The demCROWD Team
Dedicated to Advancing the Progressive Movement and Action.
The demCROWD Founders each have diverse backgrounds and experience in the Progressive Movement. However, each has experienced frustrations with the limitations and challenges of most current political funding models.
Inspired by the grassroots fundraising model of the Obama 2012 campaign, and embracing new social media and crowdfunding technology, the demCROWD Founders came together to introduce a new supplement to traditional fundraising. demCROWD was born - a new financing tool that lowers barriers to effective supporter engagement; increases campaign transparency and trust; and harnesses the power of existing Progressive social networks.
demCROWD seeks to go straight to the collective Progressive voice to achieve measurable progressive action.
Jeff Ruppert, Co-Founder
Lead, Operations, Technology & Compliance
Jeff Ruppert is an attorney licensed in Ohio (1999) and the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio (2000).
Jeff is also Founder & Principal of The Ruppert Co, LLC (RCo), a Columbus-based law firm that focuses on campaign finance and election law and compliance; civil, criminal and administrative litigation; start-up and entrepreneur support; business and non-profit counseling; and legislative, regulatory and public policy research.
Jeff has also founded High Mountain Ventures, LLC (HMV), an investment fund and services provider dedicated to supporting "disruptive, inevitable, efficient and sustainable" technologies and processes.
Before forming RCo, HMV and demCROWD, Jeff served four years as Deputy Legal Counsel and Operations Advisor to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Jeff maintained a general practice of law in the Cincinnati-Dayton area as a litigator working in all levels of courts, both state and federal. Early in his professional career, Jeff served as Ohio Campaign Scheduler to Vice President Al Gore, and as a legislative aide to United States Senator John Glenn. Jeff has also served in numerous capacities – legal and non-legal – on national, state and local campaigns.
Follow Jeff on Twitter at @jaruppert, @highmtnventures and @theruppertco.
View Jeff's LinkedIn bio.
Joe Rettof, Co-Founder
Lead, Campaign Development
Joe Rettof has worked on over a dozen statewide campaigns in five different states across the midwest as well as consulted for many more. He has raised over $100 million for Democratic candidates, committees, ballot initiatives and non-profit organizations since 2006.
In March of 2012, Joe founded the Ohio Alliance, an Ohio investor collaborative dedicated to building a vibrant, robust and ongoing political infrastructure that will promote forward thinking policies and initiatives while helping progressive candidates win elections. Joe also worked in 2012 to raise over $2.5 million for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's coordinated campaign in the final two months of the election cycle.
Rettof was also the General Consultant for the successful election of State Senator Lou Gentile - the top targeted State Senate race by Ohio's GOP. Campaigns & Elections Magazine published an article detailing the data-driven, strategic approach that was used to win this election when many thought it out of reach against the onslaught of Republican special interest money.
In 2011, Joe was the lead fundraiser for the immensely successful We Are Ohio campaign raising over $32 million in just 4 1/2 months and winning with more than 61% of the vote. Prior to the We Are Ohio campaign, Joe helped US Senator Tammy Baldwin raise over $500,000 in just 28 days helping to clear the primary field for her successful bid for election to the United States Senate.
Kyle McDermott, Co-Founder
Lead, Campaign Development
Born into a family of steelworkers and teachers, Kyle McDermott was raised in Zoar, Ohio and graduated with a B.A. in political science from Baldwin-Wallace College.
McDermott worked in the labor movement for over ten years serving as the USW National Deputy Political Director, AFL-CIO State Director in Ohio, and AFSCME Ohio Political Director.
In 2012, Kyle served at the Executive Director of the Ohio Democratic Party, leading the parties successful campaigns for President Obama and Senator Sherrod Brown.
McDermott now serves as a Sr. Vice President at JVA Campaigns, a political consulting firm serving labor unions and progressives.
View Kyle's LinkedIn bio.
Ben Peyton, Co-Founder
Lead, Business Managment
Ben currently serves as a Finance Analyst for the City of Columbus.
Ben Peyton served as a policy analyst with Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank based in Columbus, Ohio from 2011 to 2014. Prior to joining Innovation Ohio, he served as a senior policy analyst for the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives for two years.
He has worked as staff member in the United State Congress and the Ohio General Assembly for multiple democratic members. He also spent multiple cycles on democratic campaigns.
He received his master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University in 2012.
View Ben's LinkedIn bio.
Malik Hubbard, Co-Founder
Lead, Campaign Development
Malik Hubbard has been involved in progressive and Democratic politics for over a decade. Malik began this journey first by seeing a need to provide resources and field efforts for voter education and registration in underserved and minority communities. While registering and educating voters in these communities, he developed a passion for civic engagement and this in turn led to more progressive advocacy.
Malik has served in many different capacities and roles over the years, such as the Ohio Democratic Coordinated Campaign Field Director in 2006, the Ohio Democratic Party Political Director in 2008 and more recently as the Operation Vote Director for Organizing for America - Ohio, President Obama’s re-elections campaign in 2012.
Malik currently serves as Deputy Campaign Manager for Friends of FitzGerald, the Ohio gubernatorial campaign of Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.
View Malik's LinkedIn bio.
Progressive financial, professional and technical support partners of demCROWD: