About the Madison Project

With the collective approval rating of Congress dipping as low as single digits, there is a broad consensus that Washington, D.C. is broken and in need of new leadership. Yet, year after year, over 90% of the incumbents win reelection, usually without any competition from within their own parties. It is our goal to usher in a new electoral paradigm and foster competition to challenge career politicians with conservatives who believe in the Constitution as originally drafted by James Madison.

During every election cycle, Republicans of all stripes campaign on a conservative platform. Yet, upon assumption of power, these elected officials lead a double life of talking the conservative talk at home and walking the statist walk in D.C. Ultimately, only a small cadre of elected conservatives remains from the army of conservative candidates. The Madison Project seeks to grow that army by recruiting and supporting candidates who will not only effectively articulate all the tenets of constitutional conservatism, but have the courage to fight for those values in the face of opposition from Republican Party bosses. We seek candidates who will change GOP leadership, not those who will be changed by the party leadership.

At its core, conservatism values choice and competition. We work to grow competition in Republican primaries against ruling-class incumbents who have grown stale and ineffective throughout their long careers in Washington.

Given that the career politicians tend to enjoy an insurmountable advantage over any conservative opponent as a result of their accumulated money and power, the Madison Project works to level the playing field for worthy challengers and help connect their voices with the millions of grassroots Republican voters and activists who are starving for authentic conservative change. That’s why we established our 14 in 2014 program in which we have identified 14 game-changing candidates whom activists can support wholeheartedly.

In addition, we believe that increased knowledge about the policy issues helps empower the citizenry against the power hungry players in Washington. To that end, we scrutinize every important legislative matter pending before Congress and provide unique analysis and vital information for voters to use when considering their support or opposition for an elected official. Aside from our daily updates on all policy debates, we publish The Madisonian, a unique forward-looking legislative bulletin that informs conservatives about the pending concerns in Congress before each new legislative week.

As part of our accountability efforts, we have created the Madison Performance Index, a novel yet simple measure that illustrates how each Republican House member is living up to the conservative expectations of their respective districts.

With a special level of dedication and energy to defending the Constitution, our commitment to arming voters with intellectual firepower, and our promise to find inviolable conservative candidates, the Madison Project is one of the few groups committed to restoring our Republic through wholesale change of the Washington political scene.

The Madison Project is not interested in merely complaining about the political class and the broken system in Washington.

We are one of the few organizations that actually seeks to replace the failed leadership of both parties with 21st century conservatives – ordinary citizens who have learned from the failure of big government over the past century, and believe in limited government and citizen-centric policies.

Other Madison Project Initiatives:

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Madison Project Leadership

Jim Ryun (retired Member of Congress)
Chairman of the Madison Project, Jim is a former World Record holder in the mile, 880yds and 1500m. A three time Olympian, Jim served in Congress for 10 years, representing the 2nd District of Kansas. Ranked the most conservative Member in the House of Representatives in 2006, Jim and the Madison team work to elect the most comprehensive conservatives in both the House and the Senate, focusing primarily on red state districts with the Madison Performance Index.

Daniel Horowitz
Daniel Horowitz is the policy director for the Madison Project.  An expert on conservative policy and the legislative process, Daniel compiles our weekly legislative bulletin, The Madisonian.  He is also a contributor for RedState.com and an accomplished writer.  His concise and timely blogs are read all over the web and in the halls of Congress.  Daniel is a frequent guest on talk radio shows throughout the country.

Mary Vought
Mary Vought serves as the Communications Advisor to the Madison Project.  She has over seven years of communications experience in Washington, D.C. Mary was most recently the Communications Director for Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin. Prior to that she was former Congressman Mike Pence’s (R-IN) Press Secretary at the House Republican Conference.

Drew Ryun
A former deputy director at the Republican National Committee, Drew is the political director of the Madison Project. After his stint at the Republican National Committee, Drew served as Director of Government Affairs for Jay Sekulow and the American Center for Law and Justice. A twice published author, Drew launched Media Trackers in 2011, a non-profit, investigative news site.

Kris Shafer
Kris Shafer is Deputy Political Director at Madison Project. His political experience started in Central Texas block walking in local races, quickly moving to State and Federal races. Kris was the Field Director for a Texas State House race in 2010, and worked for Senator Ted Cruz as his Fort Worth Field Director during the 2012 Republican Primary and Runoff election. Effective Grassroots Planning and Voter Identification, Communication, and Turnout have been largely ignored by the Republican National Committee. The Madison Project is committed to empowering conservative grassroots and is glad to have Kris as the Quarterback of grassroots organizing.