WASHINGTON: Tony Blankley, EVP for public affairs in Edelman's Washington office and a press secretary for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in the 1990s, died Sunday at 63 after a battle with stomach cancer.
Blankley worked in Edelman's DC office for the past four years. He served as an adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. He was also editorial page editor of the Washington Times from 2002 to 2007 and a regular commentator on TV and radio, including frequent appearances on The McLaughlin Group.
“Tony's integrity, intellect, and mastery of history and politics enriched our lives. He brightened our world with his colorful sartorial style, good humor, and wonderful storytelling,” said Rob Rehg, president of the Edelman Washington office. “He was someone who truly fit the definition of a scholar and a gentleman. We were blessed to have had his wisdom, generous spirit, and good company as part of our work family. We will miss him terribly.”
Speaking to reporters after a town hall meeting in Manchester, NH on Sunday, Gingrich reminisced about his former adviser.
“Tony was a very, very dear friend, a great colleague. [He] had worked with me when I was whip and helped us -- was a key person in the 1994 “Contract with America” campaign," said Gingrich, according to media reports. "Just as I was the first [GOP] speaker in 40 years, he was the first Republican press secretary for a speaker in 40 years. He was a great writer. He had a terrific career after Congress.”
Blankley, who lived in Great Falls, VA, is survived by his wife, three children, mother, and sister.