including a widely-hailed 2004 congressional election in Kentucky where Attorney General Ben Chandler became the first Democrat in 11 years to win a Republican-held open seat in a special election in the country.
Following Chandler’s successful congressional re-election in 2004, Mark provided strategic communications advice for a number of congressional and state legislative candidates as well as creating and executing a successful public education campaign on planning and urban growth issues which also included independent efforts to elect and defeat local magistrates and county judges concerning that issue.
Beginning in 2005, Mark became a prominent national leader in the world of political new media when he launched his influential and award-winning political blog BluegrassReport.org, which quickly became a must-read for political insiders, opinion-makers, and newsrooms and led to countless stories in the traditional media. At the same time, he wrote a weekly political column for Louisville’s newsweekly (LEO), and became a leading Democratic voice on Kentucky television and talk radio concerning political issues. In 2007, Mark joined forces with CNET co-founder Shelby Bonnie and became managing editor of Political Base, a national political website that brought together analysis, commentary, and an extensive user-generated wiki and forums section. He’s also a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post, having published more than 75 pieces since 2008.
In 2010, Mark briefly returned to political campaign work when he served as deputy campaign manager to New York Gov. David Paterson. In January 2011, Mark began work on his Master’s of Arts degree in Media Studies and Film at The New School in New York City where he is focusing on documentary media and film form with the goal of becoming a political documentary filmmaker.
Originally from Oakland, California, Mark is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and presently lives in Brooklyn, New York.