John Patrick Sears (born 1940) is an American attorney and a Republican political strategist.
Life and career
Sears was born in July 1940 in Syracuse, New York, the son of James L. Sears and Helen M. Fitzgerald. Sears attended Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse before going to college at the University of Notre Dame (BS-1960) and law school at Georgetown University (LLB, JD-1963).
Sears worked as a law clerk for the New York State Court of Appeals from 1963-65 when he became a member of the law firm of Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Alexander, Guthrie & Mitchell for two years before joining Richard M. Nixon's staff. He served as Deputy Counsel to the President from 1969-70 before leaving to join the law firm of Gadsby & Hannah in Washington DC 1970-76. He has been a partner in the law firm of Baskin and Sears since 1977.
Sears played a pivotal role at the 1968 Republican National Convention in securing Richard Nixon's nomination for the presidency. He was only 27 at the time and was subsequently shut out of the Nixon operation by John Mitchell who considered him overly ambitious.
Sears managed Ronald Reagan's 1976 presidential bid when Reagan ran in the Republican primaries against incumbent President Gerald Ford and almost won the nomination. He again managed Reagan's presidential bid in 1980, but was fired and replaced by William Casey on the day Reagan won the New Hampshire primary. Sears had run the national operation out of Washington and was a rival of Edwin Meese, Michael Deaver, and Lyn Nofziger in California. They didn't trust Sears and believed he was trying to consolidate power at the expense of many longtime Reagan friends and backers.
Ronald Reagan told journalist and presidential scholar Theodore White that "There was a feeling that I was just kind of a spokesman for John Sears." Sears had been attempting to consolidate power in the Reagan campaign in 1980. He overstepped his bounds and was fired. William Casey was hired to take his place. Casey demanded administrative control of the campaign, but had no desire to control policy and by extension the personnel choices of the Reagan Administration—something John Sears was boldly attempting to control.
In 2000 Leonard Garment incorrectly identified Sears as Deep Throat in his book In Search of Deep Throat. Sears then requested that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (who unmasked Watergate with the help of Deep Throat) publicly deny it was him, and Bernstein complied. (Later it was revealed that W. Mark Felt, former Deputy FBI Director, was "Deep Throat".)
Sears served as a political analyst for NBC Today from 1984-85. He resides in McLean, Virginia.
- Shirley, Craig (2005). Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-0785260493.. review by Human Events
- Shirley, Craig (2009). Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America. Wilmington, Delaware: Intercollegiate Studies Institute. ISBN 978-1-933859-55-2.. online review by Lou Cannon