Steve grew up in North Plainfield, NJ, the son of a teacher and a telecommunications executive.
In high school, he became an Eagle Scout, played on the high school football team, was a two-year members of the National Honor Society, was senior class vice president, and was one of two graduating seniors to be voted “most likely to succeed.”
He attended the University of Delaware from 1988-1993, majoring in political science, and was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, joined the campus’s ROTC program, and did field work for Republican candidates in Delaware. It was during his time in college that Steve registered as a Republican.
After school, Steve worked on a number of political campaigns. In 1995, he managed a campaign for Will T. Scott for Kentucky Attorney General; in 1998, he ran California State Senator Tim Leslie’s race for Lt. Governor of California; and this same year, he was also the Communications Director for California State Treasurer Matt Fong’s campaign to try and unseat US Senator Barbara Boxer.
In 1999, Steve worked as the Communications Director for Lamar Alexander’s presidential run, but left in June of that year when the campaign reduced its senior staff, and by late 2000, Steve had left campaigns and was working as Communications Director of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
In 2001, he was the spokesman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, becoming the Communications Director by 2002.
In 2004, Steve joined the Bush administration as a Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney. He was also a member of the senior strategic planning group, led by Karl Rove, and was a top strategist in the 2004 campaign to re-elect President George W. Bush, overseeing the reelection “war room.”
In 2005, Steve was requested by the US Ambassador to Iraq to assess and improve communications in the country’s war zone. And between 2005 and 2006, Steve played a leading role in the confirmations of two Supreme Court Justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
In 2006, Steve left the White House and became campaign manager for CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s come-from-behind re-election win. He guided the campaign from a 6-point deficit to a 17-point win – a success that landed him the title “Campaign Manager of the Year” from the American Association of Political Consultants.
In the 2008 presidential campaign cycle, Steve took over most day-to-day operations for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign when the candidate was considered no longer viable, later being credited for transforming McCain “from corpse to contender.”
In June 2018, Steve renounced the Republican Party as “fully the party of Trump.” He denounced the move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying “Trump has blood on his hands,” and formally withdrew from the GOP over Trump’s policy of separating immigrant families at the US-Mexico border. He now considers himself an Independent.
Most recently, Steve became a founding member of The Lincoln Project, a Super PAC organized by current and former Republican operatives opposed to the re-election of Donald Trump in 2020.