Dave Tollaksen
Vice President

Dave Tollaksen headshot

Dave has provided strategic advice and led The Mellman Group’s research for numerous political, non-profit, and corporate clients. Named a “Rising Star” by Campaigns and Elections magazine in 2018, Dave was particularly proud to have been a part of Tony Evers’ team to defeat Governor Scott Walker in what The Washington Post called ”potentially the greatest victory in the midterms.”  Dave also helped the California Teachers Association and its allies turn back a $60 million effort by anti-education forces to elect its pro-education candidates for governor and superintendent of public instruction, worked with the DSCC IE re-elect Senator Jon Tester in a state Trump won by over 20 points, assisted Senator Maria Cantwell’s re-election effort, and helped Nathan Fletcher become only the second Democrat to serve on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in three decades.

In the past, Dave was part of The Mellman Group’s efforts on behalf of Senators Barbara Boxer and Daniel Akaka, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, Congressman John Barrow, the independent expenditure campaigns to re-elect Montana Governor Steve Bullock and Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and helped Scott Stringer defeat former Governor Eliot Spitzer’s “comeback” campaign for comptroller in New York City after being outspent by more than two to one while public polling had us, incorrectly, down double digits.

Dave has also helped win some of the toughest initiative campaigns in the country, including helping pass Question 7 in the most expensive campaign ever waged in Maryland, the first tax increase in California in over 30 years, a stem cell initiative in Michigan, and background checks in Nevada.

A trained focus group moderator, Dave has conducted hundreds of groups on topics from politics to health care, clean energy, the environment, the economy, civil rights, nutrition, and education, among others, in the United States as well as in Colombia, Romania, Israel and South Africa.

A Wisconsin native, Dave graduated from The University of Notre Dame with a degree in economics and political science with 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 Brew Crew or Fighting Irish.

Whether winning for you means getting more votes than your opponent, selling more product, changing public policy, raising more money or generating more activism, The Mellman Group transforms data into winning strategies.