Dave Tollaksen has provided strategic advice and led The Mellman Group’s research for numerous political, non-profit and corporate clients. Named a 2012 Rising Star by Campaigns and Elections magazine, Dave helped lead The Mellman Group’s efforts on behalf of Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman John Barrow, conducted research for the successful independent expenditures to elect Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Montana Governor Steve Bullock and Montana Senator Jon Tester, and helped the For Maryland Jobs and Schools coalition win in the most expensive campaign ever waged in Maryland. In prior election cycles, Dave helped lead the firm’s efforts for, Senators Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Mary Landrieu, and Daniel Akaka, as well as Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer.
In addition to his work on behalf of candidates, Dave has particular strength in education research, having conducted surveys and focus groups for the National Education Association, the Ohio Education Association, the California Teachers Association, The New Jersey Education Association, The Council For Great City Schools, the Learning First Alliance and Communities For Quality Education. And in 2007, Dave was part of the team that, working with the Pew Campaign On Global Warming, helped pass the first increase in fuel efficiency standards in over 30 years, with both the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader citing the importance of the research in getting the bill through Congress.
A trained focus group moderator, Dave has conducted scores of groups on topics from politics to health care, the economy, civil rights, nutrition, and education, among others, in the United States as well as in Colombia and Romania.
In 2004, prior to joining The Mellman Group, Dave directed the persuasion and turnout programs in Rogers County, Oklahoma for the Oklahoma Democratic Party. Before joining that campaign, Dave interned for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and for Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. A Wisconsin native, Dave graduated magna cum laude from The University of Notre Dame with degrees in economics and political science and a focus on applied quantitative methodology. He uses any excuse he can find to make it back to the Midwest to play golf or watch the Packers or Fighting Irish play football.