Steve Schmidt (born 1970) is an American campaign strategist and public relations worker for the U.S. Republican Party. He specializes in political "message development and strategy". Schmidt was the senior campaign strategist and advisor to the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator John McCain.
Schmidt grew up in North Plainfield, New Jersey, and is an Eagle Scout, a tight end on the high school football team, a two-year member of the National Honor Society, and senior class vice president. In 1988, he was one of two graduating seniors voted "most likely to succeed" by his classmates at North Plainfield High School. He first handed out campaign materials for Democrat Bill Bradley's 1978 Senate campaign.
Schmidt attended the University of Delaware from 1988 through the spring of 1993, majoring in political science. He left three credits short of graduating because he did not pass a math course; Schmidt has said that he has been diagnosed with a learning disability that makes higher math difficult for him. He joined the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, was a member of the campus Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program, and did field work for Republican candidates in Delaware, sometimes wearing campaign buttons to class.