Larry McCarthy has created some of the most famous and effective TV ads in political history – “Ashley’s Story” (2004), “Saved” (2007), “Chinese Professor” (2010), “Wake Up” (2011), “Baggage” (2011), “Basketball” (2012), and Senator Mitch McConnell’s “Commercials” ad. U.S. News & World Report named “Commercials” the best ad of 2014.
In 2020, McCarthy served as media strategist for two of the highest-profile Senate races in the country, helping re-elect Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Senator Susan Collins (ME). Collins’ comeback victory was widely heralded as one of the cycle’s best campaigns.
In 2018, McCarthy directed the media campaign to re-elect Governor Doug Ducey (AZ) and the independent expenditure campaigns supporting Governors Charlie Baker (MA) and Larry Hogan (MD). McCarthy also went 5 for 5 in ballot initiatives. All five initiatives initially trailed in the polls.
In 2016, McCarthy helped re-elect Senator John McCain (AZ) and created ads for Fighting for Ohio, the Super PAC supporting Senator Rob Portman (OH). McCarthy also wrote and produced ads for Future45 and 45Committee, which combined to air more than $30 million in ads critical of Hillary Clinton.
In 2014, McCarthy helped all three of his statewide clients win – Senator Mitch McConnell (KY), Senator Susan Collins (ME), and Governor Doug Ducey (AZ).
In 2012, McCarthy created ads for the Romney Super PAC (Restore Our Future), American Crossroads, Americans for Prosperity, Linda McMahon for US Senate, and Tom Latham for Congress (IA).
In 2010, McCarthy created the winning media for Senators in two purple and blue states – Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and Mark Kirk in Illinois.
In 2008, both of McCarthy’s statewide races won hard-fought victories. Despite dozens of attack ads from outside groups and a self-funding opponent, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell won a decisive victory for his fifth Senate term. And in Maine, Senator Susan Collins won with what both Stu Rothenberg and Chris Cillizza said was one of the best-run campaigns in the country.
In 2005 and 2006, McCarthy created national TV ad campaigns supporting the confirmations of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. McCarthy also created a multi-market statewide campaign for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bipartisan “Let’s Rebuild California” bond initiatives, 1A-1E. All five of the bond propositions won.
In 2004, McCarthy produced the most widely acclaimed ad of the year – “Ashley’s Story,” for Progress for America Voter Fund, the largest conservative agenda 527. The ad was seen in 10 states and on national cable. More money was put behind “Ashley’s Story” (more than $16 million) than any other ad in American political history, and Advertising Age named “Ashley’s Story” one of the top ten ads of the year, the only political ad so honored.
McCarthy also helped guide Senator Lisa Murkowski to a come-from-behind victory in Alaska in 2004.
In 1990, McCarthy produced the winning ads for California Governor Pete Wilson.
Along with historian Theodore H. White, McCarthy won the 1985 Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Documentary for the two-hour nationally syndicated special “Television and the Presidency.”
With co-authors Norman Ornstein and Andrew Kohut, McCarthy wrote “The People, Press, & Politics”, a book analyzing the ground-breaking Gallup typology of the American electorate (Addison-Wesley, 1988).
From 1981 to 1987, McCarthy was senior vice president of Ailes Communications. He served as a strategist/writer/producer for Senators Malcolm Wallop, Phil Gramm, Warren Rudman, Dan Quayle, Bob Kasten, Mitch McConnell, Gordon Humphrey and Dave Durenberger, plus Governors George Deukmejian and Tom Kean.
McCarthy is a graduate of Georgetown University. He serves on the Corporate Advisory Board of So Others Might Eat (SOME), a major Washington, DC charity.
He has spoken at many universities including Harvard, UC Berkeley, Northwestern, NYU, Georgetown, George Washington, Eastern Michigan, and the University of Louisville.