Kenneth Kurson (born October 23, 1968) is an American political consultant, journalist, and author who formerly served as Editor-in-Chief of The New York Observer. He previously served as executive vice-president of Jamestown Associates, a political consulting firm based in Princeton, New Jersey and Washington, DC.

Ken Kurson
Kenneth Kurson

(1968-10-23) October 23, 1968 (age 51)
United States
EducationGlenbrook North High School
OccupationSenior managing director at Teneo Strategy; author
Known forJournalism, political consulting
Notable work
Green Magazine and The Green Magazine Guide to Personal Finance; co-author of Leadership and The Faber Report

Education and familyEdit

Kurson graduated from Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois, in 1986,[1] and is the younger brother of bestselling author Robert Kurson.[1]

Music careerEdit

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kurson played bass for the Chicago rock band Green.[2] After leaving Green in 1990, Kurson founded The Lilacs with David Levinsky.[2]

A debut EP, The Lilacs Love You, was produced by Material Issue frontman Jim Ellison, who is also credited with naming the band The Lilacs.[3] A follow-up EP, The Lilacs Hate You, was the band's next release.[4] A full-length CD, The Lilacs Rise Above the Filth, was produced by Brad Wood and released in 1992.[5]

Rudy Giuliani associateEdit

From January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2006, Kurson served as the Deputy Director of Communications for Giuliani Partners, the consulting company founded by Rudy Giuliani, with whom he had co-authored the best-selling book, Leadership. Kurson wrote speeches and editorials with Giuliani and traveled with him to a dozen countries and nearly every state. Giuliani's speech to the 2004 Republican National Convention, written with Kurson, was broadcast on national television and earned praise as the standout speech of the convention. Kurson's published work with Giuliani includes editorials in Time, Newsweek, the New York Post, and a full-page editorial about European anti-Semitism in the New York Times[6] that followed a meeting at the State Department with Colin Powell and the American Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Kurson also collaborated with the former mayor on his speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention, joined by John Avlon.

Giuliani presidential campaignEdit

Kurson served as chief operating officer (COO) during Rudy Giuliani's unsuccessful 2008 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.[7] Kurson was among the first hires of the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee, responsible for the Mid-Atlantic Region – New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.[citation needed] In May 2007, he was promoted to chief operating officer, reporting to Michael DuHaime,[citation needed] and served in this role until Giuliani withdrew from the race on January 30, 2008.[citation needed]

In November 2007, during a debate about Jewish issues with surrogates for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Mitt Romney, Kurson observed that, "If Bill Clinton was 'the first black president,' then the former New York mayor would be the first Jewish president," referencing Giuliani's popularity among Jewish voters, while echoing a much-quoted statement regarding the popularity of former President Bill Clinton among black voters. In 1998, Clinton had been famously declared "the first black president" by popular African-American author Toni Morrison[8][9]

Political careerEdit

Following his work with Rudy Giuliani, while a resident of Montclair, New Jersey, Kurson ran in the 2003 New Jersey General Assembly election for the 34th Legislative District as a moderate Republican, during a divisive time within the Democratic Party, and following a bitter primary battle. In a district that was reapportioned to be "so overwhelmingly Democratic that general elections would be nothing more than a formality", Kurson received 17.6% of the vote and ran a distant third behind Democratic incumbent Peter C. Eagler (with 33.2%) and his running mate Sheila Oliver (31.0%).[10][11]

Harassment allegationsEdit

In May, 2018, Kurson revealed he was under consideration to join the Trump administration, which he described as an “honorary type position.”[12][13] Kurson said that he withdrew from consideration in June 2018 due to too much paperwork.[14] In undergoing a FBI background check, it was revealed that a female Mount Sinai physician had alleged in 2015 that Kurson harassed her.[14][15] Mount Sinai was so concerned about the harassment at the time that it hired someone to protect the doctor for a few days.[14]


Kurson was the founder of and Green Magazine,[16] a personal finance site and magazine that was acquired by Bankrate in 1999.[17] The Industry Standard and the New York Times ran substantial profiles of Kurson in 2000. Yahoo! Internet Life named Green to its list of "100 best websites for 2001," featured on its cover.

Doubleday published Kurson's first book, The Green Magazine Guide to Personal Finance in April 1998 as its lead Spring paperback title.[18] Kurson was a contributing editor at Esquire, where for five years (1997–2001), his monthly section, "Green," covered the world of investing.[16]

Kurson is the co-author with CNBC television personality David Faber of The Faber Report, published by Little, Brown in 2002.

With former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, Kurson co-authored the October 2002 book, Leadership, an immediate bestseller listed for twenty-five weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, including five weeks at Number One. With over a million copies in print, Leadership garnered wide praise from critics, including glowing reviews in the New York Times ("a confident, dynamic primer on basic business ethics and grace under pressure"), the New York Times Book Review ("sturdy and leavened with flashes of wry wit"), and Business Week ("blustery, unapologetic, and marked by an obvious passion").

Kurson is also the co-author of the personal memoir of biotechnology executive John Crowley entitled Chasing Miracles: The Crowley Family Journey of Strength, Hope and Joy. It was published by New Market Press in January 2010 to coincide with the release of Extraordinary Measures, the film dramatizing Crowley's work to find a treatment for his two youngest children who were diagnosed with Pompe Disease.[19]

In January 2013, Kurson was named the editor of The New York Observer by the newspaper's publisher, Jared Kushner.[20] His tenure editing the paper was not without controversy; members both inside and outside the publication claimed Kurson used his position to benefit Kushner and Kushner's father-in-law, Donald Trump[21][22]. In May 2017, Kurson stepped down from this position to work as a senior managing director for the strategy division of Teneo.[23]

In 2018, Kurson started to compile his writing and musical history in one central location.

PolitickerNJ ranked Kurson as the 71st most influential individual in New Jersey politics on its "2009 Power List",[24] and 59th on their "2010 Power List."[25] In June 2014, Kurson received The Algemeiner's Journalist of the Year award.[26]

Personal lifeEdit

Kurson lives in Manhattan, New York City.[27][28]


  1. ^ a b Feder, Robert (2013-01-08). "NBC 5 adds busy Ivy Leaguer to sports lineup". TimeOut Chicago. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  2. ^ a b Kot, Greg. "The Lilacs rise above the 'filth' once more for first show in 24 years". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  3. ^ Hieggelke, Jan"Immaterial World: Ken Kurson Examines the Void Left by Jim Ellison’s Death"; Newcity Music JUNE 27, 1996.
  4. ^ "The Lilacs". Chicago Tribune. 1991-07-26. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  5. ^ Robbins, Ira. "Green". Trouser Press.
  6. ^ Giuliani, Rudolph W. "How Europe Can Stop the Hate"; New York Times; June 18, 2013.
  7. ^ Harris, Ben Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA); January 22, 2008.
  8. ^ [1] "Giuliani aide: Rudy would be the first Jewish president"; October 5, 1998.
  9. ^ Morrison, Toni (October 5, 1998). "Talk of the Town: Comment". The New Yorker.
  10. ^ Golway, Terry. "Politics; Well-Connected", The New York Times, September 14, 2003. Accessed November 23, 2017. "And now a rarity -- a young Republican Assembly candidate from Montclair -- is gaining unexpected attention because of his unusual (for an aspiring state legislator) background, his enviable connections and his association with another Republican who defied expectations, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Ken Kurson, a 34-year-old writer and journalist, was Mr. Giuliani's co-author for the former New York mayor's bestseller, Leadership. Mr. Giuliani was sufficiently impressed with Mr. Kurson to hire him as deputy communications director for Giuliani Partners, which the former mayor founded after leaving office in 2001."
  11. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for General Assembly For November 2003 General Election Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine, New Jersey Department of State, December 2, 2003. Accessed November 24, 2017.
  12. ^ Tani, Andrew Kirell|Asawin Suebsaeng|Maxwell (2018-05-11). "Kushner Ally Ken Kurson Being Vetted for 'Honorary' White House Role". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  13. ^ "The Trump Administration Considers an Old Friend: Ken Kurson". The New York Times. 2018-05-11. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  14. ^ a b c "A Kushner Ally Was Up for a Federal Post. Then the F.B.I. Began Digging". Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  15. ^ Bowden, John (2018-07-26). "Kushner ally lost out on administration job after background check: report". TheHill. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  16. ^ a b [2] Article by Ken noting career.
  17. ^[dead link]
  18. ^ Kurson, Ken (16 March 1998). "Green Magazine: No B.S. Book". Main Street Books. Retrieved 19 July 2016 – via Amazon.
  19. ^ "An 'Extraordinary' welcome - Fans crowd aisles for 'Chasing Miracles' author". The Times (Trenton). 2010-01-24. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  20. ^ Carr, David (January 4, 2013). "New York Observer Hits Reset Again, Names Ken Kurson New Editor". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  21. ^ "Ken Kurson Steps Down as Editor of the Observer". The New York Times. 2017-05-24. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  22. ^ "The Trump Administration Considers an Old Friend: Ken Kurson". The New York Times. 2018-05-11. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  23. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (2017-05-24). "Ken Kurson Steps Down as Editor of the Observer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  24. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-08-23. Retrieved 2009-08-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) 2009 NJ Power List
  25. ^ The Jersey City Independent "Politicker 2010 Power List"; 2010.
  26. ^ "New York Observer's Ken Kurson, Forbes's Richard Behar Honored at Algemeiner Summer Benefit". The Algemeiner.
  27. ^ Pompeo, Joe (4 January 2013). "Kurson's 'Observer' meant to appeal to 'Staten Island first responders, second-generation NYers in Forest Hills'". Politico. Retrieved 19 July 2016. ... the 44-year-old resident of South Orange, N.J.,..
  28. ^ Worth, Marcia (24 July 2009). "Art Installation on N. Wyoming Lawn". Retrieved 19 July 2016.