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The Money Man

By Scott Pruden

August 29, 2016

The individual who manages fundraising for Hillary Clinton for all of Pennsylvania was just a student volunteer at a Democratic debate rehearsal a few years ago.

Giancarlo Stefoni

Giancarlo Stefanoni ’12 has a résumé linked to some of the biggest political names in town.

Tom Wolf. Edward Rendell. Joseph Torsella. Robert Casey. Kathleen Kane. Kathleen McGinty.

He’s worked for them all, assisting on the campaigns of two U.S. Senate seats, two gubernatorial runs, and a state attorney general’s office. It’s all the more impressive because this political science grad is just 27, and just four years out of school.

Fourteen months ago, he moved into the big leagues when he was handpicked to be the Pennsylvania finance director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The job makes him the sole individual responsible for all statewide fundraising, and puts him directly on the team that stands a good chance of winning the highest office in the country.

He owes it, he says, to Drexel.

THE BIG STAGE

“To say that my time at Drexel is the reason I’m where I am today is an understatement,” says Stefanoni.

He didn’t set out to be the go-to guy in Pennsylvania Democratic politics. He just always wanted to be behind the scenes of something big.

Starting out, the New Jersey native saw himself working for a record label or artists in the music business, so he headed to Drexel to study arts and entertainment management.

But his freshman year happened to coincide with the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, and when Drexel was chosen as the venue for an October 2007 Democratic debate, a friend of his invited him to volunteer to help out.

Stefanoni ended up assisting with minor but key tasks like helping the sound crew with microphone checks at the candidates’ podiums. Though it was grunt work, something about the process appealed to him.

“It was a really up-close and unexpected view of the presidential campaign process,” he recalls. “I got to see behind the scenes, the fast pace and the work that goes into putting on not just the show of the debate, but how it fits into the larger-scale presidential campaign.”

Politics hadn’t exactly run in his family, but it hadn’t been absent, either. His grandfather  had served as a city councilman in Burlington, New Jersey, for 21 years, but had left office a few years before Stefanoni was born.

“All of the interest I’d had [in politics] before that came from him,” he says. “Politics was present, but it wasn’t a force.”

That was about to change. His interest piqued, Stefanoni switched his major to political science and volunteered with Clinton’s 2008 campaign the following spring. He worked as a driver in the candidate’s motorcade, crisscrossing the commonwealth leading up to the April primary. When it was over, Stefanoni knew he wanted more.

Read more in Drexel Magazine