Gen Z campaign manager Amanda Peterson is fighting to turn MA red

“I couldn’t sit back anymore and watch the information from the media infiltrate my generation.”

Studying political science at Suffolk University isn’t enough for Amanda Peterson. So now the 19-year-old from Wrentham is managing Rep. Peter Durant’s campaign for an open seat in the Mass. state senate.

Amanda Peterson has always been drawn to politics, describing herself as “that 8-year-old watching the presidential debate.”

Peterson described her upbringing: “I was raised conservatively. But my parents allowed me to be an independent thinker. I did my own research as I got older.”

A high schooler during 2020 COVID lockdowns, Peterson watched as the media desperately tried to gin up a nationwide panic.

“I couldn’t sit back anymore and watch the information from the media infiltrate my generation.”

As a senior in high school, Amanda heard that her lifelong neighbor Chris Doughty was running for governor.

She saw it as the perfect opportunity to get involved with a conservative campaign. She began as the social media intern for the Doughty-Campanale gubernatorial campaign in 2022. After the GOP primary ended, she moved on to work on then-Rep. Sean Dooley’s state senate campaign team.

She described working closely with Kate Campanale, who ran as Doughty ‘s running mate for lieutenant governor.

Campanale’s husband happens to be Peter Durant, the state rep for the 6th Worcester district.

Amanda Peterson poses with Rep. Peter Durant and his wife, former candidate for Lieutenant Gov. Kate Campanale

When Gov. Maura Healey appointed Sen. Anne Gobi as the state’s “Director of Rural Affairs,” Rep. Durant eyed the vacant senate seat, knowing that flipping it red would “send them a message,” as insurgent politicians used to say in the 1970’s.

“When Pete decided to run for state senate, he called me up and asked if I would like to be his campaign manager.”

She, of course, said yes.

Some who have met her on the campaign trail are more than somewhat surprised to learn that the woman they’ve been corresponding with over email or on the phone is 19 years old.

“A lot of people think I’m Peter’s daughter. He has to say, ‘Nope. That’s my campaign manager!’”

Peterson believes her age is an advantage, as she brings a generational insight on issues and social media techniques that helps target younger voters.

Just because Peterson is years younger than the usual campaign manager does not mean she has different responsibilities. Her tasks include planning campaign strategy, outreach, volunteer recruitment, social media outreach and communication.

“It’s very convenient that I’m in the heart of Boston,” Peterson said, referring to how close her college is to the State House. “When Peter is in session, it’s very easy to meet up with him.

She admitted that the job can get stressful. But her organizational skills and devotion to the conservative movement in Massachusetts keep her focused on the end goal, a victory on November 7.

“I love what I do, so that motivates me every day.”

Durant won the Oct. 10 special primary election against challenger Bruce Chester handily, earning more than 60 percent of the GOP vote. Next month’s general election against Democrat Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik will prove more difficult, but Peterson is optimistic.

“I haven’t seen Zlotnik in a month or so, but it doesn’t seem like he’s campaigning as much as we have been, especially before the primary.”

“But I don’t want to get overconfident,” she added. “We are working every single day.”

The campaign has three or four more door-knocking days planned, as well as mailers going out, endorsements coming in, and interviews scheduled between now and election day.

Peterson described the extensive door-knocking campaign Rep. Durant and local college students conducted over the summer, when many in the district still had no idea that Gobi had resigned.

“The residents would say, ‘We really like Anne,’ and we’d reply, ‘Well, Anne’s not running.’”

Amanda has gotten to know the district well, describing it as relatively conservative with lots of sportsmen. Still, as in the rest of Massachusetts, there are many more “unenrolled” voters than Republicans. So Peterson shifted the Durant campaign strategy to fit this target market.

“Currently, the gun bill, called H.4135 now, and the illegal immigrant housing crisis are resonating most with Massachusetts voters,” Peterson said. “Sixty percent of voters are independent. [The liberals] are pushing too hard on these issues. It’s sending people over the edge.”

She believes the Commonwealth’s one-party rule, and the inevitable abuses of power that result, will drive voters to the polls even in this off-year.

Still, many Bay Staters remain out of the loop. So a big part of Peterson’s role is educating those who will be affected by Healey’s overreach that there is a legislative race that can… send them a message.

“I was standing out during (primary) election day at Spencer Town Hall,” she said. “We had the ‘Peter Durant for State Senate’ sign as well as a ‘Vote Today, 7AM to 8PM’ sign. You could see people driving by, looking at the sign, realizing it was election day, slamming on their brakes and turning into the parking lot.”

In Massachusetts, it’s always an uphill battle for the Republican Party. There are 25 Republican representatives out of 160 in the House and 3 senators out of 40. If Durant wins, he will be the fourth.

Peterson stated bluntly, “If the Democrat triumphs in this election, it sends a message back to Beacon Hill that the voters did not care enough that their rights are being stripped away from them.”

What’s next for Amanda Peterson? The energetic teen is already in the process of running for the Massachusetts State GOP Committee for the Norfolk, Worcester, and Middlesex district.

Since getting involved with conservative state politics, Peterson has never felt more empowered. “I’ve realized my perspective seems rarer to people than it actually is because of the media. I joined New England Young Conservatives, and I’ve seen how many of us there are. It’s very refreshing.”

The New England Young Conservatives is a brand-new community for people like Amanda who know there are more young patriots in the region than those in power let on. Young people can join the fight to collect signatures for ballot initiatives, gain resources for their own campaigns for public office, or meet like-minded friends and upcoming social events.

Amanda Peterson gave one more piece of advice to local conservatives who want to get involved.

“Contact me! I realized how easy it was to reach out and intern. Campaigns want your help no matter how old you are. If you make it clear that you want to help and your values match the campaign’s, it’s very easy to get involved. I encourage young minds to do so.”

Know someone who wants to help with the Durant campaign or future ones? Contact Amanda at (508) 594-9218 or at [email protected].

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