Ball in 2009
Krystal Marie Ball
November 24, 1981
|Alma mater||University of Virginia|
|Occupation||Small business owner, political commentator|
Krystal Marie Ball (born November 24, 1981) is an American political pundit and journalist who co-hosts Rising with the Hill's Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti, produced by The Hill. She has appeared on Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Real Time with Bill Maher. She was previously a contributor under contract for MSNBC and a regular contributor to the HuffPost.
Ball was the Democratic Party nominee for Congress in Virginia's 1st congressional district in the 2010 election, losing to Republican incumbent Rob Wittman. She co-hosted the MSNBC show The Cycle from June 2012 to July 2015. In May 2017, she created the People's House Project, a political action committee working on behalf of Democratic causes.
Ball was born on November 24, 1981 in King George County, Virginia, 60 miles south of Washington, D.C. Her father Edward Ball is a physicist and mother Rose Marie Ball, a teacher. The name Krystal came from her father, a physicist who wrote his dissertation on crystals. She has two older sisters, Holly and Heidi.
Ball graduated from King George High School in King George, Virginia and then attended Clemson University for one year before transferring to the University of Virginia, where she received a bachelor's degree in economics.
Ball is a business owner and a certified public accountant. She previously worked for the federal contractor CGI Group and traveled to Louisiana to assist in the courts' efforts to recover after Hurricane Katrina. She is a former columnist for The Atlantic.
In 2012, Ball launched a website calling for a boycott of advertisers on The Rush Limbaugh Show after Limbaugh's comments about Sandra Fluke. Thinkprogress reported on March 2, 2012 that over 50 advertisers were confirmed to have dropped the show.
In 2010, Ball ran to represent Virginia's 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives against Republican incumbent Rob Wittman. During the campaign, Ball supported education reform, including charter schools, using technology, alternative certification of teachers, and paying teachers six figure salaries. She also called for a lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress, banning lobbyist gifts, increasing disclosure, and establishing a new Independent Ethics Commission to investigate and audit influence by special interests. Of Ball's fundraising, 72 percent was from out-of-state donors, and 28 percent in-state. In total, she raised $1.06 million which was 20% less than her opponent.
In October of that campaign, bloggers posted sexually suggestive photos of Ball with her then husband from a Christmas party in 2004. Her campaign had little national attention before the incident. Ball initially blamed her opponent, Wittman, for the leak as being part of a smear campaign. Wittman released a statement opposing the leak and asked the bloggers to take it down. Ball also complained about the double standard of expectations for male and female candidates given the scant attention Scott Brown had received for previously posing nude in Cosmopolitan. She has used the experience as a warning for future candidates about their youthful indiscretions.
In May 2017, Ball created the People's House Project, a political action committee (PAC) working on behalf of Democratic causes. It was among the largest contributors to Richard Ojeda's campaign for the West Virginia Senate.
In May 2018, McClatchy wrote of her PAC:
But thus far, nobody has benefited more financially from the group than Ball herself. Of the $445,000 Ball raised for the group, she paid herself more than a third of that--$174,000--in salary, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. The majority of her salary--$104,000--came in the first three months of this year alone. That's nearly eight times more than the nearly $22,000 the PHP has used to support its dozen endorsed candidates, some of whom have received just a single $1,000 contribution. Political groups with a glaring discrepancy between personal salaries and candidate contributions are often deemed so-called "Scam PACs," a type of organization that enriches its founders while doing little to assist the cause or candidate they purportedly support.
Ball responded to McClatchy's claims, stating because the PAC receives money in fits and starts, she paid herself a lump sum in the first months of 2018 as backpay for what she should have earned in 2017, and that her pay "was comparable to what other Pac directors typically make". She also stated that her PAC does not operate in the same way as a typical PAC in that it is not a "direct conduit" of funds, and that she herself is effectively a manager for each of the candidates she works with. McClatchy wrote that candidates and campaign officials that she had assisted had said that Ball "was a go-to adviser for all manner of problems and questions. Her help was especially valuable, they added, because most of them couldn't afford the kind of high-priced consultants who usually guide campaigns, especially for first-time candidates...There's no doubt that Ball and Moffett, the group's executive director, actually help the candidates they endorse. They've just backed a very different kind of candidates, and unlike most groups, they've prioritized political advice over direct financial assistance."
In part due to the photo scandal from the 2010 campaign, Ball appeared on Fox News, CNN, and CNBC, and became a regular contributor for MSNBC. She was a regular contributor to the HuffPost. From June 25, 2012 to July 31, 2015, Ball co-hosted the MSNBC show, The Cycle, with Touré, Steve Kornacki, and S. E. Cupp. Interviewed by Jill Filipovic she explained how she launched into a new career as a political commentator on television. One of her most discussed monologues on the show was a 2014 critique of Hillary Clinton which urged her not to run for President.
Ball's first book Reversing the Apocalypse: Hijacking the Democratic Party to Save the World was published in 2017, in which she argued that the Democratic Party needed to return to its New Deal roots by emulating Franklin D. Roosevelt and advocating a more economically interventionist agenda than it has done in recent decades.
In 2018, Ball started hosting a webcast called Rising on The Hill. She originally co-hosted the webcast with Buck Sexton, but Sexton was later replaced by Saagar Enjeti. Ball's second book, co-authored with Enjeti, is The Populist's Guide to 2020: A New Right and New Left Are Rising, released on February 8, 2020.
Ball supported Bernie Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign. During the 2020 impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump she speculated that Democrats were using the Senate trial to keep Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in Washington D.C. when they would otherwise be campaigning.