After any big election, the winning candidate gets to bask in the media spotlight and assume important governmental responsibilities. But what about the political consultants who got a candidate elected in the first place? City & State’s Top 75 Political Consultants highlights the advisers, pollsters, fundraisers, ad-makers, data specialists and other experts who get a campaign up and running – and across the finish line.
This list, compiled by City & State staff with research and writing by journalist Max Parrott, ranks consultants who are operating in New York, including firms headquartered elsewhere but with a noteworthy presence in the state. Since it’s an annual list, it’s based on outcomes over the past 12 months – including last year’s general election and this year’s primaries. It covers races that are at least somewhat competitive at the local, state and federal level, and accounts for the number of major candidates on a consultant’s client list, win-loss record and the importance of any given race – resulting in a ranking that’s inevitably subjective and open to debate. (Send us feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.) We’ve also expanded the scope by featuring more consultants working solely or primarily on issue advocacy campaigns.
Without further ado, we’re pleased to present the Top 75 Political Consultants.
Global Strategy Group has built a reputation as one of the most powerful polling operations in New York state – and beyond. This past year, the firm took on some of the most high-profile state and congressional races, contributing research and polling for a long list of winning campaigns – including Gov. Kathy Hochul, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in his primary battle against progressive insurgent state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and Byron Brown during his untraditional write-in campaign to stay on as Buffalo mayor. The growing firm also has a roster of high-profile clients all across the country and helped Kansans for Constitutional Freedom defeat a closely watched anti-abortion ballot measure earlier this year.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Byron Brown for Buffalo mayor; Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Pat Ryan, Sean Patrick Maloney, Robert Zimmerman, Francis Conole and Max Rose for Congress; Jeffrey Dinowitz for Assembly; Priorities USA
Following its blockbuster work on Eric Adams’ victorious New York City mayoral run in 2021 – including an easy general victory over Curtis Sliwa – Red Horse Strategies brought on the mayor’s campaign manager, Katie Moore, as a partner. This cycle, it has kept up its New York focus with a variety of state legislative races. The multifaceted political strategy firm contributed to several progressive incumbents like Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi and state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who was on the defensive against a more moderate challenger. The team also engineered two Assembly upsets: MaryJane Shimsky ousted Assembly Member Thomas Abinati in Westchester and George Alvarez knocked out Jose Rivera in the Bronx. The firm also brought on Michael DeLoach as vice president for issue advocacy.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor (independent expenditure); Nydia Velazquez for Congress; Gustavo Rivera for state Senate; Jeffrey Dinowitz, George Alvarez, Andrew Hevesi and MaryJane Shimsky for Assembly
Originally founded as a two-member shop in 2005, BerlinRosen has since grown to become a prominent player on the national stage. This year, the firm helped secure a key victory for former federal prosecutor Dan Goldman in the highly competitive Democratic primary for the newly created 10th Congressional District. For its work on the race, the firm raked in nearly $2 million in campaign cash from the deep-pocketed candidate. BerlinRosen also contributed to former Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen’s pivotal Democratic primary victory in Long Island’s 4th Congressional District, which is being vacated by Rep. Kathleen Rice.
Key clients: Dan Goldman, Pat Ryan, Robert Zimmerman and Laura Gillen for Congress; Alex Bores for Assembly
Mark Guma has helped fresh political faces ascend to office and skilled veterans defend their seats. This summer, he worked with long-standing client Rep. Jerry Nadler, helping the House Judiciary Committee chair withstand a high-profile primary battle against fellow incumbent and former Guma client Rep. Carolyn Maloney. He also worked with Assembly Member Erik Dilan and state Sen. Robert Jackson to fend off strong challenges – a shift from 2018, when he assisted insurgents in unseating incumbents who had belonged to the controversial Independent Democratic Conference.
Key clients: Jerry Nadler for Congress; Erik Dilan for Assembly; Robert Jackson for state Senate
Two powerhouse consultants who were key to the successes of the 21 in ’21 initiative to elect 21 women to the New York City Council joined forces this year to form Adams Buckner Advisors. Co-founder Amelia Adams chaired that initiative – recently rebranded The New Majority NYC – which supported a host of female City Council candidates in the 2021 general election and wildly outperformed its goal, with 31 women elected to the legislative body. Fellow co-founder Yvette Buckner, a former campaign director of Tusk Strategies, also worked on the initiative, in addition to doing campaign work for state Attorney General Letitia James in her bid for reelection.
Key client: 21 in ’21
Pythia Public’s Evan Thies and Alexis Grenell have established themselves as a prominent political force in Albany and New York City in the six years since they co-founded their firm. In 2021, Thies spearheaded communications on the New York City mayoral campaign of Eric Adams, who easily defeated Republican Curtis Sliwa in the general election. They couldn’t deliver a win for former state Sen. Todd Kaminsky’s district attorney bid, however, as Republicans bounced back on Long Island, but the team notched some notable policy victories in Albany, including passage of the Adult Survivors Act and a state ban on bitcoin mining. The growing firm also hired Port Authority veteran Ben Branham as managing director.
Key clients: Eric Adams for New York City mayor, Todd Kaminsky for Nassau district attorney; Safe Horizon; Seneca Lake Guardian; Common Cause
Known as a top fundraising firm in New York politics, the newly renamed and expanding Threshold Group – formerly Tucker Green & Company and Conscious Voter Contact – has been busy as a campaign consultant for Gov. Kathy Hochul, who won a decisive gubernatorial primary victory in her campaign for a full term. In addition to that statewide race, Threshold Group has also gotten involved in several competitive congressional races. The firm helped Democrat Laura Gillen win a four-way congressional primary to take over the Democratic-leaning seat from retiring Rep. Kathleen Rice in Nassau County, and it was one of a number of consultants playing a role in Rep. Pat Ryan’s attention-grabbing special election victory in the Hudson Valley.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Laura Gillen and Pat Ryan for Congress; New York League of Conservation Voters PAC
A mainstay consulting group in the state Legislature, The Parkside Group’s claim to fame rests on its work as the principal strategist for the state Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, which helped the conference win a majority in 2018 and a supermajority of seats in 2020. The firm built on that work this past year, helping Democratic state Sens. Joe Addabbo and Andrew Gounardes fend off primary challengers. The firm has provided polling, targeting, mail, TV and digital advertising to many other candidates and organizations at the local, state and federal levels.
Key clients: Andrew Gounardes and Joe Addabbo for state Senate
Conservative consulting firm McLaughlin & Associates helped Republicans Bruce Blakeman and Anne Donnelly harness the conservative bounce in New York’s 2021 municipal elections and topple their Democratic opponents in the general election for Nassau County executive and district attorney, respectively. Since then, the firm has set its sights on the governorship, conducting polling for Rep. Lee Zeldin in his contested primary campaign against Andrew Giuliani. Though nothing this year rises to the scale of having former President Donald Trump as a client in 2020, a handful of key Republican campaigns have provided big opportunities to partners John and Jim McLaughlin.
Key clients: Lee Zeldin for governor; Bruce Blakeman for Nassau County executive; Anne Donnelly for Nassau County district attorney; National Republican Congressional Committee
SKDK lived up to its prestigious New York reputation with a list of successful campaigns this summer. Coming off its work for the 2020 Biden presidential campaign, the firm staffed by political veterans took on several big midterm contracts this cycle, working with House primary winners Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Josh Riley in the Hudson Valley and Robert Zimmerman on Long Island. The bicoastal political consulting firm company, which is now part of The Stagwell Group, has New York offices in Manhattan and Albany. It reported producing 27 ads so far this year. The firm also brought on government affairs veteran Marissa Shorenstein, while Doug Thornell, partner and head of the firm’s political department, is stepping into the role of CEO in January, while Josh Isay transitions to a new role as senior counsel.
Key clients: Sean Patrick Maloney, Josh Riley, Matt Castelli and Robert Zimmerman for Congress
Communications and political strategist Richard Fife kept up his long track record of delivering in competitive races, most notably helping to lead Dan Goldman's come-from-behind victory in a closely watched Democratic congressional primary. He also helped two politicians in Harlem to victory during contested state Senate races. Fife helped Cordell Cleare win a special election for a state Senate seat, then led state Sen. Robert Jackson to victory against a Rep. Adriano Espaillat-backed challenger. Last year, he followed up on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s primary win to help him clinch the general election.
Key clients: Dan Goldman for Congress; Robert Jackson and Cordell Cleare for state Senate
Though the Hamilton Campaign Network did not get to support a gubernatorial run by state Attorney General Letitia James, a longtime client, after she abruptly decided against it, this MirRam subsidiary group garnered some success in several key state races this summer. One of its bigger clients, Assembly Member Michael Benedetto, fended off a challenge from an insurgent endorsed by the Working Families Party and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It also helped Bronx Democrat Nathalia Fernandez take over the state Senate seat vacated by Alessandra Biaggi, who ran for Congress.
Key clients: Adriano Espaillat, Hakeem Jeffries and Vedat Gashi for Congress; Nathalia Fernandez for state Senate; Michael Benedetto for Assembly
Founded in 2008 by Tyquana Henderson-Rivers, Connective Strategies is an advocacy and political campaign firm led by Black women. The firm, which also brought on the Rev. Stephan Marshall as vice president recently, has picked up off the success of the Queens Countywide campaigns of District Attorney Melinda Katz and Borough President Donovan Richards, expanding its focus both locally and statewide. The firm is providing consulting services to Gov. Kathy Hochul as she aims to remain in the governor’s mansion and also assisted the efforts of veteran Assembly Members Inez Dickens, Jeffrion Aubry and Vivian Cook to fend off Democratic primary challengers this past cycle.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Jeffrion Aubry, Inez Dickens and Vivian Cook for Assembly
In the nearly two years since its founding, Declaration Media has built its reputation as a leading national advertising firm that caters to Democratic candidates and causes. The company, created by Meredith Kelly, AJ Lenar and Trey Nix, picked up Gov. Kathy Hochul as a client last year and has gone on to frame a media and messaging campaign that focuses, among other things, on her record of pushing for gun regulations. Declaration has been keyed into New York politics through one of its founders, Kelly, who previously provided communications services to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Key client: Kathy Hochul for governor
Effective Media is a boutique communications public relations firm that has had a high-profile list of clients ranging from Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to Gov. Kathy Hochul. Lupé Todd-Medina specializes in making difficult issues relatable to diverse audiences. Her work took her across New York this past year, including advising Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on his successful write-in campaign, Hochul on her gubernatorial race and Upper Manhattan legislators Cordell Cleare for state Senate and Inez Dickens for Assembly.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Byron Brown for Buffalo mayor; Cordell Cleare for state Senate; Inez Dickens for Assembly
Editor’s note: Lupé Todd-Medina is a member of City & State’s advisory board.
The brother of MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes, Luke Hayes has accrued his own sphere of New York political influence in his decade-plus experience of campaign management. This summer, he returned to the campaign trail in his home borough to help Rep. Jamaal Bowman hold on to his Bronx seat after working to get him elected in 2020. Bowman’s primary victory follows a series of strong showings from Hayes’ political circle, which includes Tiffany Cabán in her run for Queens district attorney and Alessandra Biaggi in her run for state Senate.
Key client: Jamaal Bowman for Congress
After delivering progressive victories for New York City Council Members Sandy Nurse and Tiffany Cabán in 2021, New Deal Strategies snapped into action in the 2021 legislative primary to help secure the reelection of state Sen. Gustavo Rivera and elect Nathalia Fernandez to state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi’s Bronx seat. In the three years since Rebecca Katz and Camille Rivera co-founded the firm, it has continued to produce progressive electoral victories for its clients.
Key clients: Gustavo Rivera and Nathalia Fernandez for state Senate
With a focus on Democratic and progressive campaigns, William Deegan and Brendan Klein’s firm took on a long list of candidates this year with an impressive success rate. Most notably, the team helped Max Rose win the Democratic primary for Staten Island’s House seat. North Shore’s 2022 roster also includes Assembly candidates Nikki Lucas and Jeffrey Dinowitz – incumbents who successfully fought for reelection – and Grace Lee, who’s set to succeed Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, and Juan Ardila, a Working Families Party-endorsed progressive who won the seat opened by Assembly Member Cathy Nolan’s retirement.
Key clients: Max Rose, Jo Anne Simon and Vedat Gashi for Congress; Andrew Gounardes and Jessica Scarcella-Spanton for state Senate; Jeffrey Dinowitz, Grace Lee, Juan Ardila and Nikki Lucas for Assembly; Tony Avella for New York City Council
The Win Company, a political media company, set its sights on the governor’s mansion this past cycle via a big contract with the Hochul campaign. The Win Company Partner and Managing Director Bill Hyers came to the company fresh off his long shot victory as a campaign manager for Bill de Blasio’s first New York City mayoral campaign. Since then, he’s worked on campaigns supporting Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton, state Attorney General Letitia James, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; India Walton for Buffalo mayor
After working on political campaigns for nearly a decade, Trip Yang started his own political consulting business in September 2019. He has booked a full roster of big-name municipal clients, ranging from Shekar Krishnan for New York City Council to Jumaane Williams for New York City public advocate and Vanessa Gibson for Bronx borough president. In the 2022 state legislative primaries, he helped catapult Grace Lee into the lead in the race to take Yuh-Line Niou’s vacated Assembly seat and worked with Cordell Cleare to defend her state Senate seat. Albert Suh joined Trip Yang Strategies in the past year and contributed to their recent political work.
Key clients: Dan Goldman and Max Rose for Congress; Jumaane Williams for governor; Cordell Cleare for state Senate; Grace Lee, Steven Raga, Al Taylor and Anthony Andrews for Assembly; Gale Brewer for New York City Council speaker
Editor’s note: Trip Yang is a member of City & State’s advisory board.
Advance Group founder Scott Levenson came out of labor and community organizing in the 1980s to form the firm over three decades ago. Since helping Vanessa Gibson and Donovan Richards win their respective borough president races in 2020, the company has been involved in several city and state legislative races over the past year, assisting in Democrat Jessica Scarcella-Spanton’s win in a competitive primary for state Sen. Diane Savino’s seat and Kenneth Chiu, who narrowly lost a Democratic primary to Ron Kim for Assembly District 40.
Key clients: Jessica Scarcella-Spanton for state Senate; Kenneth Chiu for Assembly; Ari Kagan and Kamillah Hanks for New York City Council
Millennial Strategies’ approach to messaging involves cultivating the “personal touch” that might attract voters looking for relatability in their political candidates. This year, their style of campaigning helped Tony Simone win the Democratic primary for outgoing Assembly Member Richard Gottfried’s Manhattan seat. Partners Jeffrey Guillot and Alex Voetsch have worked with a range of New York campaigns in recent years, including Jumaane Williams for New York City public advocate and the No IDC NY campaign, which unseated six of the eight former Independent Democratic Conference members.
Key clients: Tony Simone for Assembly; Angel Vasquez for state Senate; Suraj Patel for Congress; United Federation of Teachers; Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic; The Nature Conservancy; New York League of Conservation Voters; Eleanor's Legacy Action Fund; New York Women Lead; A Better New York for All
A national firm that specializes in creative persuasion direct mail for Democratic campaigns,
Mission Control has deep roots in New York. This state legislative cycle, it continued its work with statewide organizations like Laborers Building a Better New York, the state Democratic Committee and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s reelection campaign. Mission Control also worked directly on the winning legislative primary campaign of Monica Martinez, who beat out Assembly Member Phil Ramos in her state Senate comeback bid on Long Island, and propelled Democratic Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon to a reelection victory in the face of a resurgent Republican Party in the region.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Sean Patrick Maloney, Jackie Gordon, Josh Riley and Bridget Fleming for Congress; Monica Martinez and Elizabeth Crowley for state Senate; Errol Toulon for Suffolk County sheriff; Laborers Building a Better New York; New York State Democratic Committee
Tulchin Research, a firm with an extensive history conducting surveys for New York political institutions, made a big impact in 2021 with its polling for Eric Adams’ New York City mayoral campaign. It then worked with Zephyr Teachout on her short-lived campaign to succeed Letitia James as state attorney general during the brief period when James was exploring a run for governor. The firm also worked with New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, a charter school advocacy PAC, and recently hired Kelsey Bullis as an analyst.
Key clients: Eric Adams for New York City mayor; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany
Vito Pitta made the political consultant list last year after reporting surfaced that he had provided substantial political advice to Eric Adams during his successful New York City mayoral campaign. In the 2022 election cycle, Pitta continued his political track record by contracting with the Committee for a Fair New York PAC, which supported 10 Assembly candidates in New York City – all of whom were facing progressive opponents.
Key clients: Eric Adams for New York City mayor; Committee for a Fair New York
Renaissance Campaigns, a branch of the broader Mercury government consulting organization, took on two neck and neck Assembly primary contests this past year and helped lead both candidates to victory. Led by Mercury Partner Jake Dilemani, the team assisted Eddie Gibbs, who won a special election to become the first state legislator to be elected after serving time in prison and then ran a victorious campaign in the primary for Assembly District 68. Mercury also worked on Ron Kim’s tight Assembly primary race against a more conservative, public safety-focused opponent. Among the members of the experienced campaign team at Mercury are Jon Reinish, Greg Lavine, Greg Drilling, Jill Wieck, Carolyn Riggs and Aaron Siegel.
Key clients: Catherine Parker for Congress; Elizabeth Crowley for state Senate; Ron Kim, Eddie Gibbs and Russell Squire for Assembly; Nassau County Democratic Committee; Environmental Defense Fund; Show Up Turn Out
Coming off of a campaign for Hotel and Gaming Trades Council campaign to support then-New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams and several New York City Council candidates in 2021, Metropolitan Public Strategies transitioned into advocacy for several other causes in 2022. The firm, founded by Neal Kwatra, worked for New Yorkers for Responsible Gaming to successfully push for language in the state budget allowing for downstate casino expansion. Kwatra also contracted with the Carpenters Union to support Gov. Kathy Hochul and five state legislative races, and is working with the international wind energy company Ørsted on a new RFP for a major wind energy development project off New York's Atlantic coast.
Key clients: Resorts World; Orsted; Westfield; Bally’s; Maimonides Hospital; Haussmann Development; Witkoff Group
Moonshot Strategies is a new consulting and government relations firm created by Jenny Sedlis and Jason Ortiz, who decided to co-found the firm after collaborating on the PAC that raised over $6 million for Eric Adams’ New York City mayoral bid. Ortiz was previously the director of political and strategic affairs for the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, and Sedlis served as executive director of a charter school advocacy group, which connected them to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, a PAC that supports the charter school movement. The firm, which helped the Human Services Council secure a cost-of-living adjustment for nonprofit staffers, has also added Mitch Schwartz, Elana Leopold, Kelly Taylor and Jason Laidley to its growing team.
Key clients: New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council; StudentsFirstNY; Innocence Project; Vera Institute of Justice; Mets owner Steve Cohen; NYCLASS; Human Services Council
For decades, Patrick B. Jenkins has built a reputation as an influential Albany lobbyist, but this man of many hats also advises election campaigns. In addition to his longtime friendship with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie – a former college roommate – Jenkins is also Heastie’s campaign consultant. This year, in addition to his work for Heastie, Jenkins advised Assembly Member Vivian Cook on her successful bid to fight off a challenger to her Southeast Queens seat.
Key clients: Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie; Assembly Members Vivian Cook and Jeffrion Aubry
Slingshot Strategies is a small communications and polling firm that conducts political and advocacy campaigns focused on boosting civic engagement and marginalized communities. In 2019, the firm earned a big win by providing data to Jumaane Williams’ victorious New York City public advocate campaign. This summer, it notched a national-scale victory by providing communications support for Rep. Pat Ryan, the Hudson Valley Democrat who won a toss-up special election to replace Antonio Delgado in Congress. Also, New York Post veteran Sam Raskin joined the firm in September.
Key clients: Pat Ryan, Carlina Rivera and Suraj Patel for Congress; Open New York; Open Plans; 32BJ SEIU; Planned Parenthood of Greater New York; Community Violence Intervention Collaborative; Indian American Impact Fund
Sole Strategies assisted three crucial congressional primary campaigns in New York this past summer. The firm, which describes itself as a one-stop shop for Democratic fundraising, field operations, public relations and digital strategy, worked on two toss-up primaries upstate and the hotly contested primary for the new 10th District in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In the Hudson Valley, it provided field consulting and canvassing for Francis Conole, who won the Democratic primary for the new 22nd District, which The Cook Political Report lists as a deadlock. The firm also provided petitioning for Rep. Pat Ryan’s congressional campaign and fundraising services for Dan Goldman.
Key clients: Pat Ryan, Dan Goldman and Francis Conole for Congress
Dynamic SRG co-founders Walter Swett and Darren Rigger have been working in New York state politics for decades, where they have raised millions of dollars for Democratic candidates. During this election cycle, the team has helped fundraise for state Sens. Gustavo Rivera and Joseph Addabbo Jr., who successfully dispatched two primary challengers, and has worked with the Queens Democratic Committee.
Key clients: Gustavo Rivera and Joseph Addabbo Jr. for state Senate; Queens County Democratic Party
The Rochester-based Balduzzi Group team is a go-to source of political advertising and direct mail campaigns for local clients. The group’s work this year anchored the firm's founder John Balduzzi in his native town of Syracuse to support independent candidate Ben Walsh in his second reelection campaign as the city’s mayor. Additionally, the firm handled the mailing campaigns for the 2021 general elections for the state Democratic Party.
Key clients: Ben Walsh for Syracuse mayor; New York State Democratic Committee
In this year’s Assembly primary, Westchester campaign mastermind Kim DiTomasso added another win to her track record of influencing county elections. DiTomasso worked with Working Families Party-backed Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky, who claimed victory in a competitive primary race against incumbent Assembly Member Thomas Abinanti for Assembly District 92. At the same time, she helped incumbent Assembly Member Michael Benedetto, whose Bronx district borders Westchester, fend off a WFP-backed progressive challenger.
Key clients: Carolyn Maloney, Vedat Gashi and Jo Anne Simon for Congress;
MaryJane Shimsky and Michael Benedetto for Assembly; Westchester County Democratic Committee; Democratic Majority Action Committee
Middle Seat Consulting, a Washington, D.C.-based firm, has worked on high-profile national Democratic campaigns in recent years like the Biden Victory Fund and the Women’s March. In New York, it has its finger on the pulse of the lawmakers trying to push Congress to the left. This past year, it ran digital advertising campaigns for Reps. Jerry Nadler and Jamaal Bowman in their reelection efforts. It retained Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a client as she prepares for the November election. It’s also expanding beyond digital with a unified media approach that includes television and radio advertising.
Key clients: Jerry Nadler, Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress; Working Families Party; 350.org
When veteran political strategist Phil Singer founded Marathon Strategies in 2008, he began to take on more crisis and issues management for corporate clients, but the firm continues to stay involved in the political arena as well. Singer’s firm has long done work for U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, with whom he has had a strong relationship since his time working in Schumer’s press office. Marathon was hired this past year to work on political campaigns for the Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund.
Key clients: New York Independent System Operator; New York State Bar Association; State University of New York; New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association; Beacon Communities; Volunteers of America; New York Housing Conference
A public relations agency for real estate developers entering into contentious rezonings around New York City, Marino has branched out as a campaign consultant on policy issues ranging from cannabis to health care and labor under the direction of Senior Vice President Tom Corsillo, who recently took on a leading role after 17 years at the firm. The firm’s FixRx campaign, launched to regulate the pharmacy benefit management industry, spearheaded the effort behind a series of bills known as the Pharmacy Rescue Package, which Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law in December. Corsillo also helped steer the Halletts North rezoning, which won an endorsement from local New York City Council Member Tiffany Cabán.
Key clients: New York City Hospitality Alliance; Cannabis Association of New York; Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York; American Chemistry Council; Business Council of New York State; Pharmacists Society of the State of New York
Shortly after Nashban Mansur morphed into Culver Place Strategies in 2018, the firm delivered a big win for Letitia James in her bid for state attorney general. Culver’s founding partners David Mansur and Allegra Scheinblum are longtime political players who have guided a number of state legislative candidates to victory in 2022. The firm aided state Sen. Cordell Cleare in her bid for reelection and helped Nathalia Fernandez win the state Senate seat opened by Alessandra Biaggi’s congressional run. The firm is also working to help state Sen. James Skoufis defend his Hudson Valley seat from a Republican challenger in the November election.
Key clients: Cordell Cleare, James Skoufis and Nathalia Fernandez for state Senate
New York’s top government relations and consulting firm represents a broad spectrum of business interests in New York. In 2021, Evan Rantzaklis joined Brown & Weinraub to advise clients interested in making political contributions and developing and running political action committees. He's also advising the Carpenters Fund for Growth and Progress. The former head of the state Democratic Senate Campaign Committee helped the party win a supermajority in the 2020 cycle.
Juanita Scarlett brings a wealth of experience to her work at Bolton-St. Johns, one of the top government affairs firms at the city and state level. Scarlett, who served in both Cuomo administrations and the Spitzer administration, was executive vice president for strategy, policy and public affairs at Empire State Development. In addition to her lobbying work, she serves on the board of The New Majority NYC, formerly 21 in ’21, and assists advocacy campaigns for expanding Brownfield Opportunity Areas – which was adopted in the state budget – and addressing autism through the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society.
Editor’s note: Juanita Scarlett is a member of City & State’s advisory board.
Armed with years of campaign and development experience, Jenny Galvin formed JLG Strategy in 2019. Since then, her firm, which supports Democratic candidates’ campaigns and other progressive organizations, has taken on some of the biggest names in New York’s progressive circles. In the past year, Galvin led fundraising efforts for congressional candidates Robert Zimmerman and Dan Goldman that far outraised their competitors. She also worked on Letitia James’ campaign for state attorney general, Ana María Archila’s campaign for lieutenant governor and Vote Mama, which works to boost the political participation of moms.
Key clients: Dan Goldman and Robert Zimmerman for Congress; Ana María Archila for lieutenant governor; Future Now; Vote Mama
With a high-profile roster that has included former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Reps. Greg Meeks and Nydia Velázquez, Berger Hirschberg Strategies came close to propelling bureaucrat Kathryn Garcia into Gracie Mansion in 2021. Over the past year, co-founders Stephanie Berger and Rachel Hirschberg have gone on to help a number of Democratic candidates raise funds for state Senate bids this cycle. The firm also expanded its reach by bringing on Annie Weir, who formerly led her own fundraising firm, late last year.
Key clients: Jamie Cheney for Congress; Brian Kavanagh, Brad Hoylman, Andrew Gounardes, Anna Kaplan, Cordell Cleare, Sean Ryan, Lea Webb and Elizabeth Crowley for state Senate; Tony Simone for Assembly; 5Boro Institute
Anthony Lemma notched a big first-year win for his eponymous consulting firm when client Robert Zimmerman easily cleared the five-way race to become the Democratic nominee in outgoing Rep. Tom Suozzi’s congressional seat. Born and raised in Queens, Lemma had worked for nearly a decade as district director and later campaign adviser to Rep. Grace Meng. Lemma utilized his detailed knowledge of eastern Queens and western Long Island to advise Zimmerman on how to clinch the nomination; the candidate will face George Santos in the general election for this Democratic-leaning district. His firm also works with nonprofit organizations, including the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
Key client: Robert Zimmerman for Congress
FlexPoint Media, a Virginia-based media consulting firm working with the Republican campaigns and advocacy groups, made a shrewd New York entry to help Nick Langworthy become the Republican nominee for the 23rd Congressional District, which Rep. Tom Reed is vacating. Its co-founders Tim Cameron and Kegan Beran were veteran operatives in conservative politics, contributing to the gubernatorial campaigns of former Vice President Mike Pence and John Kasich, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul before founding FlexPoint Media.
Key clients: Nick Langworthy for Congress
Co-founded by Ryan Adams and John Gabriele, HZQ Consulting is a government relations and campaign strategy firm with a progressive bent. In 2020, it played a role in several key state and congressional campaigns, including that of Andrew Gounardes for state Senate, Jamaal Bowman for Congress and Khaleel Anderson for Assembly. In 2022, HZQ worked again with Gounardes to help him secure his seat against a Democratic primary challenge. The firm provides a range of services that include digital and organizational strategies, website development, branding, content development and field organizing.
Key clients: Jamaal Bowman for Congress; Andrew Gounardes for state Senate
This digital strategy firm, which worked on the 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns, provided a media toolkit to Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou’s campaign that came within several points of winning the hotly contested race for New York’s 10th Congressional District. Led by its one remaining co-founder, Joe Rospars, the firm’s staff of strategists, technologists and producers scattered across offices in Brooklyn, Oakland, London, Chicago and Washington, D.C., partner with progressive organizations and political campaigns. Camonghne Felix, formerly a speechwriter for Andrew Cuomo, joined the firm in its Washington, D.C., office in 2020.
Key client: Yuh-Line Niou for Congress
Wavelength Strategy is a boutique firm that runs digital persuasion campaigns for Democratic campaigns and progressive organizations. Co-founders Dan McNally and Emmy Bengston have decades of campaign management and digital communications experience between them. Specializing in the modern digital media ecosystem, the firm was hired by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s gubernatorial reelection campaign. Bengtson has a link to New York through her work on U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor
Bedford Grove jumped into the state legislative races this past cycle to work for Brooklyn Assembly Member Erik Dilan, helping him hold off a Democratic Socialists of America-backed challenger. One of Bedford Grove’s founding partners, Michael Giaccio, who got his start working on several gubernatorial campaigns, recently counted Assembly Member Catalina Cruz and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie as clients.
Key clients: Erik Dilan for Assembly; New Yorkers for a Fair Future
A former campaign manager for political giants like then-Rep. Charlie Rangel, Rasheida Smith founded Dunton Consulting, which specializes in data and field management, in 2012. This past cycle, the firm came to the aid of two incumbents who successfully turned back progressive insurgents. Dunton provided support for both Brooklyn state Sen. Kevin Parker in his race against Democratic Socialist of America-backed David Alexis and for Assembly Member Inez Dickens in her race against the Working Families Party-backed housing advocate Delsenia Glover.
Key clients: Kevin Parker for state Senate; Inez Dickens for Assembly
Since Justin Chae co-founded Meridian Strategies at the age of 19, the firm has gone on to advise dozens of candidates and unions on how to win votes in elections and build support. This past election cycle, Chae helped two incumbents – state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Assembly Member David Weprin – overcome primary challengers. Chae also worked for New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, a PAC that advocates for pro-charter school reform, and has partnered with veteran consultant Hank Sheinkopf on creative projects for incumbents, developers and city agencies.
Key clients: Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Bianca Rajpersaud for state Senate; David Weprin for Assembly; New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany; Long Island Law Enforcement Foundation; Real Estate Board of New York; Teamsters Local 237
DSPolitical’s work for Rep. Pat Ryan’s congressional campaign wasn’t its first foray into the world of state politics. In the 2021 New York City Council races, the firm contracted with the New York City Central Labor Council and Latino Victory Fund to provide outreach for their slates. The firm, which provides advertising for Democratic candidates and progressive causes, uses proprietary software and voter data to target voters – and recently announced the integration of three major Democratic voter file providers – Catalist, TargetSmart and PDI – into its product suite. Among its key staffers are Mark Jablonowski, Michael Bassik, Ryan James Evans and Waverly Loza.
Key clients: Pat Ryan for Congress; Latino Victory Fund
Since 2011, Washington, D.C.-based Putnam Partners has specialized in producing compelling TV ads for Democrats running in swing districts. This year’s congressional races took the national political ad agency to the Hudson Valley in support of Rep. Pat Ryan’s successful congressional special election run. His first ad positioned him as a veteran running on the need to protect reproductive rights. This wasn’t the firm’s first outing in the Empire State: It also assisted Rep. Carolyn Maloney in her attempt to hold on to her seat after redistricting.
Key clients: Pat Ryan and Carolyn Maloney for Congress
4C Partners Managing Partner Terrance Green took on a new challenge this spring when one of his principal clients, Rep. Antonio Delgado, was chosen by Gov. Kathy Hochul to become the state’s new lieutenant governor. Green kept working for Delgado as the legislator shifted gears to win a primary against WFP-backed Ana María Archila.
Key client: Antonio Delgado for lieutenant governor
A hybrid firm active in both political consulting and corporate market research, Honan Strategy Group has been delivering polling and analytics for high-profile New York politicians for years. President and CEO Bradley Honan’s resume includes work for Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Mike Bloomberg. Co-founder and Partner Elisabeth Zeche began working in politics for U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan before delving into market research. This year, the firm has worked in New York with former Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he mulls a return to public life, and with Miguelina Camilo, the state Senate candidate who gave state Sen. Gustavo Rivera a run for his money. The team also pens op-eds for CNN, NBC and other major outlets, and Honan was selected co-president of the NYC Metro Chapter of the American Association of Political Consultants.
Key clients: Carolyn Maloney for Congress; Vivian Cook and Jeffrion Aubry for Assembly; former Gov. Andrew Cuomo; former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Miguelina Camilo for state Senate; Bronx Democratic Party; SL Green; Long Island Power Authority; New York Solidarity Network
The husband and wife team of Vince Casale and Lynn Krogh, who make up The Casale Group, have been successfully guiding Republicans for years by advising on strategy, media production and messaging across the state. In this year’s primary cycle, the duo helped state Sen. Peter Oberacker narrowly win the Republican Party nomination in Senate District 51 against Ulster County Legislature Chair Terry Bernardo. The team also propelled Rockland County Executive Ed Day to reelection. Another key member of the team is Eliza Burdick.
Key clients: Andrew Giuliani for governor; Peter Oberacker for state Senate; Marc Molinaro super PAC WakeUpNY; Unite NY; Ed Day for Rockland County executive; Veronica Gorman for Family Court judge
After splitting off from North Shore Strategies in 2020, Randall Franklin founded Elevation Strategies with the goal of helping to elect individuals from diverse backgrounds. In 2022, Franklin honed in on a key legislative race helping state Sen. Robert Jackson to decisively beat Rep. Adriano Espaillat protégé Angel Vasquez in the Democratic primary this summer.
Key client: Robert Jackson for state Senate
Van Ness Creative Strategies specializes in providing candidates with specialized campaign aesthetics in addition to running digital outreach. Its co-founders, Sivan Jacobovitz and Daniel Murphy, don’t exclusively deal in politics. They also run a separate digital advertising and SEO firm for media companies with clients like Shopify and Marvel. In their capacity at Van Ness, they work with progressive candidates. This election cycle, in addition to having helped out on Jumaane Williams’ ultimately unsuccessful effort to win the Democratic gubernatorial primary, they partnered with Grace Lee, who won the Democratic primary for a Manhattan Assembly seat. The team also added Eli Susser to run its in-house production arm, Studio VNCS.
Key clients: Jumaane Williams for governor; Emily Gallagher and Grace Lee for Assembly; Working Families Party; Care In Action; Future Coalition
Since 2012, New Blue Interactive has focused on providing cutting-edge digital fundraising, communications and advertising to Democratic candidates, including U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Dianne Feinstein. Founder Taryn Rosenkranz has a long history as a Democratic operative in New York, including serving as managing director for the state’s Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. After helping both Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney fend off challenges in 2020, the firm contracted with Maloney this summer as she battled it out with Nadler for the 12th Congressional District. Other key players on Rosenkranz’s team are Lauren Dikis, Tess Troha-Thompson and Arielle Einstein.
Key clients: Carolyn Maloney for Congress; Tom Suozzi for governor
The Washington, D.C.-based political advertising company Buying Time made a big splash in the New York media ecosystem this past year thanks to two remarkable political upsets. The firm, founded and led by Catherine Herrick, a former President Bill Clinton campaign veteran, produced TV ads for both Pat Ryan, who prevailed against Republican Marc Molinaro in a special election for a House seat, and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, who ran a successful write-in campaign against democratic socialist India Walton despite losing the Democratic primary.
Key clients: Pat Ryan for Congress; Byron Brown for Buffalo mayor
Since 2011, Paragon Strategies founder André Richardson has built a strong reputation as a political consultant who gets results. His firm counts Rep. Hakeem Jeffries as a client, and in recent years he has guided Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and state Sen. Zellnor Myrie to victory. In the summer primary cycle, Richardson worked with incumbent Assembly Member Nikki Lucas and Assembly Member Monique Chandler-Waterman, who successfully defended the seat she won in a May special election again in the Democratic primary a month later. A key member of his team is account executive Kira Charles.
Key clients: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries; Nikki Lucas and Monique Chandler-Waterman for Assembly; Democrats for Education Reform; We Build the Block
When it came to running communications and strategy for his New York City Council campaign, David Carr looked no further than his home borough of Staten Island. The Republican candidate hired Anthony Rapacciuolo, the founder and CEO of PRcision. With the help of the digital strategy and content marketing firm, Carr pulled it out in a tight three-way race, besting veteran Democrat Sal Albanese’s political comeback attempt for the Mid-Island seat. The firm worked for several other key Republicans in the borough as well.
Key clients: David Carr and Joseph Borelli for New York City Council; Staten Island Republican Party; Judge Brendan T. Lantry
Capitol Public Strategies, a government relations and communications firm, provided a media campaign for Staten Island borough president candidate Vito Fossella during his victorious political comeback last fall. The firm is led by David Catalfamo, a former state official and longtime Republican political consultant who's currently mounting another bid for a seat in the state Assembly. Fossella, a Trump-supporting Republican, narrowly won a primary race against New York City Council Member Steven Matteo before his victory in the general election.
Key client: Vito Fossella for Staten Island borough president
Sapphire Strategies is a firm that builds digital programs to do everything from online advertising to fundraising and text campaigns. Democratic operators from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro have used the firm’s digital toolkit. This summer, the firm used its electronic infrastructure and email lists to help Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney fend off a spirited primary challenge from state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi.
Key client: Sean Patrick Maloney for Congress
With veteran consultants Jerry Skurnik and Stu Osnow assisting him, Marc Zdanow leads Engage Voters U.S., an operation providing invaluable voter data and microtargeting services to candidates across the political spectrum. Skurnik and Osnow previously ran Prime New York and are now helping Engage Voters U.S. go national, with clients all across the country.
Key clients: Jo Anne Simon, Suraj Patel, Manuel Casanova and Aisha Mills for Congress; David Yassky for state Senate; Vito Fossella for Staten Island borough president; Joann Ariola for New York City Council
George Arzt, a seasoned New York City political adviser whose résumé includes a stint as spokesperson for Mayor Ed Koch and 18 years at the New York Post, focused his consulting practice this past election cycle on his work with the Kings County Democratic Committee. In the 2021 New York City Council election, Arzt’s work helped Lynn Schulman secure her seat. The firm, which also has a track record of guiding judges to victory, has also guided Judge Hilary Gingold’s run for Manhattan Surrogate Court. Veteran Bob Liff heads up the team’s campaign work, and recently teamed up with Sabrina Rezzy, who has worked with Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, the Brooklyn Democratic Party boss.
Key clients: Kings County Democratic Committee; Hilary Gingold for Surrogate; Carolyn Maloney for Congress; Lynn Schulman for New York City Council; Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York; Extell Development Co.; Gilbane Building Co.; 47th Street Business Improvement District; Emigrant Bank
While serving as the president of the Hispanic Information Television Network, one of the largest noncommercial, Spanish-language television networks in the country, Michael Nieves still finds time to pick up campaign work. Recently, Nieves helped elect a group of key judicial candidates in Manhattan and the Bronx, including Carmen Pacheco for Manhattan Civil Court judge and Verena Powell for Bronx Civil Court judge.
Key clients: Carmen Pacheco for Manhattan Civil Court judge; Verena Powell for Bronx Civil Court judge
Editor’s note: Michael Nieves is a member of City & State’s advisory board.
Power Play Strategies President Jonathan Yedin made news this spring as a founding member of NICPAC, a committee to fundraise and organize against Rep. Nicole Malliotakis’ reelection. In addition to that effort, he has been running several campaigns. Power Play has kept Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone as a client for the past year as he decided against a run for governor and considered his next political move. Power Play also helped New York City Council Member Justin Brannan get across the finish line in a competitive general election and worked with several insurgent legislative campaigns like York College administrator Anthony Andrews Jr., who ran a relatively close race against Assembly Member Vivian Cook.
Key clients: Justin Brannan for New York City Council; Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; Chris McCreight for district leader
A married couple with a collective 30 years of municipal and state government affairs experience, Austin and Jennifer Shafran decided to join forces in a professional capacity this past year to form Green Book Strategies. Among the issue campaigns they’ve been working on is the expansion of casino gambling in downstate New York, coronavirus relief for hospitality workers as well as electrification and carbon-free clean energy policies.
Key clients: New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council; 32BJ SEIU; Coalition for Affordable Hospitals; Sierra Club; Hard Rock International
Since striking out on his own a year ago with a new firm, Eric Koch has picked up some big-name clients, including state Attorney General Letitia James and Suraj Patel, for whom Koch led communications in Patel’s recent 12th Congressional District primary battle against Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler. Koch made some of those connections during his time at Precision Strategies, where he worked with mayoral candidate Maya Wiley – and is continuing to assist her in her work heading up The Leadership Conference Education Fund. Prior to Precision, Koch served as communications director for then-New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Key clients: Max Rose and Suraj Patel for Congress; Met Council; 32BJ SEIU; Coro Fellowship
Jonathan Davis’ Northside Research and Consulting is a campaign firm that conducts opposition research and has a reputation as being among the best in that business. Public filings from this year showed Davis worked on Alvin Bragg’s general election campaign for Manhattan district attorney last year and with the pro-charter school PAC New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany.
Key clients: New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany
As a longtime campaign strategist for Assembly Member Inez Dickens – and as a district leader candidate in Dickens’ district – Londel Davis had a lot riding on the incumbent’s reelection campaign against WFP-supported housing advocate Delsenia Glover in this year’s primary. His campaign work for Dickens helped her win the race by nearly 30 percentage points.
Key client: Inez Dickens for Assembly
Vaughn Mayers’ day job is as chief of staff to state Sen. Kevin Parker of Brooklyn. His side gig is as a campaign manager and consultant – and during the primary election earlier this year, he helped Parker fend of a progressive challenger that had mounted a credible campaign. Mayers also worked on New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ campaign for governor, and still finds time to pursue a law degree at CUNY School of Law.
Key clients: Jumaane Williams for governor; Kevin Parker for state Senate
Though it doesn’t specialize in politics, Long Island-based consulting firm Public Relations and Marketing Group helped deliver an upset win for Republican Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney, who was able to channel concerns over public safety to oust the Democratic incumbent in the 2021 general election. The firm had special insight into the office, thanks in part to President and CEO John C. Zaher’s previous stint as press secretary for the county’s district attorney’s office.
Key client: Ray Tierney for Suffolk County district attorney
Named after the Maori word for “human,” Tangata LLC is an Erie County-based marketing firm that provided support for Republican John Garcia, who ran a successful county sheriff campaign in 2021. Although Tangata generally focuses on business consulting and marketing, it provided fundraising, online advertising and other services for Garcia, who ran on a “Back the Blue” platform and beat Democrat Kimberly Beaty, a retired police commissioner, in the general election.
Key client: John Garcia for Erie County sheriff
In the three years since she founded the Washington, D.C.-based political strategy firm Capelianis Consulting, Amanda Cernik has gotten involved in some of the most hotly contested Republican races in New York. And though two of her highest-profile clients – Reps. John Katko and Chris Jacobs – announced that they would not be running for reelection, Cernik has continued to work with a national client, the Building Bridges PAC, to help elect Republicans to the House, such as Reps. Andrew Garbarino of Long Island and Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island.
Key clients: Marc Molinaro for Congress; Building Bridges PAC
Corrections: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that JLG Strategy worked for Alessandra Biaggi's congressional campaign. The firm worked on her state Senate campaign. Additionally, an earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Doug Thornell is stepping down as CEO of SKDK as of January. He's actually taking over the role. This post has also been updated with the correct name of Marc Molinaro's super PAC. This post originally misidentified a key consultant for Vito Fossella's Staten Island borough president bid as Chris Cotrona of Capitol Strategies Group. The actual consultant was David Catalfamo of Capitol Public Strategies. The post has also been updated to correct details about Richard Fife's work for two state Senate candidates.
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