The 2020 Political Consultants Power 50
The 2020 Political Consultants Power 50
Not so long ago, candidates for elected office in New York had to pay their dues and earn the support of local party leaders before mounting a credible campaign. In the age of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, however, those barriers are eroding – and political consultants are emerging to assist this new crop of candidates who aren’t willing to wait their turn.
This dynamic has made election season more unpredictable, with outsiders increasingly able to threaten incumbents or party favorites. And while long-standing political consulting firms remain influential and retain advantages when they represent establishment candidates, newer firms have been able to break through more quickly by getting behind the right insurgents.
City & State’s Political Consultants Power 50 assesses how New York’s top political operatives and firms stack up against each other right now. Our ranking is based on political consulting work on behalf of candidates who ran or are running for important offices in New York, including president, Congress, the state Legislature, the New York City Council, county executive, district attorney, borough president and public advocate. We took into account campaign wins and losses, the significance of a given candidate’s victory, and campaign spending reported to the state Board of Elections and the Federal Election Commission in 2019 and 2020.
We’re pleased to present the Political Consultants Power 50.
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1. Mark Guma
President, Mark Guma Communications
Mark Guma doesn’t have the biggest team, represent the most clients or rake in the most cash, but he has consistently delivered remarkable results in pivotal races in recent years.
In 2018, he helped defeat six former members of the controversial state Senate Independent Democratic Conference. In 2019, he propelled Tiffany Cabán to a near upset in the Queens district attorney race. This year, he was behind New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres’ primary victory in the closely watched South Bronx congressional primary, prompting Torres to call Guma a “dragon slayer.” Guma also helped Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler and Assembly Members Catherine Nolan and Diana Richardson fend off determined challengers. In 2021, he’ll be assisting Alvin Bragg in the crowded Manhattan district attorney race.
Key clients: Ritchie Torres, Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Catherine Nolan, Alessandra Biaggi, Brad Hoylman, Tiffany Cabán, Scott Stringer, Alvin Bragg
Biggest accomplishment: “Keeping Rubén Díaz Sr. out of Congress and helping elect Ritchie Torres as the first LGBT Afro-Latino member of Congress.”
2. Doug Forand, Nathan Smith & Matt Rey
Senior Partner; Senior Partner; Partner, Red Horse Strategies
Red Horse Strategies has expanded its reach far outside of New York, with new offices in California and Washington, D.C. But the Democratic firm still does most of its work in the state, advising House incumbents and challengers, state legislative candidates and other local contenders.
Key clients: Ritchie Torres, Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Adem Bunkeddeko, David Buchwald, Adriano Espaillat, Mike Spano, Leslie Danks Burke, Joseph Lentol, Yuh-Line Niou, Mark Poloncarz, Shawyn Patterson-Howard, Daniel O’Donnell (for public advocate), Rickie Tulloch, Melinda Katz, Mimi Rocah, Shani Curry Mitchell, Carlina Rivera, Mark Levine, Eric Dinowitz, Bernie Sanders
Biggest accomplishments? “We are always proudest of our work with our partners in organized labor, whether that is fighting to defend union rights or helping to deliver crucial electoral victories. … For years the firm has been focused on criminal justice reform and district attorneys’ races, since our role in electing reformer Ken Thompson, we have been a part of four exciting district attorney victories, including this year’s effort helping to elect Mimi Rocah in Westchester County.”
3. Harry Giannoulis
President, The Parkside Group
The Parkside Group’s Harry Giannoulis topped this list last year after flipping the state Senate from red to blue. This year, his firm is working with many of the same clients and new challengers as state Senate Democrats seek a supermajority, which would allow Democratic lawmakers to override gubernatorial vetoes. Parkside was also one of a number of New York firms that signed on to help former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign.
Key clients: Michael Bloomberg, Thomas Suozzi, Michael Gianaris, James Gaughran, Michelle Hinchey, Aravella Simotas, Kevin Thomas, Anna Kaplan, Joseph Addabbo Jr., Jen Metzger, John Brooks, Rachel May, Kenneth Zebrowski, New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee
Biggest accomplishments? “Successful statewide public affairs campaign for 32BJ SEIU, including both a communications effort and direct engagement of lawmakers to ensure the passage of the Healthy Terminals Act. This ensures 25,000 airport workers will have access to health care – crucial especially now for those on the front lines of the pandemic. State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Congressman Tom Suozzi’s reelection campaigns.”
4. Josh Isay, Mike Morey, Kerri Lyon & Morgan Hook
CEO; Partner; Partner; Managing Director, SKDKnickerbocker
SKDKnickerbocker early this year went through a restructuring of its leadership, with Josh Isay taking on the new role of CEO, political veteran Jennifer Cunningham stepping aside and Mike Morey and Kerri Lyon being elevated to partners in New York City. Morgan Hook, a veteran of the Paterson administration, is a leading political consultant who remains at the helm of the Albany office.
The firm, which continues to expand its work on the national stage, made the right bet in signing on early with Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and is currently working on House races across the country. In New York, the firm worked with Rep. Joseph Morelle, who won his primary in June, although its House hopefuls in New York, Michael Blake and Adam Schleifer, fell short. SKDKnickerbocker also acquired Sloane & Co., a corporate and financial communications firm, earlier this year.
Key clients: Joe Biden, Michael Blake, Adam Schleifer, Joseph Morelle, Mark Poloncarz, Christine Quinn
5. Jefrey Pollock, Jeffrey Plaut & Nick Gourevitch
Founding Partner and President; Founding Partner; Partner and Managing Director, Research, Global Strategy Group
Global Strategy Group has grown from a boutique polling firm in New York to a Democratic consulting powerhouse with clients across the country. Jefrey Pollock and Jeffrey Plaut have driven the firm’s expansion since the beginning, while Nick Gourevitch has helped lead the firm’s political polling work – much of it in New York – for years.
Key clients: Michael Bloomberg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Eliot Engel, Joseph Morelle, Nancy Goroff, Max Rose, Ritchie Torres, Jerrold Nadler, David Carlucci, Andrew Cuomo, Mimi Rocah, Melinda Katz, Madeline Singas, Joseph Lentol, Cyrus Vance Jr.
Biggest accomplishments? “GSG had a huge role in 2018, particularly in helping the Democrats recapture the House. GSG’s political clients in 2020 so far have included a presidential campaign, five U.S. Senate candidates, over 40 U.S. House candidates, two gubernatorial candidates, and independent expenditure work with every major Democratic organization involved in 2020. GSG remains the largest Democratic polling firm in the country – we have polled in more races than any other Democratic polling firm since the 2010 cycle.”
6. Valerie Berlin & Alex Navarro-McKay
Principal and Co-founder; Managing Director, BerlinRosen
BerlinRosen is known for electing Bill de Blasio as New York City mayor, but its client roster shows it’s not a one-trick pony. The political team helped Pete Buttigieg break through and has delivered for key Long Island candidates and New York City progressives like Jumaane Williams.
Key clients: Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Adam Schleifer, Perry Gershon, Carolyn Maloney, Tremaine Wright, Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Rebecca Seawright, Jumaane Williams, Farah Louis, Rory Lancman, Steve Bellone, Madeline Singas, Sean Ryan, Rodneyse Bichotte, Laura Curran, Pat Ryan, Brad Lander
7. Roberto Ramírez, Luis Miranda & Katharine Pichardo-Erskine
Founding Partners; President, MirRam Group; Hamilton Campaign Network
MirRam’s Luis Miranda played on “Hamilton,” the hit musical created by his son Lin-Manuel Miranda, with a political consulting arm called the Hamilton Campaign Network. Katharine Pichardo-Erskine took the reins from John Emrick, and the hits keep on coming.
Key clients: Joe Biden, Yvette Clarke, David Carlucci, Adriano Espaillat, Luis Sepúlveda, Karines Reyes, Michael Benedetto, Nathalia Fernandez, Latoya Joyner, Carmen De La Rosa, Kenneth Burgos, Stephanie Keegan, Melinda Katz, Letitia James, Mark Gjonaj
8. Jake Dilemani
Managing Director, Mercury
Mercury works with clients from both parties, but lately its political consulting has catered to Democrats – including Michael Bloomberg’s presidential bid. Jake Dilemani is the lead political consultant.
Key clients: Andrea Stewart-Cousins, George Latimer, Ron Kim, Dan Quart, Zellnor Myrie
Biggest accomplishment? “We were one of the only consultancies to protect a significant amount of incumbents, including six Assembly members, from Queens to the Capital Region, some through New Yorkers for Independent Work.”
9. Tucker F. Green, Michael Kenney & Max Kramer
Founder and President; Principal; Director, Tucker Green & Company
Tucker Green, a top Democratic fundraiser in New York, broadened his scope with the 2018 launch of Conscious Voter Contact, a business that does advertising and content production across digital, direct mail, television, and email and texting programs.
Key clients: Marianne Williamson,Ritchie Torres, Kathleen Rice, Bridget Fleming, Todd Kaminsky, James Gaughran, Mike Siderakis, Gregory Lasak, Jumaane Williams, Steve Bellone, Tim Sini, Laura Curran, Madeline Singas, Laura Gillen, Loree Sutton, Thomas DiNapoli
10. Monica Klein & Elana Leopold
Co-founders, Seneca Strategies
In less than three years, Seneca Strategies has become a go-to firm for progressive candidates.
Key clients: Mondaire Jones, Melanie D’Arrigo, Tiffany Cabán, Melissa Mark-Viverito (for public advocate)
Biggest accomplishments? “As New York Working Families Party’s consultants, Leopold and Klein helped lead political and communications strategy for the WFP’s successful slate of 31 (and counting) progressive Democratic legislative primary wins, and helped introduce new WFP State Director Sochie Nnaemeka to New York. In 2019, Leopold and Klein helped lead political and comms strategy for Tiffany Cabán's nationally followed Queens DA race.”
11. Luke Hayes
Principal, BX Hayes
Perhaps the biggest upset in New York’s June primary was Jamaal Bowman’s victory over Rep. Eliot Engel, with significant credit due to campaign manager Luke Hayes. While not a celebrity like his brother, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Luke has been turning heads by nearly propelling Tiffany Cabán to victory in the Queens district attorney race and helping state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi oust Jeff Klein in 2018.
Key clients: Jamaal Bowman, Tiffany Cabán
12. Rebecca Katz & Camille Rivera
Founding Partner; Partner, New Deal Strategies
After Jamaal Bowman upset Rep. Eliot Engel, he specifically credited the work of New Deal Strategies. Rebecca Kirszner Katz, who previously worked on Bill de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign and Cynthia Nixon’s gubernatorial run, launched the progressive-oriented firm last year. RWDSU veteran Camille Rivera came on in September, bringing valuable union and activist experience.
Key clients: Elizabeth Warren, Jamaal Bowman, Melissa Mark-Viverito (for Congress), Jessica Ramos, Jason Salmon
13. Bill Hyers
Bill Hyers is perhaps best known for guiding Bill de Blasio to City Hall in 2013. More recently, his firm worked on Cory Booker’s presidential campaign, and notched wins with House candidate Mondaire Jones, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
Key clients: Mondaire Jones, Adem Bunkeddeko, Perry Gershon, Jumaane Williams, Michael Blake (for public advocate), Rory Lancman, Steve Bellone, Shaun Donovan
14. Scott Levenson
Founder and President, The Advance Group
The Advance Group’s Scott Levenson is a savvy veteran of political campaigns, most recently helping New York City Council Member Donovan Richards win the Queens borough president primary.
Key clients: Diane Savino, Walter Mosley, Iggy Terranova, Ydanis Rodriguez (for public advocate and for Congress), Dan Quart, Erik Dilan, Jason Salmon, Briget Rein, Donovan Richards, Darma Diaz
Biggest accomplishment? “The Donovan Queens BP election and introducing interns to their first political campaign experience.”
15. Ed Peavy
Founder and Managing Partner, Mission Control
With in-person campaigning limited due to the coronavirus, direct mail is increasingly critical – which is where Ed Peavy’s Mission Control comes in. The national firm did millions of dollars of work on Michael Bloomberg’s presidential bid and was a top consultant for Elizabeth Crowley’s Queens borough president campaign.
Key clients: Michael Bloomberg, Nancy Goroff, Evelyn Farkas, Elizabeth Crowley, Dan Quart, Richard David, Jenifer Rajkumar, Laura Gillen
16. John E. McLaughlin & James F. McLaughlin
CEO/Partner; COO/Partner, McLaughlin & Associates
McLaughlin & Associates, which has offices in New York and Virginia, specializes in public opinion and survey research and media buying for corporate and political clients. Partners John and James McLaughlin work with Republicans at the local, state and federal level, conducting polling for President Donald Trump and Rep. Lee Zeldin while also assisting a number of local candidates on Long Island.
Key clients: Donald Trump,Lee Zeldin, Rob Astorino, John Kennedy
17. John Del Cecato
Partner, AKPD Message and Media
John Del Cecato made his mark in New York City with pivotal TV ads for Bill de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign, and nationally he’s known for working with Barack Obama. More recently he assisted another mayor who ran for president – Pete Buttigieg.
Key clients: Pete Buttigieg, Madeline Singas, Laura Gillen, Gregory Lasak
Biggest accomplishment? “Helping Pete Buttigieg pull off a victory in the Iowa Caucuses. (My areas were TV advertising and debate prep.)”
18. Taryn Rosenkranz
Founder and CEO, New Blue Interactive
Taryn Rosenkranz’s Washington, D.C.-based New Blue Interactive relies on digital prowess – online advertising, email list building, text-messaging campaigns – to bring politics into the 21st century. The firm helped Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler fend off strong challenges this cycle. Apart from House Democrats in New York, the firm is working with Manhattan district attorney candidate Eliza Orlins.
Key clients: Carolyn Maloney, Paul Tonko, Jerrold Nadler, Eliza Orlins
19. Jeff Guillot & Alex Voetsch
Partners, Millennial Strategies
Millennial Strategies’ Jeff Guillot and Alex Voetsch played a part in Jumaane Williams big win as public advocate last year, and they notched another victory this year with Jessica González-Rojas’ primary victory over Assembly Member Michael DenDekker. A talented staffer on their growing team is Cristina Gonzalez, who worked directly on Williams’ campaign.
Key clients: Suraj Patel, David Weprin, Gregory Lasak, Cameron Koffman, Jessica González-Rojas, Jumaane Williams, Monique Chandler-Waterman
20. Peter Brown & Chris Miller
Founding Partners, BrownMillerGroup
Key clients: Jessica Ramos, Elizabeth Crowley, Dawn Smalls, Tiffany Cabán, Nader Sayegh, Grace Lee, Shawyn Patterson-Howard, Jovia Radix, Joseph Ruggiero
Biggest accomplishment? “Our work with grassroots progressive insurgents including … Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard; near-wins with Queens DA candidate Tiffany Cabán and public advocate candidate Dawn Smalls; issue advocacy wins with … TenantsPAC's wins for New York tenants; and being chosen by the city of New York to run the U.S. Census outreach canvass.”
21. William Deegan & Brendan Klein
Partners, North Shore Strategies
Will Deegan and Brendan Klein extended the reach of their Queens-based firm into Long Island, helping Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone win reelection. They also guided Farah Louis to victory in a New York City Council special election.
Key clients: Max Rose, Allison Fine, Perry Gershon, Alessandra Biaggi, Laura Ahearn, Catalina Cruz, Steven Cymbrowitz, Peter Abbate Jr., Amy Paulin, Edward Braunstein, Cameron Koffman, Anthony Scarpino, Farah Louis, Melissa Mark-Viverito (for public advocate), Rory Lancman, Steve Bellone
22. Hector Sigala & Liz Bennett
Founder; Director of Advertising, Middle Seat Consulting
Middle Seat Consulting, a Washington, D.C., digital firm founded by Bernie Sanders veterans, aided Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, who upset Rep. Eliot Engel in June. The firm also works with progressive Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Ro Khanna.
Key clients: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman
Biggest accomplishment: “Middle Seat helped with the media and online fundraising efforts to elect Jamaal Bowman, one of the most dynamic new progressive voices in New York politics.”
23. Doug Schoen & Carly Cooperman
Founder; CEO, Schoen Cooperman Research
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg relied heavily on Doug Schoen, his go-to pollster, and Carly Cooperman to catch up to the rest of the pack during his short-lived presidential bid. Last month, Schoen brought on Cooperman as CEO and rebranded as Schoen Cooperman Research. The firm is Everytown for Gun Safety’s long-time pollster and helped Democrats flip Virginia’s state legislature in 2019 and take the House of Representatives in 2018.
Key client: Michael Bloomberg, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Melissa Mark-Viverito (for public advocate)
24. Jimmy Siegel & Miriam Hess
Partners, Siegel Strategies
Siegel Strategies has created game-changing advertising for many corporations, nonprofits and political entities, but its most noteworthy client in the past year was Michael Bloomberg. The former New York City mayor paid Siegel more than $9 million for media consulting for his presidential campaign. Jimmy Siegel got his start in corporate advertising, while Miriam Hess was a top official on Eliot Spitzer’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
Key client: Mike Bloomberg
25. Trip Yang
Democratic Political Strategist
Trip Yang managed Jumaane Williams’ New York City public advocate campaign and helped City Council Member Donovan Richards win the Queens borough president primary. Yang, who focuses on consulting for progressive candidates and candidates of color, was Bernie Sanders’ New York political director. He also advised the campaigns of state Attorney General Letitia James and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Key clients: Bernie Sanders,Jumaane Williams, Donovan Richards, Grace Lee
26. David Mansur & Allegra Scheinblum
Partners, Culver Place Strategies
Culver Place Strategies is led by openly LGBTQ fundraising consultants David Mansur and Allegra Scheinblum. Among their clients are a number of congressional, state legislative and district attorney candidates.
Key clients: Jerrold Nadler, David Carlucci, Perry Gershon, Melissa Mark-Viverito (for Congress), Mimi Rocah, John Brooks, Monica Martinez, James Skoufis, James Gaughran, Liz Krueger, Dan Quart, Carmen De La Rosa, Robert Cornegy, Melinda Katz, Letitia James, Eric Gonzalez, Darcel Clark
27. Andrew Bleeker & Danny Franklin
President and Founder; Partner and Head of Research, Bully Pulpit Interactive
Bully Pulpit Interactive assisted Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 reelection bid, and has done pro-bono work for the New York state Department of Health during the COVID-19 crisis. The firm has offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
Key clients: Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Cuomo
Biggest accomplishment? “Helping campaigns from presidential to city council adapt to running in a virtual world where digital platforms are the primary battlefield.”
28. Tyquana L. Rivers
President, Connective Strategies
Tyquana Rivers, whose firm is 100% run by Black women, consulted for two big Queens winners – District Attorney Melinda Katz and Donovan Richards for borough president.
Key clients: Donovan Richards, Gregory Meeks, Cathy Nolan, Jeff Aubry, Melinda Katz
Biggest accomplishment? “Being able to pivot from straight campaign work to training our staff to show the human side of politics (while also personally battling COVID-19 along with my husband and homeschooling a 7-year-old).”
29. Kim DiTomasso
Founder and Principal, Ditto Consulting
If you’ve run for office in Westchester, you’ve probably run into Kim DiTomasso, who works with many Democrats in the county.
Key clients: Nita Lowey, David Buchwald, George Latimer, Mike Spano, Noam Bramson, Shelley Mayer, Pete Harckham, Amy Paulin, Kenneth Zebrowski, Anthony Scarpino
Biggest accomplishment? “Helped build the Democratic supermajority of the Westchester County Legislature by flipping a northern seat for the first time in history with the election of Colin Smith.”
30. Phil Singer
Founder and Managing Director, Marathon Strategies
Marathon Strategies specializes in crisis and corporate communications, but it’s no slouch when it comes to political consulting. Phil Singer cut his teeth as U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer’s communications director and has advised Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaigns. He also helped then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 2008 White House bid, and got back into the presidential game recently with another powerful New York Democrat: Michael Bloomberg.
Key client: Michael Bloomberg, Melissa Mark-Viverito (for public advocate), Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
31. Lynn Krogh & Vince Casale
Co-owners, The Casale Group
Besides owning The Casale Group, Lynn Krogh is its self-described “political architect” and Vince Casale is the “chief strategery officer.” Yet they’re serious about effectively representing Republicans, including helping Nick Langworthy get elected as state party chair. The firm also helped Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro win reelection after his 2018 gubernatorial contest.
Key clients: Mike Martucci, Peter Oberacker, Bill Weber, Chris Tague, John Salka, Ed Day, Marc Molinaro, Rob Rolison
32. Walter Swett & Darren Rigger
Partners, Dynamic SRG
Walter Swett and Darren Rigger run Dynamic SRG, a Harlem-based operation that raises millions of dollars for city, state and federal candidates, which, they told City & State, lets them “spend more time governing and less time fundraising.”
Key clients: Gregory Meeks, Joseph Morelle, Carolyn Maloney, Mark Levine, Gustavo Rivera, Joseph Addabbo Jr., Anna Kaplan, Kevin Thomas, Zellnor Myrie, Inez Dickens, David Weprin, Danny O’Donnell (for public advocate)
33. Patrick Jenkins
President, Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates
Patrick Jenkins is known as an Albany lobbyist and close ally of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, though he also assists Heastie on the campaign trail. Jenkins and his firm count several Black state lawmakers as clients and did work for Heastie’s PAC, which battled a number of outsider challenges against legislative incumbents.
Key clients: Carl Heastie, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Jamaal Bailey, Kevin Parker, Speaker Heastie PAC, Alicia Hyndman
34. Lis Smith
Some political consultants take on clients like they’re collecting stamps, while others sign on with a single politician – an approach taken by Lis Smith, who helped make Pete Buttigieg one of the biggest success stories of the 2020 Democratic presidential race, even though the former mayor of South Bend ultimately lost. In the past, she has also worked on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reelection effort.
Key clients: Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Cuomo
35. Annie Weir
Founder, Weir & Co.
Annie Weir is a Democratic fundraiser with experience at the local, state and federal levels, including Hillary Clinton’s 2008 White House bid and Christine Quinn’s 2013 run for New York City mayor. This cycle, she helped finance New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres’ congressional primary victory.
Key clients: Ritchie Torres, Sean Patrick Maloney, Adam Schleifer, Brad Hoylman, Andrew Gounardes, Aravella Simotas, Michael Gianaris, Laura Ahearn, Karen Smythe, Gregory Lasak, Christine Quinn
36. Michael Giaccio
Partner, Bedford Grove
A veteran fundraiser, Michael Giaccio has helped two of New York’s most powerful politicians – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie – raise money in 2019 and 2020. Besides assisting de Blasio’s unsuccessful presidential bid, Giaccio also raised funds for the mayor’s federal Fairness PAC.
Key clients: Bill de Blasio, Carl Heastie, Catalina Cruz, Speaker Heastie PAC, NY Fairness PAC
37. Jerry Skurnik & Stu Osnow
Partners, Prime New York
Jerry Skurnik and Stu Osnow aren’t quite like the other consultants on this list, given their specialty in providing invaluable, up-to-date data on voters – names, email addresses, phone numbers and more – for any campaign, Democrat or Republican. They also handle online and social media campaigning, an increasingly crucial service due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Key clients: Eliot Engel, David Carlucci, Eric Ulrich, Steve Bellone
38. John Balduzzi & Jessica Evangelista
President; Senior Vice President, The Balduzzi Group
The Balduzzi Group’s New York office is located outside of Rochester in a small town called Victor – which aligns nicely with the advertising and direct-mail firm’s efforts to win elections. The husband-and-wife duo of John Balduzzi and Jessica Evangelista have a Washington, D.C., office, but retain a strong clientele in New York. Last year they helped elect Adam Bello as Monroe County executive.
Key clients: Joe Morelle, Jeremy Cooney, Adam Bello
39. Evan Thies & Alexis Grenell
Co-founders, Pythia Public Affairs
Pythia Public Affairs has been a powerhouse in Albany in recent years, spearheading state legislation on automatic voter registration, allowing e-bikes and e-scooters, and combatting sexual harassment. They also run a thriving political consulting business, with clients at the city, state and federal level, and were part of the successful effort to institute ranked-choice voting in New York City.
Key clients: Todd Kaminsky, Jimmy Van Bramer
40. Barry Caro
President, Bartholomew Communications & Strategies
Barry Caro has been building up a strong consulting business in New York City and Westchester.
Key clients: Jumaane Williams, Costa Constantinides, Elijah Reichlin-Melnick
Biggest accomplishment? “The two I'm most proud of were decisively flipping a Westchester County Legislative seat that had not gone Democratic in living memory and the strong field campaign we had put together for the Costa Constantinides campaign in Queens prior to COVID-enforced shutdown of campaigning in March.”
41. Keith Davies
Principal, KMD Consulting
Early on, it looked like Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin might face a rematch against businessman Perry Gershon, but Long Island Democrats instead got behind Nancy Goroff, a Stony Brook University professor whose campaign was assisted by KMD Consulting. Keith Davies' firm also does significant work for the Suffolk County Democratic Committee.
Key client: Nancy Goroff
42. Jon Paul Lupo
Although New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s presidential bid fizzled, it did give him a platform to advocate for his progressive ideals around the country. One of de Blasio’s top campaign advisers was Jon Paul Lupo, a former City Hall aide. Lupo has since consulted for Maya Wiley, another former de Blasio official who’s mulling a run for mayor.
Key clients: Bill de Blasio, Maya Wiley
43. Jonathan Davis
Managing Director, Northside Research + Consulting
Many political consultants operate behind the scenes, but few are as under the radar as Jonathan Davis, an opposition research expert. While Davis declines to disclose his clients, public filings show he works in high-profile races, including New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres’ victory in a crowded South Bronx congressional primary.
Key clients: Ritchie Torres, Adem Bunkeddeko, Melinda Katz, Monica Martinez, Melissa Mark-Viverito (for public advocate), Mike Spano, Mimi Rocah
44. Michael Nieves
Michael Nieves is a former legislative aide and political adviser who now runs HITN, a nonprofit Spanish language television network, but he hasn’t left campaign work behind. Nieves, who has worked for New York City Council Member Robert Cornegy, former Rep. Charles Rangel, former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate and former Bronx Democratic leader José Rivera, most recently consulted for Anthony Miranda in the Queens borough president Democratic primary.
Key client: Anthony Miranda
45. Richard Fife
President, RJF Communications
Richard Fife has worked for former Gov. David Paterson, New York City Council Member Bill Perkins and state Sen. Robert Jackson. The veteran consultant is now assisting Alvin Bragg in a crowded Manhattan district attorney race.
Key clients: Robert Jackson, Alvin Bragg
Biggest accomplishments: “Advising successful reelection victories for Robert Jackson, Robert Rodriguez and Al Taylor. Launching Alvin Bragg campaign for Manhattan district attorney and Johanna Garcia for City Council.”
46. Michael Oliva
President, Sykes Global Communications
Michael Oliva and his wife, Ronnie Oliva, form the power couple behind Sykes Global Communications. The political consultant, who has a knack for winning judicial races, has consulted for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. He’s now working for Manhattan district attorney candidate Liz Crotty. His Manhattan firm also opened a Suffolk County office this year.
Key clients: Lindsey Boylan,Liz Crotty, Kevin Parker, Dan Padernacht
47. Lupe Todd-Medina
President, Effective Media Strategies
Lupe Todd-Medina, who in the past helped elect Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, has also done work for Assembly Member Jeff Aubry, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and, on a national scale, the ERA Coalition. She did work in 2019 for Rep. Yvette Clarke, and during the campaign season she did key work on Grace Lee's effort to oust Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou.
Key clients: Grace Lee
48. Chapin Fay
Founder and CEO, Lighthouse Public Affairs
The Republican consultant, who managed Harry Wilson’s state comptroller campaign and sent Lee Zeldin to Congress, recently left Mercury.
Key clients: Joseph Caldarera, Thomas Zmich, John Cummings
Biggest accomplishment? “Former NYPD officer John Cummings' campaign who is running against AOC. I put together a national fundraising operation that has raised $4 million, $1 million in July alone, and locally managed the campaign successfully through a field of 14 opponents, avoiding a primary altogether.”
49. David Neal
President, Strategic Media Services
Republican candidates have struggled in New York for years, but one bright spot for the party is Rep. Chris Jacobs, a former state senator who just won the special election to replace Chris Collins in Western New York. Jacobs’ campaign, which is likely to win again in the November, paid more than half a million dollars to David Neal’s Washington, D.C.-based Strategic Media Services.
Key client: Chris Jacobs
50. Amelia Adams
President, Adams Advisors
Amelia Adams held key roles in the New York City Council, the nonprofit sector and on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reelection bid before launching her own consulting firm in 2018. One client, New York City Council Member Rory Lancman, fell short in the Queens district attorney race, but another client, the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting NYC, succeeded in getting the voting system approved.
Key client: Rory Lancman
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the principal at KMD Consulting.