Ethan Zorfas Helps Lead Ted Cruz Crusade

When 10 candidates squared off in the 1st GOP debate earlier this month, plenty of Westporters watched closely.

Republicans searched for the best leader. Democrats anticipated a train wreck.

Ethan Zorfas wanted to see how well his boss would do.

The 2003 Staples High  School graduate is one of Ted Cruz’s senior advisors, concentrating on the Northeast. So when New Hampshire holds its 1st-in-the-nation primary 6 months from now, Zorfas’ work may well determine whether the Texan is on a path to the White House — or back to the Senate.

Ethan Zorfas' job is to help Senator Ted Cruz (3rd from right) break out of the GOP pack. Besides these 10, 7 other Republicans are running for president.

Ethan Zorfas’ job is to help Senator Ted Cruz (3rd from right) break out of the GOP pack. Besides these 10, 7 other Republicans are running for president.

It’s a job Zorfas would never have expected a dozen years ago. His main passion entering Staples was basketball. He played it well — and earned Academic All-State honors.

But in his first few days of junior year, terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Lis Comm’s English class spent days talking about how the world suddenly changed.

“I woke up to the outside world,” Zorfas recalls. “For the first time, I realized that policy matters.”

Social studies teacher Justin Cosell opened his eyes to politics. In class, Zorfas learned how to write a bill.

“He was a huge liberal. I was more conservative,” Zorfas says, of the instructor who happens to be Howard Cosell’s grandson.

But a friendship grew. Today, they still talk often about politics.

After graduating, Zorfas headed to Clark University in Worcester. “That’s another liberal school,” he laughs.

Ethan Zorfas

Ethan Zorfas

He joined with a few non-liberals to reactivate a dormant Republican  Club. And he earned $100 a day knocking on doors in New Hampshire during President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign.

After earning a master’s in public administration from Clark, Zorfas worked on a handful of campaigns. He joined the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2008 — “a tough cycle,” Zorfas admits — and stayed on to organize fundraising for congressmen Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming. He then branched out into political consulting for others.

In 2010 he was hired as chief of staff by New Hampshire congressman Frank Guinta. At 25, Zorfas may have been the youngest chief of staff on Capitol Hill.

When Guinta was defeated in 2012, Zorfas restarted his small firm, MarblePort Consulting. (The name combines Marblehead — where he lived as a child — and Westport.)

Zorfas’ New Hampshire ties made him a hot commodity in GOP circles. After the 2014 election cycle, he examined the wide swath of presidential candidates to find the best fit.

Cruz rose to the top of Zorfas’ list.

“If you really want to change Washington and how things work, he’s the only one in the field who can do that,” the consultant explains.

Zorfas had breakfast with the senator in New Hampshire, then flew to Texas.

“I’d only seen him on TV,” Zorfas recalls. “But I was impressed that he’d been solicitor general of Texas, and a clerk for (Supreme Court Chief Justice William) Rehnquist. His constitutional knowledge blew me away.”

They talked about how Zorfas could help Cruz be competitive in New Hampshire. Then, wham: The 30-year-old signed on as a key advisor.

Senator Ted Cruz (Photo/NH Journal)

Senator Ted Cruz (Photo/NH Journal)

His job now is to develop and implement strategies for Cruz to succeed in the Northeast. Zorfas is helping build the campaign infrastructure, and provides perspective to other Cruz advisors.

He speaks frequently with the candidate. “He’s taking New Hampshire very seriously,” Zorfas says.

Zorfas has worked on local, congressional and Senate races. Yet a presidential campaign is orders of magnitude different. Half a year before the first primary votes are cast, he already feels exponentially more energy and enthusiasm.

This month’s Fox News debate marked a major moment, Zorfas says. He sat with 200 supporters at the carefully chosen Texas Roadhouse in Nashua. Like a true professional, Zorfas says, “The feedback is that the senator spoke well, and had a clear message.”

Zorfas knows that a pro-life, gun-rights, anti-same-sex-marriage, climate-change denying Texan is not the first choice of most Westporters. Especially those Westporters who graduated with Zorfas in 2003.

“I had a great group of friends,” he says with pride. “We still talk on a daily basis. Most of them are probably Democrats. But I think they’re very proud of me and my accomplishments, as I am of them. They think it’s great that I can grow my career like this.”

And, he says, “we always have great debates.”

So if Senator Cruz becomes President Cruz, what job would Zorfas want?

“It’s way too early to think about that,” he says with the ease of a practiced politician. “Right now we’re all just focused on winning a 17-person race.”

He has no desire to run for office himself. “Seeing candidates go through what they do, I’m happy where I am,” Zorfas noted. “I love what I do.”

And Ted Cruz loves having this Connecticut-raised, New Hampshire-tested advisor on his very senior national staff.

83 responses to “Ethan Zorfas Helps Lead Ted Cruz Crusade

  1. A. David Wunsch

    Question for Zorfas: How can your conscience let you support a candidate who denies that there is man made climate change ? This is science denial at its most egregious.
    ADW Staples 1956

    • You drank the Kool Aid. Show us all the empirically derived cause and effect relationship between climate change and human activity. Show us the mathematical model. For the MMGW believers, there is no science; it is a faith based cult.

      • Ted Friedman

        Michael, we all remember when the same nonsensical line was used for smoking/lung cancer, NFL football/CTE, gun availability/mass murders, etc. etc. etc.

        As for Mr. Zorfas, I don’t agree with his or Mr Cruz’s politics but admire his passion and success in his career to date.

        • If you have the empirical evidence of cause and effect to support the MMGW hypothesis, please present it. If you have any peer reviewed articles in which cause and effect are determined using empirical methods please present them.

          • Michael, why is it that our legal system only requires a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard to sentence someone to death but you and your ilk require 100% proof to not condemn the planet to death? The vast majority of scientists believe we have more than met the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

      • Russell Gontar

        Hey Michael.

        This is what NASA ( says about it: “…Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position….” The article includes links to several of those studies so go knock yourself out.

        You know Michael, what’s so disturbing about folks like you is that you’re willing to bet life on planet earth on the premise that human activity doesn’t significantly contribute to global warming, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that it does.

        • Still no test for cause and effect. You know Russell what is disturbing about people like you is that you are innumerate. The consensus is both a myth and irrelevant. People like you are willing to bet the future of mankind on junk science. It may be the climate is warming, it may also be the case that there is no way human activity can influence the change, it which case what you and the MMGW cult advocate is foolish. Instead of wasting $trillions chasing windmills, maybe we should spend that money building an infrastructure that can withstand the consequences of a warming climate.

          • Russell Gontar


            I’d agree with you that money should be spent to repair our crumbling infrastructure, but the Republican party could care less about that. They’re only concerned with repealing the affordable care act and overturning Roe V. Wade. Good luck with that in the general election.

            As far as the cause and effect question, you may want to check out the fourth assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which, which cites OVER 6,000 PEER REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC STUDIES, (is that numerate enough for you?) and they conclude that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal”, and “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

            • There are no tests for causality. Do you know what they look like?

              • Russell Gontar

                Yes, they look like the 6,000 peer reviewed research studies, all of which conclude with a greater likelihood of MMGW than not. That’s how science works, it doesn’t require 100% proof of causality.

            • Jeff Arciola

              Just blame the republicans. That’s what you liberals do.

              • Russell Gontar

                Gee Jeff. You forgot to mention the Kool-aid. But you’re right. I absolutely blame the republicans. We can thank that party for two wars and for blowing up the economy amoung their many other “accomplishments”.

                • We can thank the Democrats for four wars, and the slowest economic recovery in the post-war period.

                  • Russell Gontar

                    Dude. The economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month when Obama took over. We’ve been adding about 200,000 jobs a month for many months. Unemployment was pushing 10% in 2008-2009. It’s now around 5.5%.

                    What wars are you talking about? Your peers and neighbors await your insight.

                    • WWI, WW II, Korea, Vietnam. Obama has been President for over six years. The economic recovery is the slowest in the post war period

                    • Bart Shuldman

                      As a neighbor I will respond-as this has been the slowest and weakest recovery after a recession. With a steep decline, the economy should have experienced a steep incline. Instead, as we watch everyday, the Fed keeps interest rates at extremely low rates because there has been very little recovery.

                      While the jobless rate has improved, the Labor Force Participation Rate is the lowest in over 30 years-meaning-which measures the many workers who have become discouraged and stop looking for work. This truly shows we have not had a job growth, economic recovery.

                      You could argue that Obama has helped the wealthy and corporations as we have had an asset recovery. And also argue Obama has hurt the middle and lower class as jobs have not materialized. Kind of interesting if you think about what he says and wants to do-but wha the real outcome has been.

                  • Russell Gontar

                    W sent us into hell with Iraq, a war he planned with Cheney before 9/11 happened and you’re equating that with WW 1 and 2?.

                  • Russell Gontar

                    The GOP crashed the economy and you have the audacity to complain about the speed of the recovery while your buddies have obstructed the president’s efforts to fix it every step of the way.

  2. A. David Wunsch

    Forget the Kool Aid. I could accuse you of drinking the Koch brothers beverage. Fact: 97 percent of peer reviewed papers in scientific journals support the model of man made climate change. In a century, today’s climate change deniers will be regarded with the same contempt that we hold slavery’s defenders in 1860.

    See the above article in the National Geographic– not exactly a radical publication.
    ADW Staples 1956

    • You presented no test for causality. Science is not a matter of consensus. I did not expect you to understand the question.

      • BTW now you have changed your claim “climate change deniers”; nice try at the old left two step. The climate has been changing since there has been a climate. There is absolutely no evidence that human activity has influenced the change.

        • Nancy W Hunter

          Please explain why the glaciers are melting.
          Please explain why the oceans are warming and sea life is dying.

        • A. David Wunsch

          The climate has indeed been changing since there “has been a climate.”
          But these changes can be explained as arising from deviations in the normal tilt of the earth’s axis while the earth makes its way on its elliptical orbit around the sun. See this link. The time scale involved in these changes are of the order of 1000 years.

          What we are seeing now are rising temperatures whose time scale are of the order of decades. Earth scientists explain this by studying increased
          CO2 content in the atmosphere. I wonder what kind of experiment Mr. Petrino expects me to do to prove that there is anthropogenic climate change. It’s not something you can do on a lab bench. The evidence comes from a wealth of empirical data. This after all is how mankind came to understand and believe in, for example, Kepler’s laws, which govern planetary motion.
          ADW Staples 1956

  3. Ted Cruz — not even a natural born citizen.

  4. Sharon Paulsen

    Global “warming” is just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended).
    “Warming” is an understatement. Perhaps “poisoning” is a more poignant definition of what humans are doing to this earth?

    Temperature “discussions” aside, how about potable water as a very serious topic?

    So, did this kid come up with the brilliant idea of cooking bacon on the muzzle of an assault rifle?

    All kinds of wingnut crazy going on in the GOP, and boy is it entertaining (albeit very very scary).

    Sorry to see this young man, who attended “liberal” (he laughs, haha, like it requires an apology) schools, skid to a full stop and make a hard right turn into the abyss.

    That rabbit hole is a deep, dark place.

    • Sharon the gun lubricant give the bacon a unique piquant flavoring that can not be found on the average seasoned skillet.. Don’t knock it till you try it… A Marines field delicacy! Seriously…stop the hateful and negative rhetoric regarding Ethan. Diversity and various opinions out country great! Comments like yours divide us! Play above the fray!

  5. Dan Lasley (Laz)

    Left or Right, pretty cool that a local boy has advanced to garner national recognition before the age of 30.

  6. Rozanne Gates

    Sorry that Staples High School has to be brought into this. Alumni are usually held in high regard. We have found the exception.

    • Jeff Arciola

      Real nice comment Rozanne. People like you are the reason this country is the way it is. Open you eyes and stop drinking your liberal kool aid. Both parties suck.

    • Not a very nice comment Rozanne! You may not agree with Ted Cruz and I I certainly do not embrace a lot of his policy positions As well as his mixing church and state but throwing around “high school” like comments is certainly not befitting of an educated Staples grad either! Stop the personalizing of this young mans decision and celebrate the diversity that graduates of Staples can take away.

  7. Dan…you sure know how to stir ’em up! Simple article about a local lad’s success leads to partisan politics and “pick a fight” attitudes.

  8. Jack Whittle

    All nasty liberal attacks on those they simply don’t agree with aside, I’m proud of Ethan – a homegrown guy making a difference on the political scene. Rather than using his keyboard to rant online or attack those he disagrees with. It matters not what party he supports, he’s gotten involved.

    • Nancy W Hunter

      Political managers do have fascinating, intense jobs.
      Interestingly, it is not necessary for a manager to vote for the party he or she works for. The job is to manage.

    • Jeff Arciola

      Well said

  9. Bart Shuldman

    Ethan-congratulations with your decision to get involved with politics and helping to lead our country. Not many are willing to make it their career and it is truly honorable.

    As a republican, I can say we will not win a national election as long as candidates like Ted Cruz forget their is something called ‘separation of church and state’. The party that says they are for peoples right and freedom, we cannot get that party, the republican party, out of peoples bedrooms. Woman’s right, gay marriage seem to drive the republican party away from separation of church and state, and try and legislate their will.

    It will be almost impossible for a so called conservative candidate to win, when 52% of the voting public are women. They will protect their home and their children, no matter who and what they are. Unfortunately, Ted Cruz and others want to control that part of life and it is my belief there is no way to win the leadership of the country.

    When the republican party nominates a fiscal conservation and a social moderate, then we have a chance to win the Presidency. Until then, good luck with the fruitless effort. Remember, lots of electoral votes come form the coasts, and you cannot win those states.

    I also include the preamble–to the 2012 platform. Somehow, you can write it, but cannot follow it. Please pass on my comments to Ted Cruz–be happy to buy him a beer after we lose another national election:

    “That is the choice facing the American people this November. Every voter will be asked to choose between the chronic high unemployment and the unsustainable debt produced by a big government entitlement society, or a positive, optimistic view of an opportunity society, where any American who works hard, dreams big and follows the rules can achieve anything he or she wants.

    The American people possess vast reserves of courage and determination and the capacity to hear the truth and chart a strong course. They are eager for the opportunity to take on life’s challenges and, through faith and hard work, transform the future for the better. They are the most generous people on earth, giving sacrificially of their time, talent, and treasure.

    This platform affirms that America has always been a place of grand dreams and even grander realities; and so it will be again, if we return government to its proper role, making it smaller and smarter. If we restructure government’s most important domestic programs to avoid their fiscal collapse. If we keep taxation, litigation, and regulation to a minimum. If we celebrate success, entrepreneurship, and innovation. If we lift up the middle class. If we hand over to the next generation a legacy of growth and prosperity, rather than entitlements and indebtedness.

    That same commitment must be present both here at home and abroad. We are a party that knows the difference between international acclaim and world leadership. We will lift the torch of freedom and democracy to inspire all those who would be free. As President Reagan issued the clarion call to “tear down this Wall,” so must we always stand against tyranny and oppression. We will always support and cherish our men and women in uniform who defend our liberties with their lives.

    As we embark upon this critical mission, we are not without guidance. We possess an owner’s manual: the Constitution of the United States, the greatest political document ever written. That sacred document shows us the path forward. Trust the people. Limit government. Respect federalism. Guarantee opportunity, not outcomes. Adhere to the rule of law. Reaffirm that our rights come from God, are protected by government, and that the only just government is one that truly governs with the consent of the governed.”

    • Good post, for a Republican. (Just kidding – simply a good post.) Might I add that, if you look at Administrations since Ronald Reagan’s, to see which have implemented policies that have improved deficits, like me, you will realize that it is no longer the GOP. Republican military spending (and these two wars) have created enormous fiscal problems for the country. The GOP still likes to blame domestic programs – and earned benefit programs have some challenges (though Social Security is easily sustainable), but more often they are the ones driving up the deficit, and then claiming that Democrats need to fix it by cutting programs that didn’t cause the problem. If you are truly fiscally conservative and socially moderate, you may want to reconsider the party you support on a national basis.

  10. A. David Wunsch

    As an alumnus of Staples I find Zorfas an embarrassment. He supports a candidate who asserts that “gun control is hitting your target.” Would Zorfas like to repeat that bon mot in Newtown CT?
    ADW Staples 1956

    • Jeff Arciola

      Good job Ethan. I’m not a Ted Cruz fan but you make us staples grads proud. David is just a angry liberal westporter who loves drinking the Kool aid. If what you do makes you happy that’s all that matters. People like liberal Dave will never be happy

    • Bart Shuldman

      While we clearly need dialogue about gun control it cannot start by saying you are an embarrassment. Your post shows how bad we have become at speaking to one another.

      • But clearly many Republicans dispute the need for the debate, no?

        • (Those are the people who shout “Second Amendment!” like Rainman, without context, without addressing how it may or may not apply to specific proposals, and pretend that is somehow a dialogue on the issue.)

          • Just as I finished typing that, news came of the reporters being shot while on camera. Another sad story, but we know which of the regular 06880 posters will shout “exploiting a tragedy!” if someone suggests it is another sign that we have gun problems in the US.

            Which makes as much sense as watching a kid burn himself on a hot stove and telling other children to NOT learn any lessons from that.

        • Bart Shuldman

          Chris. Thanks for the reply. What I see is both parties dig in their heels supporting their different politics in gun control. We have lost a leader from either party that tries to gain some advance. Better registration and mental health checks is one. If we could only start with some progress. But we live in a time where even the President has called the other side ‘names’.

          Where this all goes-who knows. You only need to look at the current Presidential race to see how the public is finally saying ‘enough’. On the right-over 50% is supporting 3 candidates that are not politicians. On the left-the news is all about Biden because the heir apparent has screwed up.

    • I find you a bigger embarrassment for putting others down because they hold a different opinion other than yours. As a liberal you are suppose to be tolerant of other people’s rights and individuality…but I guess not when it come to what you believe in… Everybody else is an idiot …is that what you truly believe David?

  11. Nancy W Hunter

    Laugh or cry? If this is representative of the American voting population, it is perhaps best to ignore this particular post (or experience nightmares until
    11/16, or maybe even after…) No wonder there was a Civil War.

  12. I’m a bleeding heart liberal and Ethan Zorfas is one of my closest friends. This is not some kind of miracle; it’s a simple function of mutual respect. We have drastically different opinions when it comes to America but we both love this country deeply. I root for his continued success in the impossibly difficult world of politics without ever questioning his patriotism, only his perspective.

    Jordan Lert

    • Jordan! You are noble and truly a great friend who obviously respect differing opinions. Your words will hopefully resonate with others who have unfairly assassinated the character of your good friend Ethan.

  13. I literally LOL’d as I had forgotten that people like Mr. Petrino exist until I was reminded of them in the comments of this article. ‘Prove it!, Prove it!, Prove it!’ seems to be the most common response regardless of never ending data doing just that (almost like 10 year olds who turn their heads when they think their nuggets are too hot to eat and their moms know they’re cool). As far as ‘crack-pot’ Ted Cruz….I come from a long line of Republicans and am one myself. We will never have a chance to have a voice as long as we let the Christian Coalition dominate our party politics. Keep your laws off of our bodies and out of our bedrooms! You don’t have to believe in abortion to believe in choice. You don’t have to understand homosexuality to believe in letting someone marry who they love (straight people are clearly not the poster children for healthy happy marriages). You can believe in the Second Ammendment but also recognize its origins come from the defense of a tyrannical Governement in the 18th century and adaptation to accommodate what’s happening HERE and NOW is just plain common sense. Unless there is compromise made by both sides and not such dogmatic thinking by both Dems and Republicans, we are in for a rude awakening soon.

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

      Don’t take this personally Ethan. Unlike yourself they have too much time on their hands, a penchant for hearing themselves talk and a tendency to put on their underwear backwards because they like the way it makes them feel. Meanwhile, you’re using the education that Staples and Clark gave you. I’ve worked for many bosses with whom I did not agree and learned from all of them. Anybody my age would be proud to have you as their son (and I’m not big on Ted Cruz)

    • Show us the the never ending data? The request for proof is only troubling to those who do not have any.

      You are free to believe whatever you choose, as long as you don’t force others to act as though they believe as you believe. If you accept the MMGW hypothesis, good for you, just do not force others to act as if they believe as you believe. Even you should recognize a totalitarian impulse when you see when, well then, maybe not.

      • Russell Gontar

        6,000 peer reviewed research studies confirm significant impact on global warming as a result of human activity, a fact Mr. Petriino fails to respond to. Why is that?

        • And more than 6000 peer reviewed papers confirmed neutrinos had no mass. You are free to believe whatever you wish; just don’t try and force others to act as if they believe as you believe.

          In each and every case the models are flawed. If you read enough of the papers, you will see that even the “scientists” who are members of the MMGW cult admit there are deficiencies in the models. You may choose to overlook the deficiencies, the source of most of which are the statistical properties of the process, or you may not. I don’t care. But, don’t expect everyone to accept your judgement.

  14. It’s called “evidence” not “proof.”

    The problem with some of the posters (which contributes to our nation’s pitiful approach to world problems) is that in order to avoid the question as to whether we are ‘possibly’ responsible for climate change due to our behavior – it could be us, it could be volcanic activity or other natural phenomena – is that because even the possibility that it can be a man made problem is a threat to their “freedom,” they will simply deny the possibility that a problem exists so that they won’t have to even consider contemplating their own behavior. (These are the same people who insist on continuing to call it “global warming” instead of “climate change” so that they can snark about a term that only they themselves seem to use any more.)

    Some fools are going to want to bring up things that happened fifty years ago, but we all know who encouraged the current wars from which we are trying to disentangle. We all know what kind of disaster the economy was is in circa 2008, we all know who didn’t budget for the wars while cutting taxes, while exploding the deficits. But Freedom!

    Cruz would like to see the country become a theocracy. As the Nazi’s said “don’t buy from Jews,” Cruz has said that Christians shouldn’t be required to “sell to gays.” He opposes reproductive rights, but also opposes requirements that health insurance cover contraceptives – a position that increases unplanned pregnancies (and as fiscally irresponsible – so much for the fiscal conservatism, there). He represents the dangerous political shift of the evangelicals – no longer is religious freedom the ability to practice as you choose, it is now means that you should be able to exempt yourself from religion-neutral law whenever you feel like it, because you are “sincere.”

    Good for Mr. Zorfas for being involved in politics, but there is no need to respect the candidate with whom he is involved.

  15. LBJ?
    “we all know who didn’t budget for the wars while cutting taxes, while exploding the deficits. ”

    BTW no one cut taxes, they cut tax rates; beginning with LBJ and JFK.

  16. Another quality argument from Michael – “it doesn’t matter what we did ten years ago, if I can say they did it fifty years ago.”

    And don’t be such a simpleton when you know what it is about – tax revenues dropped because of those cuts, at a time that we entered two wars, exploding deficits.

    Too many people who worked in the financial sector have no understanding of the Laffer Curve.

    Please show an iota of intellectual honesty, instead of just being an unserious troll.

  17. Chris, don’t even bother with him….unless you’re really in need of some comedy. “I am a logician, no matter how wrong I am, I can always convince myself I am right.”

    • Thanks, Todd – I’ve dealt with him before, and I know. But I always figure it is a good idea to remind everyone when he is being trivial, spouting off, while avoiding any substance in his posts. Someone once sent me a “you aren’t going to change his mind” message and of course I’m not, but it helps for everyone to realize that he isn’t a serious person. He rarely answers questions and never addresses serious points that conflict with his world view. Which explains both the gun posts and the climate posts – deny that a problem exists, so you don’t even have to study the cause of the problem. God forbid he be asked to change his behavior. On the other hand, typical those who decry the government, he is perfectly happy when government handouts helped the sector in which he worked.

  18. Dick Lowenstein

    To change the subject, ever notice how much Ted Cruz resembles a younger Bill Murray. One is funny, the other is not. Guess which one?

  19. Peter Gambaccini

    Oh good. A long political thread in which people repeatedly talk about drinking Kool Aid. I just LOVE these.

  20. Everyone has made his points, repeatedly. No minds will be changed. This thread is closed to further comments.