Meet the Hosts

Claire Campos-O’Neal

Hi y’all! I’m Claire Campos-O’Neal, mother to two young boys, daughter of a first generation Mexican-American, and co-host of Go Behind the Ballot.

In November of 2021, I put my name on the ballot and ran for office for the first time. I was hoping to be the next State Representative for House District-51 which covers much of southeast Austin and Travis County. Even though I did not win my race, I learned a great deal about my community, the inner workings of local politics and the importance of putting yourself out there.

I’m so excited to team up with Nichole as we take the journey with listeners to understand how our government really operates. Nichole and I met in 2016 in an acting class that specializes in the Meisner acting technique. We continued our friendship outside of the classroom over our common interest in screenwriting, sharing the challenges of motherhood and our desire to make Texas a better place for all.

Prior to running for office, I worked as a real estate agent focusing on residential sales. While I didn’t love the grind of working real estate transactions, I was always eager to learn more about the trajectory of my city, the demographic trends and what makes a place desirable. After the race for HD-51, I took stock of that surreal experience and felt compelled to create a place for communal learning and growth. I hope that ‘Go Behind the Ballot’ is that home for the curious, the courageous, the compassionate and the kind.

Nichole Abshire

Nichole here. 6th generation Texan,–my Memaw would want me to share that–mom to two amazing gender nonconforming kiddos, and wife.

My career journey has been long and winding. I spent 10 years as an elementary school teacher and then left to spend more time at home with my kids. Once home, I needed a creative outlet so I took acting with the secret hope that it would serve my writing. I found that it did but I also loved acting for its own sake. I’ve done some of both–some commercial and theatrical work along with some screenwriting and novel writing. As my sister says, I tend towards being a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

I found myself at this particular juncture feeling frustrated and powerless with the state of politics in Texas (and beyond). I’m prepared to disagree and I believe in the need for push and pull but this us v. them mentality is demoralizing and just plain sad. So, when my friend Claire started sharing her ideas for ventures in this realm, I found myself leaning in and envisioning joining in more and more. Here I am. Thanks for welcoming me in, Claire.

I like to think I bring a sense of healthy skepticism and curiosity to politics. I honestly don’t know if I ever would have engaged to this degree if not for the heightened state that we are in but here I am. Hoping to learn. Hoping to meet friends along the way. Hoping to bring about change for the better.