OUR TEAM

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JOHN PUDNER

President

Pudner spent 25 years running Republican political campaigns including the faith-based turnout in 16 states for George W. Bush and was first featured on Fox News after running Republican Dave Brat’s campaign to the historic upset of Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

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CHARLES HELLWIG

Board Chair

Hellwig, Wiechmann, and Pudner first worked together when all three lived in Virginia - recruiting well over 10,000 delegates to the 2-day Republican convention to nominate candidates. They worked the Virginia GOP conventions that set world records for a political convention in 1993, 1994 and 1997. Hellwig then moved to South Carolina where he built a real estate business and won political campaigns and now splits time between Myrtle Beach, SC and Raleigh, NC where he has been elected County GOP Chair, a position he left before taking over the Chair spot for TBAF.

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RANDY BROOKS

At-Large Board Member

Brooks is the CEO of Avast Real Estate and built his real estate operation of more than 100 people with his method of personal coaching ­- this following years of experience having interactions with politicians involving development deals. Randy is one of the greatest promoters of multifaceted efforts from Take Back Our Republic’s mission to supporting local youth sports. As a developer, he learned to build in acres for holding ponds and other methods to prevent developments from flooding due to a lack of infrastructure planning.

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PERRY O. HOOPER, JR.

President

Hooper, a key power player in Alabama politics, is named after his father, who in 1994 became the state’s first elected Republican Justice and first Republican Chief Justice to the Supreme Court since Reconstruction.  Hooper Jr., however, is a political force in his own right. First elected to the Alabama State House in 1983, Hooper helped guide the conservative movement in Alabama as a leader on tort reform, the creation of enterprise zones, banning partial birth abortions, and paving the way for new business development. Having a hand in most conservative victories in the state, he has also been instrumental nationally as a six-time delegate to the Republican National Convention.

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HILARY TUCKER

Board Member

Hilary Tucker normally worked behind the scenes as a speechwriter for two of the most influential conservative organizations in the country - the Heritage Foundation and the Acton Institute. A Boston University graduate, she eventually turned her attention to Christian classical schools in the South in order to help train the next generation. In the early 1990s, Hilary was among the first to address the Education Department’s promotion of a modern “Common Core.” Her cover story in Crisis Magazine “Fiddling While Rome Burns,” advocating the replacement of an education secretary, was an opening shot against the undoing of William Bennett’s important work of protecting and promoting traditional Western thought in our schools. Take Back Action Fund elected Hilary to its governing Board at the 2020 annual meeting.

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MARIA YOST

Board Secretary

After impressing other Action Fund Board Members with her scheduling and logistical prowess for Take Back Our Republic, the sister organization of the Action Fund, Yost was elected to the Action Fund Board. 

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LARS WIECHMANN

National Field Director

Wiechmann brings his skills and experience in field organization and grassroots mobilization gained through his career in Republican political campaigns and issue advocacy efforts across the country.  Now based in South Carolina, he started at a young age in his native Virginia, first as a Field Director in races for Congress and Governor, then as a Campaign Manager for Virginia legislative candidates that included upset defeats of entrenched incumbents.  He also served as Finance Director and built from scratch the fundraising operation that elected a first-time candidate as Virginia’s Lt. Governor - an upset victory over a popular member of Congress.  After the election, he served in the Lt. Governor’s Office as Policy and Legislative Affairs Director. (See also notes on Charles Hellwig above). 

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CLARK H. CARAS

Western Field Director

Following his morning routine feeding purebred sheep and Angus cattle on his family’s 110 year old ranch in the Utah Valley, Clark H. Caras trades in his boots for a pair of loafers and a tie to begin a day of “politicking.” For more than four decades, Caras has organized, managed and participated in campaigns at every level—ranging from local school board races to successful congressional, senatorial and gubernatorial contests. When he isn’t on the campaign trail or working to pass conservative constitutional reforms, Caras serves as a staff writer for three of Utah’s major daily newspapers. A graduate of Brigham Young University and alumus of a semester abroad with the University of Wisconsin in the USSR, Caras holds a B.A. in communications and political science. At Take Back, he is responsible for directing the organization’s west coast field operation.

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KRISTI FORTENBERRY

Georgia State Director

Fortenberry’s combination of military and political backgrounds tie directly into TBAF’s current effort in Georgia to advocate the advantages of using an instant runoff system to allow voters to have their votes counted without requiring casting a second ballot - a particular hardship for military voters overseas.

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JOSHUA W. JONES

Lobbyist

Joshua W. Jones has provided strategic counsel to some of the world’s leading corporations, political candidates and associations. Jones has consulted for more than 450 political and public affairs campaigns. His extensive experience in political advocacy, management and communications has translated into victories in nearly every state. During the George W. Bush administration, Jones served as a lead for the White House Office of Presidential Advance, where he was responsible for planning, organizing and executing presidential events. Jones has appeared on broadcast news networks, including NBC and ABC, and his work has been featured on cable news networks across the country. He is a frequent guest on syndicated talk radio. He has been named 40 Under 40 by the University of Georgia and resides in Atlanta.

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BARON COLEMAN

General Counsel

Coleman is more than just an excellent election lawyer. His work as a conservative talk radio host and tested political consultant that led campaigns unseating entrenched multi-term members of state legislatures prepare him for harding hitting battles, which have included leading the research team in the case that led to the indictment and removal of a House Speaker. Prior to the formation of TBAF, Coleman helped Pudner win local fights to stop zoning variances in the Midwest that would have led to traffic, flooding, and other environmental issues for communities.

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MATT BRAYNARD

Senior Advisor

Matt Braynard is the former Director of Data and Strategy for the Trump campaign. He drafted and executed the strategy of targeting low-propensity voters who had a high affinity for then-candidate Trump. He is the president of Braynard Group, a political consulting firm, and the executive director and founder of Look Ahead America, a patriotic voter registration nonprofit. He has worked for over one-hundred fifty federal, state and municipal candidates, including five presidential campaigns, and many national advocacy organizations and non-profits. He previously worked on messaging and survey research for Frank Luntz, was a senior redistricting and election administration analyst at Election Data Services, and served for three election cycles in the Republican National Committee’s Political Analysis department. Prior to joining the RNC in 1996, Matt was a field coordinator for Buchanan for President. He appears frequently as a commentator on Fox News, Fox Business, and One America News.

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