John “Chip” Saltsman, Jr. is a national political strategist. You may have seen him on Fox News Sunday, the O’Reilly Factor, or on MSNBC mixing it up with the Chris Matthews and Al Sharpton.
He currently serves as Senior Advisor to Governor Mike Huckabee’s 2016 campaign for president.
In 2010 and 2012, Saltsman served as general consultant to Congressman Chuck Fleischmann’s surprise victories in Tennessee’s 3rd District. In-between those campaigns, he served as Fleischmann’s chief-of-staff.
Prior to heading Congressman Fleischmann’s operation, Saltsman was National Campaign Manager for Governor Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign, beginning on February 1, 2007. Saltsman oversaw all aspects of the campaign, including political, fundraising, communications and operations.
Before managing Governor Huckabee’s campaign, Saltsman served as Senior Political Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist at VOLPAC, a political action committee chaired by Frist and dedicated to recruitment and support of Republican candidates for political office nationwide. In 2004, eighteen of the twenty-two races that VOLPAC supported were successful. And, in 2006, VOLPAC helped ensure the election of Senator Bob Corker over Harold Ford, Jr. in Tennessee.
His time at VOLPAC was preceded by working as Development Director for Senator Frist at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the 2002 election cycle, where he helped Republicans regain control of the Senate after the defection of Senator James Jeffords handed the chamber to Democratic control in May 2001.
In 1998, Saltsman was elected Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and quickly faced a crisis of conscience when his long-time mentor Governor Don Sundquist made imposition of a state income tax the centerpiece of his second term. Refusing to permit his party to betray its commitment to fiscal conservatism, Saltsman strongly opposed the income tax proposal, which failed after grassroots opposition from conservatives across the state inspired a tax revolt. Today, Tennessee remains one of only nine states without a broad-based income tax.
Saltsman next faced a seemingly insurmountable challenge as he worked to defeat then-Vice President Al Gore in his home state of Tennessee, despite President Clinton’s success there in 1992 and 1996 and despite the fact that Gore and his father had represented the state in the Senate for a combined twenty-six years. Saltsman’s hard work and political leadership ensured George W. Bush’s victory in Tennessee, without which Florida’s narrow margin would have been nothing but an interesting footnote.
From 1994 to 1998 he served as Administrative Assistant to Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist.
Saltsman has also worked closely with Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.
Outside of politics, Saltsman has served as a Director with Harpeth Capital Investment Banking in Nashville. He has served as Founder and President of S&S Strategies, and has been very active in the world of private equity, with a focus on real estate investment. He is also involved in several Middle Tennessee charities.
Saltsman was born March 24, 1968 in Nashville, Tennessee. He attended Christian Brothers University in Memphis, at which he earned his bachelor’s and master’s in business administration degrees. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and flying his airplane.