A major fundraiser for the Obama campaign who began his career in the early days of the Clinton White House, Griffin will replace current president Joe Solmonese at the helm of the $40 million organization on June 11, HRC announced Friday following a board of directors vote. Solmonese, who joined HRC as president in 2005 and said in August that he would leave after his contract expires at the end of this month, will continue in his role until June. Solmonese was named a national co-chair for the Obama campaign last month.
In its pick of Griffin as president, HRC has chosen someone who was shaped from an early age by Washington political culture yet who is not defined by it, having spent the vast majority of his career outside the Beltway.
Griffin, 38, is a fervent supporter of President Obama with personal ties to White House officials, but has pushed the bipartisan case for marriage equality, notably hiring former George W. Bush solicitor general Theodore Olson to co-lead the Prop. 8 suit and aligning with conservatives including gay former Republican National Committee chair Ken Mehlman, who has raised money for the legal effort.
Griffin has been openly critical of the president’s 'evolving' position on marriage equality, calling Obama’s indicated support for state’s rights on deciding who can marry “a step backwards.” And, central to the job, Griffin has a proven ability to be a formidable fundraiser.