CBS News Names Former Republican Operative as New Political Director

Caitlin Conant / Twitter screenshot
• March 22, 2018 11:06 am


CBS News President David Rhodes announced Thursday that the network has named Caitlin Conant as its new political director and that she will be based in Washington, D.C.

Conant will report directly to CBS News Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief Christopher Isham starting on April 9, and will be responsible for helping guide the network's political and campaign coverage, according to a press release.

Conant is currently executive director of communications for CBS News in Washington. In that role, she manages the communications and media relations for the Washington, D.C. Bureau and its correspondents. She worked closely with then-"Face the Nation" moderator John Dickerson and currently works with "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan and executive producer Mary Hager on editorial planning and strategic branding. Conant serves as the principal spokesperson on political, polling, and press access matters, and works on political and Capitol Hill outreach for the Washington Bureau. Conant also helped plan and execute CBS News' earned media strategy during the 2016 election cycle.

"Caitlin's background in national politics and her experience here at CBS News give her the strengths and perspectives to be a superb political director—we are all very excited that she will be leading our political coverage as we head into what will certainly be a fascinating and challenging political cycle," said Isham.

"After nearly a decade on Capitol Hill and presidential and Senate campaigns, I joined CBS News and the world of media," Conant said in a statement. "Nearly two years later, CBS News feels like home. I am honored and humbled to take on this new role, and am eager to continue to work with my colleagues here as we prepare to cover the critical midterms and the exciting election season to come."

Prior to joining CBS News in May 2016, Conant was a seasoned political operative who worked for eight years in the U.S. Senate and on several Republican campaigns, including three presidential campaigns. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Conant got her start in politics working for Sen. John McCain's (R., Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign. She went on to serve as McCain's legislative correspondent before working in multiple roles with then-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's (R.) political action committee, Freedom First, and his presidential campaign during the 2012 election cycle.

Conant also served as communications director for the office of Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) and as press secretary for Sens. Portman and Richard Burr (R., N.C.). She later joined Sen. Marco Rubio's (R., Fla.) 2016 presidential campaign, where she directed regional press and surrogate communications along with her husband, Alex Conant, Rubio's communications director at the time.

CBS News fired Steve Chaggaris as the network's political director in early January due to allegations of "inappropriate behavior" in his past.