J. Warren Tompkins has had an enduring impact on South Carolina politics for nearly three decades. Highly regarded as a shrewd political strategist, his advice has been sought throughout the Southeast in local, state and national races.
As a political science major at the University of South Carolina, Mr. Tompkins augmented his political education by volunteering his time and budding talents to local races, working in his first campaign in a 1974 magistrate’s race. But it was his volunteer work for Strom Thurmond’s 1978 Senate campaign that made people take notice. His tireless efforts on the campaign won him a position as Senator Thurmond’s Statewide Coordinator of Special Events. Mr. Tompkins later served as a senior advisor to Senator Thurmond’s re-election campaigns in 1984, 1990 and 1996.
His effectiveness got the attention of the South Carolina School Boards Association, where Mr. Tompkins created a legislative agenda for the Association that became one of the most efficient voices for education in the state.
In 1980, Mr. Tompkins served as the Political Director for Reagan for President during the South Carolina Primary. His advice was so valued by the Reagan/Bush Campaign during the first Republican primary in South Carolina in 1980, that he was named Executive Director for the South Carolina Reagan/Bush Campaign for the general election. He later served in the same capacity for the 1984 re-election effort and as a strategist for the 1988 Bush Presidential campaign.
A seasoned political veteran by the age of 29, Mr. Tompkins was appointed Executive Director of the South Carolina Republican Party in 1981, facing a huge deficit in the party’s budget and only a small number of party faithful to help reduce that deficit. Under his leadership, the party was reorganized and fundraising took a different approach. In just 12 months, the deficit was erased and active contributors soared from less than a thousand to more than 10,000 during his tenure.
In 1984, Mr. Tompkins had his greatest impact yet on South Carolina politics. He spearheaded the South’s most successful voter registration drive as more than 100,000 voters were signed up as part of a long-range plan Mr. Tompkins developed to impact legislative elections. The result? The numbers of Republican members of the South Carolina House and Senate doubled under his direction. And it was Mr. Tompkins’ aggressive pursuit of fairness that resulted in the party’s successful 1984 lawsuit concerning South Carolina Senate reapportionment.
In 1986, Congressman Carroll Campbell turned to Mr. Tompkins to help him become South Carolina’s second Republican governor. He served as campaign manager during the election and Director for Governor Campbell’s transition committee. Governor Campbell appointed him Chief of Staff, where he was a catalyst in the administration’s successes, supervising a staff of more than 230 people and budgets totaling more than $91 million.
Mr. Tompkins was the chief architect in developing the administration’s strategy for economic development, education reform, tax cuts, environmental protection, and government restructuring. He assisted Governor Campbell in directing more than $400-million dollars in grants for local and statewide programs, which created a blueprint for balanced growth, public safety and environmental protection.
His talent for crisis management was vital in South Carolina’s recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo. As chairman of the Emergency Management Review Panel, he directed a statewide effort to develop a comprehensive plan to diminish the effects of future natural disasters in South Carolina.
Since 1991, when he started private practice with J. Warren Tompkins, Inc. Public Affairs Company (which later merged to become Tompkins & Kinard, LLC), Tompkins has successfully provided government and legislative affairs guidance to public and private agencies, political organizations and candidates, corporations and individuals.
In 1992, Mr. Tompkins served as the Senior Southern Advisor for the Bush / Quayle re-election campaign overseeing eleven states in the Southeast. A few years after, in 1994, he became a strategist for Beasley for Governor and later acted as a co-chairman for Governor David Beasley’s transition committee. He served as his advisor again during Beasley’s 1998 re-election campaign.
In 1996, Mr. Tompkins worked on two federal campaigns in prodigious capacity. He served as the Senior Advisor for Senator Thurmond’s re-election campaign and as the Senior Southern Advisor for Dole for President. As the senior southern advisor, he oversaw thirteen southeastern states.
In 2000, Tompkins served as the Senior Advisor to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign and the Chief Strategist for South Carolina’s Presidential Primary. Bush’s victory in the South Carolina primary is credited to saving his bid for president and set off a series of victories solidifying his nomination. After the November 7 election, he was sent to Florida to participate in the historic Florida recount. His primary responsibility was to coordinate the Overseas Absentee Ballots in the election winning Bush the presidency. He acted as Senior Advisor and Atlantic Region Chair to the Bush / Cheney successful re-election campaign in 2004.
In 2002, Tompkins was a general consultant to Lindsey Graham in his successful bid to fill the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Strom Thurmond from 1955 – 2003. In 2004, he was a Senior Advisor to DeMint for US Senate. He also served as the Sergeant at Arms for the 2004 GOP National Convention, a post he also previously served at the 2000 Convention.
In 2005, Mr. Tompkins began a second and separate venture, opening a political consulting firm with business partner Terry Sullivan. The creation of First Tuesday Strategies served as an avenue to separate policy from politics. Mr. Tompkins is currently partnered at First Tuesday Strategies with Luke Byars, former State Director to Senator Jim DeMint.
In 2008, Tompkins acted as a consultant to Senator Lindsey Graham’s re-election campaign and as the Senior Southern Advisor to Romney for President.
At First Tuesday Strategies, Mr. Tompkins was a consultant to US Senator Jim DeMint’s 2010 re-election campaign. He has also acted as a head consultant to various state and local level campaigns with the political consulting firm. The firm is one of the top political consulting firms in the South and has extensive experience working with earned media, social media, new media, direct mail, marketing, television production, radio production, ad buying, web video production and most notably general campaign consulting. It specializes on grassroots campaigns, political campaigns and corporate development.
Tompkins was a consultant to the Romney for President 2012 campaign.
Aside from politics, Mr. Tompkins has served on many boards throughout the state. In the past he served on the Board of Visitors to the Medical University of South Carolina and on the Board at the Governors School for Math and Science Foundation. Currently, he serves as the Vice President of the Cockaboose Railroad Corporation and is a member of the Capital City Club Board of Directors.
Experienced in politics and government, Mr. Tompkins’ network of contacts at the federal, state and local levels, coupled with an unparalleled level of expertise and insight, will produce the desired results for government, public and private agencies, political organizations, corporations, and individuals through multi-faceted campaigns addressing every aspect of client’s needs.