In 2009, O'Connell founded ProjectVirginia, a political action committee with a mission to help Virginia Republicans seeking public office better utilize social media and voter mobilization technologies.
Campaigns and Elections magazine awarded the 2010 Reed Award for “Best Use of Twitter” to ProjectVirginia. He currently serves as the managing director of Civic Forum Strategies and chairman of CivicForumPAC. In 2010, he was named a “Rising Star” by Campaigns and Elections magazine.
O'Connell is a frequent on-air guest commentator for Fox News, CNN, Fox Business Network, Sky News, CNBC, Newsmax Media, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, British Broadcasting Corporation, C-Span, Voice of America, Christian Broadcasting Network and P.O.T.U.S. (Sirius XM).
His political commentary and analysis have been published by Fox News, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, ABC News, CBS News, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner, ESPN.com, People (magazine), MSNBC, BBC News, The New Yorker, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Investor's Business Daily, Bloomberg Businessweek, Associated Press, Reuters, United Press International, NPR, New York Daily News, New York Post, Mashable, National Review Online, Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, The Hill, Roll Call, National Journal, RealClearPolitics, Newsmax Media, Townhall.com, Daily Caller, Talking Points Memo, Salon (website), The Texas Tribune, US News and World Report, The Week, Politico, The Huffington Post, The Week, American Spectator, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Commentary (magazine), The Fiscal Times, The New Republic, TheWrap, and E!, among others.
He is a regular contributor to the Thomas Jefferson Street Blog and the Debate Club at U.S. News & World Report, The Hill's Pundits Blog and the now-defunct Arena at Politico.
O'Connell earned his Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from Duke University, a Master of Science in Journalism (MSJ) degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts (MA) in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi. He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar.
O'Connell earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Religion (BA) at Swarthmore College. While at Swarthmore College, he was a member of the football, basketball and lacrosse teams. O'Connell attended the St. Paul's School (in Concord, New Hampshire). He is the grandson of Henry Salvatori, an American geophysicist, conservative activist and Republican Party insider.
O'Connell serves as a professorial lecturer at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.
O'Connell was an ardent supporter of Donald Trump.