Ms. Setmayer is a former CNN political commentator, contributor to ABC News and former GOP Communications Director on Capitol Hill. She's appeared on ABC's The View, ABC's Good Morning America, and on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. On January 9, 2020, Setmayer was named as a Harvard Institute of Politics Spring 2020 Resident Fellow. Also in January 2020, she joined The Lincoln Project as a senior advisor and hosts the live show "The Breakdown" along side co-founder Rick Wilson, on the organization's streaming channel, LPTV.
Setmayer currently serves as a University of Virginia, Center for Politics, Resident Scholar for the 2023-24 academic year. In collaboration with the Center for Politics, she narrated the Emmy nominated 3-part documentary, Dismantling Democracy which aired nationally on PBS stations in September 2020 and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
After spending 27 years with the Republican Party, Setmayer publicly left the GOP in November 2020 after Donald Trump refused to concede the election to Joe Biden after losing the electoral vote. She now identifies as a conservative independent.
From 2006 to 2013, Setmayer worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as the Communications Director for the Republican Representative of California's 48th District, during which she handled immigration and federal law enforcement policy issues, and led the successful national effort to free Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean through a presidential commutation.
In 2017, Setmayer was named as a board director for Stand Up Republic, a non profit organization formed in the wake of the 2016 election of Donald Trump to unite Americans behind the defense of democratic norms, ideals and institutions.
Setmayer focuses her "tell it like it is" commentary and analysis on political issues that impact America's democracy. During the 2016 presidential election cycle, she earned the reputation of being an outspoken conservative critic of Donald Trump and challenged his surrogates on the veracity of their claims. Vulture.com recognized her as one of 2016's "Top 20 Election Coverage Stars" on TV.
Setmayer served as a former research fellow and communications specialist for the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education (CURE), a non-profit organization dealing with the impact of social policies on America's inner cities and the poor. She also served as a political trainer for GOPAC, a conservative organization specializing in educating, organizing and training grassroots Republicans intending to run for public office.
In the early 2000s, Setmayer served as a community liaison advocating on a variety of issues including affordable housing and services for the chronically homeless and children in South Florida where she co-founded a faith based homeless program. She was a regular panelist on the women's issues program To the Contrary on PBS, and was featured in several local and national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Hill newspaper where she was included in the publication's annual 50 Most Beautiful list in 2010, and Ebony magazine, on terrestrial radio syndication and satellite, News & Notes and Tell Me More on NPR and XM Radio. As a media commentator since 2013, she has appeared on a range of television programs on CNN, CNN International, ABC, BBC, MSNBC and HBO.
Prior to joining ABC, Setmayer was a CNN political commentator from 2014 through the 2016 presidential election cycle, regularly appearing on CNN's New Day, Erin Burnett OutFront, Anderson Cooper 360° and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon news analysis shows. Setmayer rejoined CNN as a commentator in January 2018 through the inauguration of President Biden. She's written for Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast and CNN.com. She has also guest-hosted on SiriusXM's Patriot and POTUS channels, including The Michael Smerconish Program.