Teresa Purcell is one of only a handful of consultants with deep expertise working with both communities of color and rural communities from coast to coast. Bringing a unique understanding of the non-profit sector, political, advocacy, messaging, and election processes, Teresa offers her mastery of campaign tools and tactics, expert knowledge of best practices, and a passion for ensuring that resources are wisely invested to build long-term capacity.
Teresa Purcell has consulted, coached, and collaborated on over 210 political, issue, public education, and advocacy campaigns throughout the United States. Teresa has served as a consultant, lobbyist, executive director, and senior project director, and has worked with state-based organizations across the nation – 34 states in total – as well as with many national organizations. In 1992, she managed the successful, long-shot campaign for the first female Senator elected from Washington State, U.S. Senator Patty Murray. In 2016 she was a candidate for the Washington State Legislature and defeated the appointed incumbent in the primary, then lost in the general by less 1 percentage point despite the powerful Trump tide in Southwest Washington.
In 2001, Teresa founded Purcell Public Affairs Inc. to provide clients with expertise in strategy, communications, and mobilization with an emphasis on building power from the ground up.
Teresa has recruited, trained, and supported hundreds of women leaders and candidates across the nation, while at the same time coaching leaders and board members to build organizational structure and capacity. She has run several multi-state campaigns to impact public policy, hold elected officials accountable, and increase voter participation. Teresa has extensive experience engaging under-represented voting populations and working across rural, suburban and urban communities on a variety of issues – including economic and social justice, reproductive health, rights and justice; and environmental issues.
As a candidate, Teresa defeated an appointed conservative Democratic incumbent in a 5-way primary by running a very non-traditional campaign – focusing on field and 21st century communications tools. The campaign had 160 volunteers, raised over $240,000 from almost 600 donors, knocked on 15,000 doors, and made 30,000 phone calls in a large, rural, southwest Washington Legislative District. She lost the general election to a Republican by just 559 votes, out of almost 57,000 cast.
All five counties in Teresa’s district voted strongly for Trump. Of the thirty counties in the nation that voted Republican for President for the first time in over 36 years, three of them were in the 19th Legislative District - Pacific County (1928), Cowlitz County (1980), and Grays Harbor (1932). Despite this overwhelming Trump tide, Teresa won Pacific and Cowlitz and lost Grays Harbor by only 252 votes. As a result of the 2010 census redistricting, very conservative Lewis County, where none of the Democratic legislative candidates got over 38% of the vote, was added to the district, making it a much more competitive district.
A native of Washington State and a graduate of the University of Washington, Teresa now resides in her hometown of Longview, Washington after having spent years living in Washington D.C., Olympia, and Seattle.