Lane Community College to honor Dr. Rachel Bitecofer with Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

June 6, 2024
Headshot of Dr. Rachel Bitecofer who is a political scientist and election forecaster turned political strategist

EUGENE, Ore. — Lane Community College is proud to announce that Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, a renowned political strategist and author, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award at the college's 59th commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 15.

The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award aims to recognize and celebrate exceptional alumni who embody Lane Community College's mission and values. Recipients are honored for their excellence in their professional fields, significant contributions to their communities, commitment to lifelong learning, and promotion of the college’s core values of quality, accessibility, and inclusive, learning-centered education.

Dr. Bitecofer, 47, is widely recognized for her accurate prediction of the “blue wave” in the 2018 midterm elections. Her journey in political science began at Lane Community College, where she enrolled as a 24-year-old single mother. Bitecofer credits her initial studies at Lane for sparking her interest in political science, which led her to pursue and obtain her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon.

Dr. Bitecofer's career has been marked by significant contributions to political analysis and strategy. She is the co-author, with Aaron Murphy, of the recently published book Hit ‘Em Where it Hurts: How to Save Democracy by Beating Republicans at Their Own Game (Crown, 2024). Her first book, The Unprecedented 2016 Presidential Election(Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), provided a comprehensive analysis of the election of Donald Trump.

Dr. Bitecofer's expertise has been featured by prominent media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Politico, The New Republic, Real Time with Bill Maher, CNN, and MSNBC. She has also served as a lecturer at Christopher Newport University and as the assistant director of the Wason Center for Public Policy, where she conducted polling and election forecasting. Additionally, she was a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

At the Niskanen Center, Dr. Bitecofer accurately predicted the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, although her forecast for Democratic advancements in the House and Senate did not materialize. This experience led her to advocate for a "negative partisanship" political strategy, which she implemented while working with Democratic Party candidates and organizations during the 2022 midterms.

In her latest book, Hit ’Em Where It Hurts, Dr. Bitecofer delves into strategies for Democrats to connect with voters and reclaim the narrative in pivotal election years. She dissects the tactics employed by Republican candidates and offers insights on how to counter these methods effectively.

Dr. Bitecofer continues to influence political strategy through her work with Strike Pac, a liberal super PAC, and her podcast, The Election Whisperer, hosted on Substack.

Lane Community College is honored to recognize Dr. Bitecofer’s outstanding achievements and contributions to the field of political science and strategy. Her journey from a dedicated student at Lane to a leading political strategist exemplifies the transformative power of education and determination.

Rebecca Long, Director of Marketing and Strategic Communications

Lane Community College educates over 15,000 students annually at six locations across Lane County and online. Students and alumni from all 50 states and 79 countries create more than an $675 million dollar impact on the local economy, helping to support more than 8,900 local jobs. Lane provides affordable, quality, professional technical and college transfer programs; business development and employee training; academic, language and life skills development; and lifelong personal development and enrichment courses.