About Clay

Clay Middleton believes that every member of society should have fair pathways to earn their success. As a public servant, decorated military officer, and advocate for social justice and under-represented communities, he’s made it his mission to create equal access to the opportunities that can breed success for the most marginalized. He has earned his reputation fighting battles ­ military and political ­ in support of the causes, policies, and programs that help people maximum their God given potential. Over the course of his nearly twenty year career, Clay has shown a rare willingness to stand up and speak out for what he believes, even when the cause is unpopular. In that regard, he is known among colleagues and constituents as a leader whose core values remain unchanged despite popularity.

Regarded by peers as knowledgeable, resourceful, and committed to community, Clay has built a formidable network of trusted allies spanning government, military, political and grassroots networks. For the 2016 presidential primary cycle, he served as the South Carolina State Director for Hillary Clinton’s historic victory, where he developed strategy and led efforts to mobilize voters around the issues and candidate that will move the country forward. Clay is currently in Florida serving as a Regional Political Director for the general election. Prior to his work on the Clinton campaign, Clay alternated between roles in South Carolina and Washington, serving in a number of key government, military, and political positions, including a close run for a South Carolina State House seat. As Associate Director for the White House Office of Faith­Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Corporation for National and Community Service, he led several White House initiatives, initiated the agency’s  efforts to expand their support of veterans and military families, spearheaded a national interfaith campus challenge, and help craft a national service strategy to improve low performing schools.

Clay’s public service also includes several posts as special advisor and congressional affairs liaison at the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration. Prior to his government service in the executive branch, he worked as the South Carolina Political Director for Obama for America 2008 general election, Field Organizer under Gov. Howard Dean's DNC 50 State Strategy, and spent nearly 10 years working for Congressman Jim Clyburn.

Before entering government and politics, Clay joined the military as a Private First Class  and has  rose to the rank of Major. As a military officer, he learned to lead and execute effectively under pressure which earned him numerous accolades for leadership and service including the Bronze Star, the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He currently serves as a Signal Brigade Officer with  the 678th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

Clay’s commitment to service and his personal mandate to solve problems and create opportunities is woven into every facet of his life. Since 2009 Clay has used his voice and platform to advocate for others, tackling social issues, and challenging legislation in an opinion column for the Charleston City Paper and other outlets. His vast community service work includes a dozen organizations and embodies a reputation of selfless service, determination, and making process.

Clay’s work ethic, steadfast leadership, attention to detail, talents, and commitment to community have been consistently recognized in every field he’s entered. In addition to his military honors, the Charleston Business Journal named him to their prestigious 40 under 40 list; MOJA Arts festival named him a rising star, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Association awarded  him the Outstanding Spokesman for Freedom Award, resulting in a day named in his honor.  As a Liberty Fellow with the Aspen Institute, Clay is able to collaborate with other leaders globally to tackle pressing problems. As a Defense Council member with the Truman National Security Project, Clay continues to forge new relationships and marry strategic thinking to strategic action on an array of national security challenges.

Clay firmly believes that each of us has a purpose in life and one must fulfill such a cause greater than self.  He plans to continue using his unique blend of government experience, political savvy, and military training to fulfill his purpose and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

A native of Charleston, SC from Bayside Manor, Clay is a graduate of The Citadel. He and his wife Nicole are the proud parents of an energetic boy; Jeremiah Clay Middleton.