Winning an election isn’t an individual feat. Candidates capitalize on their charisma, connections and capacity to communicate, but a campaign is a team effort.
That’s where political consultants come in.
Aside from a campaign’s staffers and armies of volunteers, paid advisers provide plenty of much-needed professional help. Consultants devise a strategy, public relations pros hone a message and fundraisers rake in cash to keep it all going. Ads – digital, TV, radio and mail – must be produced. Outreach by phone, text messages or door-knocking must be coordinated. There’s data to be compiled, from polls to voter lists to opposition research.
City & State’s 2023 Political Consultants Power 100 highlights the players who provide these services as they power the biggest campaigns. This list features consultants active in local, state and federal races across New York over the past year. The ranking takes into account objective factors – a firm’s client roster and win-loss record – and subjective ones, such as the significance of each campaign and how much a consultant contributed to the outcome. While harder to track, the list also includes consultants working on issue advocacy campaigns or independent expenditures.
We’re pleased to introduce the 2023 Political Consultants Power 100.
Red Horse Strategies is at the front of the pack of Democratic political consultants. The firm, founded by Doug Forand, Marc Lapidus and Nathan Smith, has seen younger partners Katie Moore and Matthew Rey establish themselves. Moore managed New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign, while Smith and Rey are also part of the mayor’s inner circle. The team has spearheaded campaigns at the federal, state and local levels in New York and nationally. Recent clients include New York City Council candidate Susan Zhuang, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark.
Key clients: Grace Meng and Nydia Velázquez for Congress; Tom DiNapoli for state comptroller; Gustavo Rivera, Shelley Mayer, James Skoufis and Julie Shiroishi for state Senate; Amy Paulin, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Andrew Hevesi and MaryJane Shimsky for Assembly; Susan Zhuang, Linda Lee, Carlina Rivera, Marjorie Velázquez, Jennifer Gutierrez and Francisco Moya for New York City Council; Melinda Katz for Queens district attorney; Darcel Clark for Bronx district attorney; New York State Democratic Committee
The Parkside Group is best known as the go-to campaign consultant for the state Senate Democrats, who held on to their supermajority last year despite facing significant headwinds. Last November, the firm helped state Sens. Michelle Hinchey, John Mannion, Pete Harckham and Jessica Scarcella-Spanton eke out narrow victories and aided breakthrough state Senate bids by Lea Webb and Iwen Chu – part of a remarkable all-women first-term class. The full-service firm, led by CEO Harry Giannoulis and President Evan Stavisky, counts campaign guru Joe Reubens and public affairs lead Spencer Lee among the experts on its growing staff.
Key clients: New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee; Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Michael Gianaris, Michelle Hinchey, John Mannion, Sean Ryan, Samra Brouk, Edward Braunstein, Anna Kaplan, Toby Ann Stavisky, Peter Harckham, Lea Webb, Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, Rachel May, Joseph Addabbo Jr., Kevin Thomas, James Skoufis, Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Jeremy Cooney, Neil Breslin, Andrew Gounardes, Julie Shiroishi, Susan Berland, Kenneth Moore and Michelle Ostrelich for state Senate; Nassau County Homeowners United
Global Strategy Group is a leading Democratic polling outfit, and its reach extends far beyond New York. The team helped Gov. Kathy Hochul – the latest in a string of New York governors on its client list – win a full term and guided Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz to a second term. GSG propelled six governors, over 40 members of Congress and five U.S. senators to victory last November alone and helped defeat a constitutional amendment in Kansas, keeping abortion legal. Outside of executives Jefrey Pollock, Jeffrey Plaut and Nick Gourevitch, key New York staff include Vice Presidents Annie Norbitz and Brett Cott.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Sean Patrick Maloney, Pat Ryan, Paul Tonko, Joe Morelle, Ritchie Torres, Max Rose, Robert Zimmerman and Francis Conole for Congress; Melinda Katz for Queens district attorney; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Democratic Governors Association; New York State Democratic Committee
Valerie Berlin, the veteran political consultant who co-founded the public relations firm BerlinRosen nearly two decades ago, oversees the company’s campaign team. The firm, which saw longtime campaign consultant Alex Navarro-McKay depart at the end of 2022, has continued to deliver victories for Democrats. Among its recent clients are state Sen. Lea Webb, Assembly Member Alex Bores – and the first Generation Z member of Congress, Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida. BerlinRosen has also worked with former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Comptroller Brad Lander.
Key clients: Daniel Goldman and Robert Zimmerman for Congress; Brian Kavanagh, Sean Ryan and Lea Webb for state Senate; Deborah Glick, Alex Bores and Judy Griffin for Assembly; New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee; New York State Democratic Committee; 1199 SEIU New York State Political Action Fund
Hamilton Campaign Network, founded by veteran campaign adviser Luis A. Miranda Jr., is the top Latino-led political consulting firm in New York. The firm, which was launched by the founders of the MirRam Group, helped elect state Attorney General Letitia James, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Rep. Adriano Espaillat. More recently, it led the Racial Justice Commission’s successful campaign for three ballot proposals aiming to tackle inequality in New York City. They also have Yadira Ramos-Herbert on the verge of becoming the first Latina to be mayor of New Rochelle. Former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito this year became president of the outfit, which also has Tyler Aldrich and Scott Berlin on its campaign team.
Key clients: Hakeem Jeffries and Adriano Espaillat for Congress; Letitia James for state attorney general; Nathalia Fernandez for state Senate; Michael Benedetto, Manny De Los Santos and John Zaccaro Jr. for Assembly; Lynn Schulman and Carmen De La Rosa for New York City Council; Yadira Ramos-Herbert for New Rochelle mayor
New York City Mayor Eric Adams often is his own spokesperson, but it didn’t hurt having public relations pro Evan Thies advising his City Hall bid. Thies, who remains a campaign spokesperson for Adams, has built a strong team with co-founder Alexis Grenell. Pythia Public recruited Port Authority of New York and New Jersey veteran Ben Branham to a team that also includes Becky Stern, Ana Hall and Marissa Solomon. Pythia has worked on many issue campaigns and legislative matters, from the passage of the Adult Survivors Act and a similar version of the All-Electric Buildings Act to the selection of Stony Brook University to develop a $700 million climate, education and jobs hub on Governors Island.
Key clients: Association for Affordable Energy / Better Buildings NY; New Yorkers for a Better Penn Plan; Stony Brook University / NY Climate Exchange on Governor's Island; New York City Football Club / Related Companies; Earth Justice; Raise Up New York / National Employment Law Project; Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids; Safe Horizon / Adult Victims Act; Essence Development; Model Alliance; Delta Air Lines
Tucker Green changed the name of his fundraising firm, but not the results. The firm – formerly Tucker Green & Company and Conscious Voter Contact – became The Threshold Group in November 2022, the same month clients like Gov. Kathy Hochul, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Rep. Pat Ryan notched key victories. Other clients include New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Suffolk County executive candidate Dave Calone and Zeneta Everhart, who beat India Walton in a Democratic primary for a seat on the Buffalo Common Council. The team, which includes partners Max Kramer and Michael Kenney, also has Allison Romer, Andrew McIndoo and Adam Hornbuckle on staff.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Tom DiNapoli for state comptroller; Melinda Katz for Queens district attorney; Pat Ryan for Congress; North Hempstead Democratic Committee;
Zeneta Everhart for Buffalo Common Council; Adrienne Adams for New York City Council; Tim Kennedy, Jeremy Cooney and Liz Krueger for state Senate; UFT; New York League of Conservation Voters IE; Advancing Suffolk
Tyquana Henderson-Rivers has extended an impressive run of wins, most notably the campaign of Gov. Kathy Hochul. The governor’s win marks Connective Strategies’ ongoing expansion from a firm that’s perhaps the best in Queens to competing at the state level. Among its recent clients are Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, who fended off a primary challenge, Rep. Greg Meeks and three Assembly members who beat primary rivals – Jeffrion Aubry, Vivian Cook and Inez Dickens. The firm is also launching a faith-based initiatives division to connect the faith community, government and corporate America.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Melinda Katz for Queens district attorney; Gregory Meeks for Congress; Jeffrion Aubry, Vivian E. Cook and Inez E. Dickens for Assembly
Mark Guma continues to deliver impressive results for Democrats in key races in New York.
Among his most recent accomplishments was helping Assembly Democrats maintain a strong supermajority in a tough environment. In past cycles, he has helped defeat former members of the state Senate Independent Democratic Conference, aided Tiffany Cabán’s near-upset for the 2019 Queens district attorney race and assisted breakthrough campaigns by Rep. Ritchie Torres and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Other notable clients include U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Reps. Dan Goldman and Jerry Nadler.
Key clients: Chuck Schumer for U.S. Senate; Jerry Nadler, Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman for Congress; Brad Hoylman and Robert Jackson for state Senate; Didi Barrett, Phil Steck, Erik Dilan, Carrie Woerner, Aileen Gunther, Marianne Buttenschon, Angelo Santabarbara, Al Stirpe, Jen Lunsford, Monica Wallace, Pat Burke and Karen McMahon for Assembly; Pierina Sanchez and Kevin Riley for New York City Council; Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee
SKDK is known for its ties to President Joe Biden, as its co-founder, Anita Dunn, serves as a presidential adviser, and the public relations firm consulted on Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. But it’s also a player in New York, with offices in Manhattan and Albany and a client roster featuring prominent Democratic congressional contenders. Mike Morey, a New York City-based partner, has worked in the past with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, while Washington-based Pia Carusone oversees SKDK’s political work.
Key clients: Paul Tonko, Brian Higgins, Joe Morelle, Sean Patrick Maloney, Josh Riley, Matt Castelli and Robert Zimmerman for Congress; Ethan Felder for New York City Council
McLaughlin & Associates, a Hudson Valley-headquartered survey research and strategic services firm, counts the country’s most prominent Republican as a key client: former President Donald Trump. And in a state where Democrats have long been ascendant, the sibling duo of John and Jim McLaughlin have been part of a GOP resurgence: guiding former Rep. Lee Zeldin to a stronger than expected showing against Gov. Kathy Hochul in last year’s gubernatorial election, advising a handful of successful Republican state legislative candidates and notching wins by Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly.
Key clients: Donald Trump for president; Lee Zeldin for governor; Steve Rhoads, Jack Martins, Brian Curran for Assembly; National Republican Congressional Committee
The Republican consulting firm BrabenderCox had a strong performance by its New York-based clients this past cycle. Former Rep. Lee Zeldin posed a serious threat to Gov. Kathy Hochul. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis secured a second term in what had been a swing seat and Reps. Michael Lawler and Anthony D’Esposito flipped seats, while Colin Schmitt narrowly lost to Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan. The firm, led by John Brabender, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has a presence in Pittsburgh and Albany, where it opened an office in 2016.
Key clients: Lee Zeldin for governor; Michael Lawler, Nicole Malliotakis, Anthony D’Esposito and Colin Schmitt for Congress
North Shore Strategies is a relatively small firm that consistently punches above its weight. In the past primary cycle, Brendan Klein’s firm helped Chris Banks knock out New York City Council Member Charles Barron in an upset. The Queens-based firm, which has performed particularly well in the outer boroughs, is gearing up for another presidential election cycle by expanding its organization and strategic partnerships. The firm, which saw Will Deegan depart, has Carl Sanford, Sam Powers and Jay Satterfield on its political team.
Key clients: Max Rose for Congress; Andrew Gounardes and Jessica Scarcella-Spanton for state Senate; Melinda Katz for Queens district attorney; Michael McMahon for Staten Island district attorney; Linda Lee, Shekar Krishnan, Marjorie Velázquez, Sandy Nurse, Eric Dinowitz, Chris Banks, Tony Avella, Susan Lee and Amber Adler for New York City Council
Trip Yang Strategies has been active in multiple competitive races, from doing direct mail for the state Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee supporting Sam Berger’s special election victory to providing digital ads to Tony Avella’s New York City Council comeback bid. As a leading Asian American political strategist in New York, Trip Yang is arguing the Democratic Party must focus on the Asian population more as the GOP makes inroads. His firm also helped state Sen. Cordell Cleare and Assembly Members Grace Lee and Steven Raga in 2022, and it’s aiding New York City Council Members Gale Brewer and Shekar Krishnan this year.
Key clients: Daniel Goldman and Max Rose for Congress; Cordell Cleare for state Senate; Catalina Cruz, Grace Lee and Steven Raga for Assembly; Gale Brewer, Shekar Krishnan, Al Taylor and Stanley Ng for New York City Council; Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee; New York State Democratic Committee;
Editor’s note: Trip Yang is a member of City & State’s advisory board.
Richard Fife’s political communications operation has enjoyed an impressive track record in recent years, helping to send Rep. Dan Goldman to Washington, D.C., keeping state Sen. Robert Jackson in office and guiding Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to victory. Fife notes that all three “have all been leaders in the fight to end gun violence, advance justice for all, and protect our democracy.” Fife is aiming to extend his near-perfect record in recent cycles to help Democrats regain control of Congress.
Key clients: Daniel Goldman for Congress; Robert Jackson for state Senate
The bipartisan consulting firm Mercury’s campaign team has expanded its digital offerings, improving voter targeting and allowing message and creative testing as campaigns progress. Mercury brought on former Hakeem Jeffries aide Michael Hardaway as a managing director, and the New York-based political consulting team continues to expand its footprint across the country, working for candidates and causes in more than half a dozen states. Key members of the team include Jake Dilemani, Carolyn Riggs, Charlie King, Jon Reinish, Pat Halpin, Jonathan Greenspun, Tara Martin, Matt Coleman, Greg Drilling, Edu Hermelyn and Jill Wieck.
Key clients: Environmental Defense Fund for the New York State Bond Act; Ron Kim, Eddie Gibbs and Brian Cunningham for Assembly; Keith Powers and Christopher Bae for New York City Council; Sensible Democrat Empowerment Project; Agudath Israel for voter mobilization in the 27th Assembly District special election; SAFE NYC; Rebuild NY
As a consultant with deep roots in her community and strong connections with political power brokers, Lupe Todd-Medina is nothing if not effective – as the name of her firm suggests. The Brooklynite was among the advisers to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s successful campaign for a full term this past cycle and also worked for Assembly Member Grace Lee. She has also worked with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who’s now the House minority leader, and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Her firm, Effective Media Strategies, recently passed the 10-year mark.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Grace Lee for Assembly; Inez Dickens for New York City Council
Editor’s note: Lupe Todd-Medina is a member of City & State’s advisory board.
For Democrats seeking electing office in Westchester County – or competing in the region in a statewide race – Ditto Consulting is the firm to hire. Kim DiTomasso’s firm helped Gov. Kathy Hochul beat former Rep. Lee Zeldin last year in the gubernatorial election, assisted Reps. Grace Meng and Paul Tonko, propelled Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano to a primary win as he seeks another term and has groundbreaking Democratic nominee Yadira Ramos-Herbert in position to become the mayor of New Rochelle. DiTomasso and colleague Nuha Kaleel are also assisting a long list of state and county lawmakers and county executives.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Grace Meng and Paul Tonko for Congress; Marjorie Velázquez for New York City Council; Yadira Ramos-Herbert for New Rochelle mayor; Mike Spano for Yonkers mayor; Amy Paulin, MaryJane Shimsky and Michael Benedetto for Assembly; Pete Harckham and Shelley Mayer for state Senate; Westchester County Democratic Committee; Democratic Majority Action Committee
Since its launch in 2022, Actum has added to its New York team led by Rachel Noerdlinger and Mike McKeon with a number of experienced political hands, including John Tomlin, Kim Devlin and Barry Caro. The firm also has been making waves on the campaign trail, helping Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard become the first person reelected to the post in two decades as she secured another term in a landslide. The firm also expanded in Long Island, notably bringing on former Rep. Tom Suozzi as a co-chair. Other key employees include Cara Noel, Terence Cullen and Paul Persaud.
Key clients: Shawyn Patterson-Howard for Mount Vernon mayor; Terry Clements for Westchester County Board of Legislators; Town of North Hempstead Democratic Committee
Amelia Adams and Yvette Buckner played senior-level roles on campaigns for two of the highest elected officials in New York, Adams on behalf of Gov. Kathy Hochul and Buckner with state Attorney General Letitia James. The duo also advised The New Majority NYC (formerly ’21 in 21), an effort that helped elect a record number of women to the New York City Council. Other key members at the firm are Roberto Celestin, who worked on the Hochul campaign and at Airbnb, and Gabriel Gallucci, a former union operative who came on as managing partner.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Letitia James for state attorney general; The New Majority NYC
New Deal Strategies, the political consulting firm led by founder Rebecca Katz and Camille Rivera, has a track record of electing progressives. Last year, the firm helped reelect state Sen. Gustavo Rivera after a tough primary, and this year it’s advising New York City Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez‘s reelection bid. Along with Principal Sydney Watnick, the team is working on making sure the rich pay taxes, supporting low-wage worker campaigns, such as One Fair Wage, and working on the Sept. 17 Climate Rally to eliminate fossil fuels in New York City.
Key clients: Gustavo Rivera for state Senate; Jennifer Gutiérrez for New York City Council; Center for Popular Democracy; Sept. 17 Climate Rally; One Fair Wage; Invest In Our NY
Two of the buzziest New York City races in recent months were an Assembly special election won by Sam Berger and a New York City Council Democratic primary won by Yusef Salaam. A common denominator was Justin Chae’s Meridian Strategies, which deployed mail, field services, targeted advertising and phone banking to help secure noteworthy victories. The team, which includes Stefan Smetko, Jack Saxby, Garrett Hall, Matt Gluckman and Gaurav Sharma, also did nonpartisan advertising work for the Long Island Law Enforcement Foundation. The growing firm now has three offices across Queens and Long Island.
Key clients: Sam Berger for Assembly; Yusef Salaam for New York City Council; Long Island Law Enforcement Foundation
André Richardson’s Paragon Strategies serves as a local conduit for Black representation at all levels of government. The firm helped Chris Banks knock out New York City Council Member Charles Barron in a primary upset this year and continues to represent House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in either chamber of Congress. Paragon works closely with the state Democratic Party and is aligning with other Democratic organizations on efforts to take back the majority in Congress.
Key clients: Hakeem Jeffries for Congress; Chris Banks for New York City Council; Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind
Rep. Elise Stefanik has rapidly climbed the ranks in Congress and is now chair of the House Republican Conference now that the GOP has secured a majority. One of the behind-the-scenes players she has to thank for her political success is Alexander DeGrasse. He started out as a volunteer on Stefanik’s first congressional campaign in 2014, when she flipped the North Country district, and has since helped her on the national stage and in New York, where the GOP flipped a handful of pivotal House seats this past cycle.
Key clients: Elise Stefanik for Congress; National Republican Congressional Committee; Make America Great Again Inc.; House GOP Battleground Fund; E-PAC; Elise Victory Fund; Team Elise; Saratoga County Republicans
New Jersey-based Checkmate Strategies was the general consulting and direct mail firm for Rep. Mike Lawler, who notched a major upset in beating Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney. Lawler achieved the feat in a district President Joe Biden won by 10 percentage points and became the first Republican to oust a chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in decades. Chris Russell and Amanda Woloshen Glass also saw clients win six state Assembly and two state Senate seats in New Jersey – defeating four Democratic incumbents – all in districts where Democrats outnumbered Republicans.
Key clients: Mike Lawler and Liz Joy for Congress
When businesses, organizations or labor unions face a tough time getting a project to advance or a policy to change, they often turn to Neal Kwatra. The campaign operative has a record of electing big-name politicians in New York, and lately he has been driving issue campaigns and running independent expenditures that have a big impact. He has run independent expenditure campaigns supporting New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Council and state legislative candidates, pushed for casino expansion and positioned Ørsted for further growth in New York’s burgeoning offshore wind industry.
Key clients: Resorts World; Ørsted; Bally’s; Maimonides Hospital; Haussmann Development; Witkoff Group; Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits
Moonshot Strategies, the consulting and government relations firm led by Jenny Sedlis and Jason Ortiz, has taken on high-profile corporate and nonprofit clients since its founding in 2021. Ortiz, a former political director for the influential Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, and Sedlis, a veteran charter school advocate from StudentsFirstNY, have continued to serve those entities while also assisting nonprofit organizations like the Human Services Council. The firm, which counts London House’s Jason Laidley as a key staffer, saw communications pro Jen Fermino depart at the end of 2022 but brought on state Department of Financial Services alum Gabriel Schnake Mahl to its growing team.
Key clients: New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council; Aetna; StudentsFirstNY; Innocence Project; Vera Institute of Justice; CSME, Mets owner Steve Cohen; Bronx Defenders; NYCLASS; Human Services Council; Apollo; Arthur Kill Terminal; Correctional Association of New York; Good Shepherd Services; IBEW Local 3; Extell; Red Bull North America; Solana Foundation; Archer Aviation; Carnegie Hill Neighbors; Peloton; Tavern on the Green.
Anson Kaye is a partner at GMMB, the national consulting and television and digital advertising firm led by Jim Margolis. The Washington, D.C.-based outfit has worked with multiple New York candidates for Congress in recent years, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and former Rep. Max Rose. GMMB also produced millions of dollars worth of television ads for Gov. Kathy Hochul in her successful campaign last year. Kaye also created ads for then-President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Hakeem Jeffries and Max Rose for Congress
Patrick B. Jenkins may not have the biggest lobbying team or the most clients in Albany, but he represents some of the most prominent players in New York and he’s among the most well-connected in the business. He has consulted for his powerful friend, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, as well as Heastie’s political action committee. Jenkins’ firm also serves as a political consultant to state Sen. Jamaal Bailey, Heastie’s successor as chair of the Bronx Democratic Party, and to Assembly Member Latoya Joyner.
Key clients: Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie; Speaker Heastie PAC; Jamaal Bailey for state Senate; Latoya Joyner and Vivian Cook for Assembly
Wavelength Strategy provides digital campaign services to Democratic candidates and progressive campaigns. In New York, the team created hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of online ads for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s successful campaign last year. Led by co-founders Dan McNally and Emmy Bengston, the firm also serves candidates for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, including Rep. Joseph Morelle.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Joe Morelle for Congress
Mission Control was one of a number of consulting firms that helped Gov. Kathy Hochul win a full term in office last year. The firm, which works with candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives from all across the country, has been a key player in abortion rights campaigns in multiple states. Mission Control is now working with state Sens. John Mannion and Kevin Thomas, who have both announced bids for Congress. The Connecticut-based operation is also working with U.S. Kirsten Gillibrand, who’s up for reelection in 2024. It recently launched a direct mail fundraising arm led by Leslie Karp.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; John Mannion, Kevin Thomas and Josh Riley for Congress; Monica Martinez for state Senate; Steve Stern for Assembly; Errol Toulon for Suffolk County sheriff; Suffolk County Democratic Party; New York Laborers
Tulchin Research, a national polling outfit with offices in San Francisco and Chicago, has emerged as a player in New York. In the past year, the team advised New York City Mayor Eric Adams, helped state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli win reelection and has Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano on track to secure another term. Ben Tulchin’s firm, which also works with New York labor unions and a number of congressional candidates around the country, is continuing to expand its public affairs and government relations practice in the state.
Key clients: Tom DiNapoli for state comptroller; Mike Spano for Yonkers mayor
Declaration Media, a national advertising and consulting firm for Democratic candidates with offices in Washington, D.C., and South Carolina, made its mark in New York advising Gov. Kathy Hochul. Founded by Meredith Kelly, AJ Lenar and Trey Nix, the firm also counts the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a number of congressional candidates and political action committees among its clients. Kelly previously worked with the DCCC and on U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s 2020 presidential campaign, with Gillibrand praising Kelly as “one of the top Democratic strategists in the country.”
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
In 2022, AL Media led media production and buying for state Attorney General Letitia James’ reelection. The firm tracked nearly $90 million in political ad spending among 15 New York congressional districts and the state attorney general’s race. It’s also running digital programs across multiple House districts and ran an independent expenditure in Rep. Pat Ryan’s district on behalf of AFSCME. AL Media – which has offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C. – has non-New York clients including U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan.
Key clients: Letitia James for state attorney general; AFSCME; Next Gen America; Black Economic Alliance
Perhaps the most significant campaign win of Bill Hyers’ career was Bill de Blasio’s breakthrough in the 2013 New York City Democratic mayoral primary. Hyers went on to launch what’s now The Win Company, whose business objective is, well, winning more campaigns. The firm added veteran consultant Amelia Adams – who’s also running her own government affairs and community relations operation, Adams Buckner Advisors – to its team in 2021. The Win Company was among a number of firms that helped Gov. Kathy Hochul secure a full term in office.
Key client: Kathy Hochul for governor
Brown & Weinraub is New York’s top government relations firm, and its lobbying efforts aren’t limited to advocating with members of the governor’s team and state lawmakers. The firm also advises clients on political contributions that support numerous elected officials across the state. The firm worked with the Carpenters Fund for Growth and Progress, a major independent expenditure committee that spent close to a million dollars educating voters about the issues and supporting candidates sharing its views. Former state Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Executive Director Evan Rantzaklis now drives Brown & Weinraub’s campaign-oriented work.
Key clients: Carpenters Fund for Growth and Progress
Top-notch strategist Juanita Scarlett is a partner at Bolton-St. Johns, a leading government affairs firm at the city and state level in New York. The Cuomo and Spitzer administration veteran, who joined Bolton-St. Johns nearly five years ago, also serves on the board of The New Majority NYC, which aims to elect more women to the New York City Council, and has advocated for Brownfield Opportunity Areas and the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society. Fellow Bolton-St. Johns Partner Prisca Salazar Rodriguez, who joined the firm last year, recently co-founded Evolution Strategies, which aims to support Latinas in New York politics.
Key clients: Brooklyn Kindergarten Society
Editor’s note: Juanita Scarlett is a member of City & State’s advisory board.
Marino’s public affairs team scored a trifecta of land use victories in New York City by winning approval for the Innovation QNS, Halletts North and Throggs Neck rezonings – which together accounted for approximately 45% of all housing approved in 2022 by the New York City Council. Marino, which marks its 30th anniversary this year, also is working with the New York State Trial Lawyers Association on a revised version of the Grieving Families Act following a veto and helped the New York City Hospitality Alliance push the City Council to approve permanent outdoor dining.
Key clients: New York State Trial Lawyers Association; New York City Hospitality Alliance; American Chemistry Council; McDonald’s; City of New Rochelle; Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York; The Community Preservation Corporation; LISC NY; Simone Development
Assembly Member Tony Simone won his Manhattan seat last year thanks in part to the work of Jeff Guillot and Alex Voetsch. Millennial Strategies drove advocacy and lobbying efforts on behalf of The Farmer's Dog and the G6pd Deficiency Foundation that resulted in legislation being sent to the governor this year. Millennial Strategies also worked with cannabis clients, including Cann, Cookies and several local licensees and applicants, and led field campaigns for The Nature Conservancy and independent expenditures for Planned Parenthood, Women Lead and the League of Conservation Voters.
Key clients: Tony Simone for Assembly; The Nature Conservancy; Planned Parenthood; Women Lead; League of Conservation Voters
Jack O’Donnell, a veteran strategist in Western New York and Albany, has driven his firm’s success on the campaign front. After playing an integral role in the state Senate Democrats securing historic back-to-back supermajorities as statewide field director, Alec Lewis returned to O’Donnell & Associates to lead its growing campaigns and advocacy practice. The firm has advised county parties as well as candidates for City Council, county legislature and countywide offices. Other key members of the team are Joanna Pasceri, Camille Brandon, Michael Greco and Diane Ong.
Key clients: Letitia James for state attorney general; Maurice “Mo” Brown for Onondaga County Legislature; New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
As state Attorney General Letitia James geared up for reelection, Precision Strategies helped shape her campaign’s visual identity and online message – and the campaign grew its social media following, launched a website and a merch store, raised funds and turned out crucial voters. The firm, led by Obama campaign veterans Stephanie Cutter and Teddy Goff along with Mike Spahn, recently expanded its paid media, data and analytics, and communications practices and created a Spanish-language campaign team. It has offices in New York City, where Goff is based, and Washington, D.C.
Key clients: Letitia James for state attorney general; Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Legal Aid Society of New York; National Urban League; SEIU
Dynamic SRG is a political fundraising firm in Peekskill that has represented a number of prominent Democrats in New York City and the Hudson Valley. The firm was the American Association of Political Consultants Campaign Excellence Award winner for Democratic Fundraiser of the year, the first New York firm to win this national recognition. The firm is implementing the new campaign finance system and public matching fund program. It’s led by veterans Darren Rigger and Walter Swett, with Lisa Amor and Brian Grandelli also on staff.
Key clients: Queens County Democrats; Bronx County Democrats; Greg Meeks and Joe Morelle for Congress; Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Joseph Addabbo Jr., Iwen Chu, Gustavo Rivera and John Brooks for state Senate; Inez Dickens, David Weprin and Stacey Pheffer Amato for Assembly
Marathon Strategies, a public relations firm with offices in New York City, Albany and Washington, D.C., is led by veteran strategist Phil Singer. The team, which also includes former Albany journalists Liz Benjamin and Matthew Hamilton in key roles, works with corporations and organizations on issue campaigns. Marathon provided communications support to Rewiring America as the organization worked on advancing state legislation on the electrification of housing in New York, overcoming fossil fuel companies’ efforts to prevent states and local governments from banning gas hookups. Two other players on the team are Robert Montano and Tobey Zaretsky.
Key clients: Airbnb; Crown Castle; New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association; New York State Association for Affordable Housing; New York State Bar Association; Rewiring America; Volunteers of America-Greater New York
The New York fundraising firm Culver Place Strategies is led by veteran consultants David Mansur and Allegra Scheinblum. Last year the firm helped raise funds for state Attorney General Letitia James’ successful reelection. Other clients included several state Senate Democrats as the conference narrowly held onto its supermajority, including state Sen. James Skoufis, who secured reelection by less than a 2-point margin. Another integral part of the team is Matt Bitz, the firm’s vice president for strategic development.
Key clients: Letitia James for state attorney general; Cordell Cleare, James Skoufis, Nathalia Fernandez and Julie Shiroishi for state Senate; Jeffrey Dinowitz for Assembly; Somos PAC
Middle Seat Consulting’s name may evoke a more middle-of-the-road political path, but its clients tend to travel further to the left. Among the New York candidates it has worked with are Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, and other members of “The Squad” rely on the Washington, D.C.-based firm as well. Other high-profile members of Congress on its roster are Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and U.S. Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania.
Key clients: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman for Congress; Justice Democrats PAC
Slingshot Strategies contributed to the Democratic cause of sending Rep. Pat Ryan to Washington, D.C., as the former Ulster County executive won a high-profile special election in August 2022. The Slingshot Strategies team – led by founders Evan Roth Smith and Sam Hass as well as Alyssa Cass – is now working with Zak Malamed, a Democrat seeking to take on Rep. George Santos. Other key employees include Sam Raskin, Caroline Bankoff and Jeff Coote.
Key clients: Pat Ryan for Congress; Open New York; Data for Progress; Artificial Intelligence Policy Institute; New Yorkers for Equal Rights; Open Plans
When Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado left Congress to become the No. 2 under Gov. Kathy Hochul, 4C Partners continued to serve as one of his top political consultants. This past cycle, the Washington, D.C., consulting firm did work for both the governor and the lieutenant governor, including campaign consulting, fundraising and television ads. The team has also done advertising for President Joe Biden and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. A key player at 4C Partners is political consultant Terrance Green.
Key clients: Antonio Delgado for lieutenant governor; Jackie Gordon for Congress; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
The most recent highlights for Sole Strategies have been supporting the campaigns of Rep. Pat Ryan and New York City Council Democratic nominee Yusef Salaam in a pair of high-profile contested races. The team, led by Zee Cohen-Sanchez, developed an innovative canvassing app called Sole App, which helps candidates organize field campaigns, pay workers, track how many doors are knocked on and even monitor where the canvassers are in live time. Amani Wells-Onyioha is a key player on the now all-female team.
Key clients: Daniel Goldman and Pat Ryan for Congress; Yusef Salaam for New York City Council; Lavender Rights Project
HZQ Consulting has been on the winning side of several closely watched campaigns this year. The firm helped Yusef Salaam beat two state lawmakers to win a pivotal primary for a Harlem seat in the New York City Council, then aided Sam Berger’s special election victory to fill a Queens vacancy in the Assembly. “They were both tough fights with incredible teams and fantastic candidates who really beat the odds,” the team told City & State. The firm also worked with 32BJ SEIU on passing hospital pricing transparency bills at the state and city levels.
Key clients: 32BJ SEIU; New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council; Women Engaged; Housing Rights Initiative; Andrew Gounardes, Zellnor Myrie, Julia Salazar and Jessica Ramos for state Senate; Sam Berger for Assembly; Yusef Salaam for New York City Council
The Advance Group’s Scott Levenson is a veteran consultant with a specialization in helping outer-borough Democrats succeed. In the past year, the team helped now-state Sen. Jessica Scarcella-Spanton succeed her former boss Diane Savino – another former Advance Group client – on Staten Island, and is assisting another Staten Islander in New York City Council Member Kamillah Hanks as she seeks another term. Another key staffer at the firm is Sebastian Levenson, Scott’s son.
Key clients: Jessica Scarcella-Spanton for state Senate; Kamillah Hanks and Rubaiya Rahman for New York City Council
Jenny Galvin, who founded JLG Strategy in 2019, has advised major Democratic candidates and progressive campaigns. In the past year, Galvin led fundraising efforts for congressional candidates Dan Goldman, who won a seat, and Robert Zimmerman, who lost. Galvin also did fundraising for state Attorney General Letitia James’ successful reelection bid and worked with Vote Mama, which aims to support the political participation of mothers.
Key clients: Daniel Goldman and Robert Zimmerman for Congress; Letitia James for state attorney general; Vote Mama
Grassroots Media helped U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer win reelection and secure enough seats to seize the title of majority leader last fall. Schumer’s campaign spent over $8 million with the media buying firm, more than any other vendor in 2021-2022, according to OpenSecrets. Grassroots Media’s Mike D’Ettorre got his start on Ed Rendell’s successful campaign for governor of Pennsylvania in 2002. After working at Shorr Johnson Magnus, D’Ettorre launched his own media buying firm in 2019. The Philadelphia-based consultant has taken on high-profile clients across the country, including U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia.
Key clients: Chuck Schumer; UFT; Vote.org
The firm that took in the second-largest haul (at $7.68 million) from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s campaign over the past two years is Trilogy Interactive, a national outfit that provides an array of digital services, including creative services, social media, email and texting. Other recent clients include U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and former U.S. Senate candidate Val Demings of Florida. Trilogy Interactive Partner Jake Levy-Pollans has led digital work for Schumer.
Key clients: Chuck Schumer for U.S. Senate; Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
In 2021, the nonprofit and political fundraising firm Anne Lewis Strategies changed its name to MissionWired, which founder Anne Lewis said reflects her approach to supporting the mission of her clients. The Washington, D.C., firm, which also has offices in New York, California and Colorado, was one of several fundraisers supporting state Attorney General Letitia James’ reelection bid last year. She also has continued to serve as a communications consultant for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Key clients: Letitia James for state attorney general; Emily’s List; Democratic National Committee
Celinda Lake has earned a reputation as a leading national political consultant with a track record of electing female candidates and breaking through to female voters. It’s no surprise, then, that two of her biggest clients in New York over the past year have been Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and state Attorney General Letitia James, two trailblazers who were both reelected last fall. Her Washington, D.C., research and polling firm, Lake Research Partners, also worked with Joe Biden’s presidential campaign as well as a long list of labor unions and progressive organizations.
Key clients: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Letitia James for state attorney general
Catherine Herrick launched Buying Time over a quarter century ago, and over the years the firm has established itself as a national leader in media buying for political campaigns. Last year, it was far and away the top vendor for Rep. Pat Ryan, helping the then-county executive of Ulster County make the leap to Congress in a widely watched special election seen as a bellwether on how abortion would shape races after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
Key client: Pat Ryan for Congress
Bedford Grove doesn’t have the longest list of clients in elected office, but it has one of the most influential politicians on its roster in Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. Bedford Grove’s Michael Giaccio helped Heastie hold on to his Democratic supermajority in the Assembly while also helping two members – Catalina Cruz and Erik Dilan – win reelection as well. Giaccio, who also worked on Bill de Blasio’s short-lived congressional bid, launched Bedford Grove as a fundraising operation in 2010 after working on gubernatorial and state legislative campaigns.
Key clients: Carl Heastie, Catalina Cruz and Erik Dilan for Assembly; Speaker Heastie PAC; Fairness PAC
Dunton Consulting’s Rasheida Smith has worked for such Democratic luminaries as former Rep. Charlie Rangel and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker. Over the past year, the firm provided canvassing services for now-Rep. Dan Goldman (and earlier, in the same district, provided voter outreach services to Bill de Blasio’s aborted congressional bid) as well as assisting other congressional candidates around the country. The firm also helped with petition expenses and consulted for Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz’s reelection campaign.
Key clients: Dan Goldman for Congress; Melinda Katz for Queens district attorney
In today’s polarized political environment, The Casale Group remains a go-to Republican firm with a reputation of winning races in blue territory, flipping seats and protecting incumbents facing strong challengers. The Casale Group aided a super PAC backing Rep. Marc Molinaro, who flipped an upstate congressional seat, and scored multiple wins in the state Legislature and in local races over the past year. Vince Casale recently wrote and released a nine-part book series designed to empower beginners and aspiring politicians with the knowledge and strategies to launch their own campaigns.
Key clients: Marc Molinaro congressional super PAC; Martin Babinec’s Unite NY; Peter Oberacker, Rob Rolison and Bill Weber for state Senate; Chris Tague, Brian Miller and Brian Maher for Assembly; Tony Picente for Oneida County executive; Enessa Carbone for Oneida County comptroller; Matt Weishaupt for Dutchess County district attorney; Rome Mayor Jackie Izzo; Otsego County Sheriff Rich Devlin; Queens County GOP
Downfield’s biggest recent success was Yusef Salaam’s New York City Council primary victory. Downfield led an aggressive earned media campaign that swamped opponents in the race. Salaam earned national coverage in his race, including his viral “Karma” statement following former President Donald Trump’s first indictment. Eric Koch’s firm continued to grow, including overseas work in Eastern Europe and the European Union ahead of key elections in fall 2023 and EU parliament elections in 2024.
Key clients: Yusef Salaam for New York City Council; Voto Latino; Local 802 American Federation of Musicians; Met Council; Theirworld; Early Starters International; Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Rep. Marc Molinaro has been on quite the roller coaster ride, narrowly losing a congressional special election to now-Rep. Pat Ryan in August 2022 and then eking out an even tighter election victory in a new seat in November that sent him to Washington. Part of the team that got Molinaro over the hump was Red Maverick Media, which provided strategic consulting, online ads, voter calls and signage for the former Dutchess County executive – who’ll need the Virginia- and Pennsylvania-based firm’s help next year in a tough reelection battle.
Key clients: Marc Molinaro for Congress; New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee
Kimberly Peeler-Allen shares a long history with state Attorney General Letitia James, having helped the Brooklyn politician win another four-year term last November. Peeler-Allen was finance director on James’ successful campaign for New York City public advocate and helped lead James’ transition committee when she was first elected state attorney general. Peeler-Allen’s firm provides strategic advice on cultural competency, political strategy and leadership development to foster systemic change in organizations and communities in New York and nationally. She also co-founded Higher Heights for America PAC, which backs Black women seeking office.
Key clients: Letitia James for attorney general; Brennan Center for Justice at NYU
Monica Klein’s Seneca Strategies has shifted in recent months from guiding progressive electoral campaigns for the likes of Alessandra Biaggi and Tiffany Cabán to spearheading progressive advocacy campaigns. The firm ran communications for the New York Caring Majority, blocking proposed home care wage cuts in the state budget, led media strategy for the New York Birth Control Access Project’s successful campaign to pass state legislation allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control and drove communications for the Fiscal Policy Institute influencing city and state budget debates.
Key clients: Fiscal Policy Institute; New York Caring Majority; New York City Council Progressive Caucus; New York Birth Control Access Project
As its name suggests, Deep Blue Politics supports Democratic political candidates, with a focus on television, radio and media buying and digital campaigning. The New York consulting firm has done media production, YouTube ads and mailings on behalf of Rep. Paul Tonko, who won reelection, and Max Della Pia, who lost to Republican Rep. Nick Langworthy. The firm, which has worked with other upstate candidates for state and local offices, has a staff that includes Kevin Hines, Christine Testa, Evan Vershay, Anthony Testa, Paul Novak and Mark Streb.
Key clients: Paul Tonko, Brian Higgins and Max Della Pia for Congress; Jean Lapper for state Senate; Carrie Woerner for Assembly
Jason Laidley, a well-connected political operative from the Bronx, is the founder of London House. The firm has worked recently with Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, Rep. Dan Goldman, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and New York City Council Member Kevin Riley. Laidley worked in the past with state Sen. Jamaal Bailey, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, state Attorney General Letitia James and three New York City comptrollers. Laidley is also senior vice president of government relations with Moonshot Strategies, a New York City government relations and communications firm.
Key clients: Grubhub; Bronx Community Foundation; Charter Communication; New York Botanical Garden; NY Common Pantry; Antonio Delgado for lieutenant governor; Daniel Goldman for Congress; Darcel Clark for Bronx district attorney; Kevin Riley for New York City Council
Authentic Campaigns is a digital consulting firm aimed at electing Democratic candidates and supporting progressive causes. The firm, which is based in the Washington, D.C., area, works with a number of Democrats in the nation’s capital, including providing digital fundraising services for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Gov. Kathy Hochul also has hired the firm as a campaign consultant in 2022 and into 2023. Its CEO, Mike Nellis, recently launched Quiller, which uses artificial intelligence to draft fundraising emails.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Hakeem Jeffries for Congress
The Washington, D.C., and New York-based consulting and fundraising firm Berger Hirschberg Strategies has helped dozens of local, state and federal candidates in New York generate the money needed to run effective campaigns for elected office. The firm’s New York point person is Stephanie Berger, who does fundraising both for political and nonprofit clients. Although a couple of its Democratic congressional clients in New York fell short, the firm helped state Senate Democrats retain their supermajority.
Key clients: Matt Castelli for Congress; Brad Hoylman-Sigal, Andrew Gounardes, Anna Kaplan, Cordell Cleare, Sean Ryan and Lea Webb for state Senate; Melinda Katz for Queens district attorney
Putnam Partners’ biggest splash in New York in recent months was its media production and media buying for Rep. Pat Ryan, who won a special election in the Hudson Valley last year that was viewed as a national bellwether and a sign of how abortion has become a winning issue for Democrats. Cayce McCabe and Kevin McKeon led Putnam's work for Ryan and have now launched the Adwell Group. The Washington, D.C., firm provides political strategy and advertising services as well as issue advocacy and corporate branding and crisis communications consulting.
Key clients: Pat Ryan for Congress; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; House Majority PAC
DSPolitical was part of the constellation of consultants that elected Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan last year. Since 2011, the firm has powered wins for a long list of Democratic campaigns, labor unions and progressive causes throughout New York. The Washington, D.C.-based shop provides programmatic advertising and specializes in hypertargeted digital persuasion and turnout campaigns with its self-serve programmatic platform, Deploy. The firm also has focused on supporting down-ballot and first-time candidates. Among the key staffers at the firm are Mark Jablonowski, Ryan James Evans, Michael Bassik, Waverly Loza and Jacob Garber.
Key clients: Pat Ryan for Congress
Mentzer Media, a Maryland-based media campaign firm, was among the top vendors for a pair of New York Republicans in Congress: Rep. Andrew Garbarino, who’s becoming firmly entrenched in his Long Island district, and Rep. Brandon Williams, a newcomer in the Syracuse and Utica area who’s facing a tough reelection campaign this cycle. The firm, which is led by Bruce Mentzer, has also worked with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel and the Senate Leadership Fund.
Key clients: Andrew Garbarino and Brandon Williams for Congress
Austin and Jenn Shafran, a power couple in the consulting world of New York government and politics, are the co-founders of Green Book Strategies, which in addition to government relations work also handles issue advocacy campaigns and organized labor initiatives. Among the issue campaigns they have focused on is the looming casino expansion in downstate New York as well as electrification and carbon-free clean energy policies.
Key clients: Hotel and Gaming Trades Council; 32BJ SEIU; Coalition for Affordable Hospitals; Sierra Club
Based in Alexandria, Virginia, Go Big Media has a track record of electing Republican congressional candidates from across the country and bringing them to Washington, D.C. Its most notable client from New York this past cycle was Rep. Mike Lawler, who flipped a pivotal House seat red and has spent nearly $100,000 on digital media and get-out-the-vote texts with the television, digital and graphic design production firm. The team also assisted state Sen. Bill Weber, who won his first term last fall.
Key clients: Michael Lawler and Liz Joy for Congress; Bill Weber for state Senate
Michael Nieves isn’t just the president and CEO of the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, a major Spanish-language television network based in Brooklyn. He also keeps a hand in the political game as a part-time political consultant. He’s worked with a few New York City Council candidates in the past year, and also continued with his specialty in advising judicial candidates, most recently Marianne Gonzalez for judge of the New York City Civil Court in Queens.
Key clients: Hiram Monserrate and Charles Castro for New York City Council; Marianne Gonzalez for Judge
Editor’s note: Michael Nieves is a member of City & State’s advisory board.
Sapphire Strategies is a digital consulting firm providing everything from online fundraising to digital advertising to list growth. The firm, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., has worked with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her successor as the Democratic House leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. One of the firm’s key members is Eric Wolfert, a New York City native who worked with then-Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney when the New York politician led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Key clients: Hakeem Jeffries and Sean Patrick Maloney for Congress; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
As campaigning increasingly goes digital, firms like New Blue Interactive are filling the need for modern, technologically savvy campaign services. Taryn Rosenkranz’s national firm, which is based in Washington, D.C., has worked with a number of New York politicians, including Rep. Jerry Nadler, current congressional candidate Liz Whitmer Gereghty and former Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Antonio Delgado, Max Rose and Nita Lowey. Outside of New York, the firm helped reelect Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. New Blue Interactive also became a unionized firm last year.
Key clients: Jerry Nadler, Joe Morelle, Paul Tonko and Bridget Fleming for Congress
While The Parkside Group has long been credited with delivering a majority – and then securing and maintaining a supermajority – for the state Senate Democrats, it’s not the only consulting firm working on their behalf. The Operations Group, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., provided campaign services to more than a dozen Democratic candidates for state Senate last year, while winning most of them. Bernard Talmadge’s firm also helped reelect Democratic Rep. Joe Morelle, a former state legislator.
Key clients: Joe Morelle for Congress; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Neil Breslin, John Brooks, Samra Brouk, Iwen Chu, Jeremy Cooney, Pete Harckham, Michelle Hinchey, Anna Kaplan, John Mannion, Monica Martinez, Rachel May, Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Sean Ryan for state Senate; Kenneth Zebrowsky for Assembly; New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee
Anthony Lemma cut his teeth as a district director and campaign adviser to Rep. Grace Meng before he launched his own campaign firm, Lemma Strategies. Lemma, who has continued to advise Meng, also was a consultant for Robert Zimmerman, the Democrat who lost in a seat straddling Queens and Long Island. He has also worked with corporations and nonprofit organizations such as the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Queens Future and Delta. A key staffer is Vice President Facia Class.
Key clients: Grace Meng and Robert Zimmerman for Congress; Queens Future; Delta Air Lines; Queens Chamber of Commerce; Commonpoint Queens: LGBT Network: Variety Boys and Girls Club; Alphapointe; New York Sun Works; Behind the Book, Bowne House
Marc Zdanow is the founder of Engage Voters U.S., a voter engagement and data firm that has in-depth knowledge about voting trends across New York. Zdanow is assisted by Jerry Skurnik, a veteran political consultant from Prime New York who possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of electoral districts in the state and the ebbs and flows of turnout from cycle to cycle. The firm has worked with clients on both sides of the aisle, including candidates for Congress, state Legislature and local offices.
Key clients: Aisha Mills for Congress; Pete Harckham for state Senate; Abraham Fuchs for Assembly; Charles Barron, Kristy Marmorato and Vito LaBella for New York City Council
L. Joy Williams is a veteran politico in New York who is active in several overlapping arenas: She’s an experienced political consultant, president of the Brooklyn branch of the NAACP and a frequent commentator on MSNBC and NY1. She has worked with Letitia James, Jumaane Williams, Cynthia Nixon, Ray McGuire and Bill Thompson, and is currently a political consultant for the Congressional Black Caucus PAC.
Key clients: Congressional Black Caucus PAC
George Arzt knows a thing or too about political communications in New York City, having served as press secretary in the Koch administration, a top political reporter at the New York Post and a key adviser to a number of influential politicians. His firm is the long-standing communications representative for the Brooklyn Democratic Party, including under its current leader, Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn. The firm also worked with then-Rep. Carolyn Maloney before she exited Congress.
Key clients: Al Taylor and Susan Lee for New York City Council; Brooklyn Democratic Party
In New York over the past year, Van Ness Creative Strategies worked with safe incumbents, including Rep. Ritchie Torres and New York City Council Members Shekar Krishnan and Pierina Sanchez. But the Brooklyn-based creative firm had plenty on its plate, including digital work in swing states, supporting national independent expenditures and creating a youth-focused ad for Building Back Together that went viral. Its in-house production arm, Studio VNCS, led by Eli Susser, continued to grow. Other key staffers include Justice Eiden and Abby Loisel.
Key clients: Ritchie Torres for Congress; Shekar Krishnan and Pierina Sanchez for New York City Council; Building Back Together; Care in Action; National Domestic Workers Alliance; Future Forward USA; The Center For Popular Democracy; New York Working Families Party; Make The Road Action; Future Coalition
Blue State provided digital consulting and media buying for Yuh-Line Niou’s congressional campaign last year, helping her mount a strong but ultimately unsuccessful bid. The team also worked on U.S. Sen. Peter Welch’s winning campaign in Vermont and partnered with Fair Fight to raise money to fund voter outreach programs during the 2022 U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia. The Brooklyn-based firm, led by former Elizabeth Warren presidential strategist Joe Rospars and Managing Director Tessa Simonds, also has Lauren Tsuboyama and Eric Reif on staff.
Key clients: The 92nd Street Y; NARAL Pro-Choice America; Center for Reproductive Rights; Dēmos; Public Wise; Welch for Vermont; Fair Fight; NYC Votes/NYC Campaign Finance Board
Honan Strategy Group, a New York City Democratic polling firm, delivers polling, data analytics and voter targeting services to political candidates, corporations, interest groups, super PACs, independent expenditures and nonprofits. The firm is focusing on voter contact and activation programs to help identify supporters and undecided voters to determine who will turn out – and which voters can be persuaded. Co-founder Bradley Honan, who publishes political commentaries in multiple outlets, is co-president of the Greater New York chapter of the American Association of Political Consultants.
Key clients: Nassau County Democratic Party; Greater Penn Station Alliance; New York Solidarity Network; Long Island Power Authority; Vivian Cook and Jeffrion Aubry for Assembly; Josh Lafazan for Congress; Chicago Teachers Union; The Moderates PAC; Voto Latino
Grindstone Research offers various intelligence services, including corporate research, vetting, self-research and opposition research, which can uncover unsavory details that aim to derail a rival campaign. Among its clients are a few congressional candidates, though its role in New York lately has been assisting Democratic state senators, including Samra Brouk, Michelle Hinchey and Kevin Thomas – though no word on what kind of intel they were provided. The firm, which is based in Nashville, Tennessee, is led by Greg Talmage.
Key clients: John Brooks, Samra Brouk, Iwen Chu, Jeremy Cooney, Michelle Hinchey, Anna Kaplan, John Mannion, Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Kenneth Moore, Sean Ryan, Julie Shiroishi and Kevin Thomas for state Senate; New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee
Kyle Ishmael and Raziq Seabrook in 2022 launched Back Chamber Consulting, a public policy solutions operation “at the intersection of BIPOC representation and problem solving.” The firm advised Yusef Salaam, one of the exonerated Central Park Five who won a competitive Democratic primary for a New York City Council seat in Harlem. Ishmael is also the executive director of the Manhattan Democratic Party and previously ran the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus in the Assembly. Seabrook served in the Cuomo administration and had a stint at Mercury.
Key clients: Yusef Salaam for New York City Council; Monique Chandler-Waterman for Assembly
Grand Central Consulting over the past year has been contributing to the efforts of multiple successful, hard fought primary campaigns, including Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz’s reelection bid. Adam Herbsman, who founded the firm nearly a decade and a half ago, keeps a low profile, in keeping with the opposition research it delivers to candidates. Big-name clients such as Reps. Jerry Nadler and Dan Goldman and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli have utilized the firm’s services.
Key clients: Jerry Nadler and Dan Goldman for Congress; Thomas DiNapoli for state comptroller; Melinda Katz for Queens district attorney
When New York Democrats want to dig up dirt on their political opponents, one of the go-to oppo researchers is Jonathan Davis. His Northside Research and Consulting tends to stay out of the spotlight – unlike his clients, including New York City Council candidate Yusef Salaam and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark. Davis also did campaign work in recent years for congressional candidates Alessandra Biaggi and Carlina Rivera and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Key clients: Yusef Salaam for New York City Council; Darcel Clark for Bronx district attorney
Gabby Seay made a name for herself in New York politics as the political action director for 1199SEIU, one of the most influential labor unions in the state. Since late 2021, she has been solely focused on her own firm, Seay Strategies, which she founded in 2017. She has assisted progressive organizations and political action committees such as Community Change and MoveOn. She also has done some consulting work for state Attorney General Letitia James and served as campaign manager of James’ short-lived gubernatorial bid in 2021.
Key clients: Community Change; BlackPAC; MoveOn; Center for Cultural Power
Jonathan Yedin has carved out a niche as a political adviser in the outer boroughs and on Long Island. Yedin worked on Jon Kaiman’s congressional bid in Suffolk County, Nassau County and Queens, advised the term-limited Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, and helped Chris Banks upset New York City Council Member Charles Barron in a primary. He has also consulted for New York City Council Member Justin Brannan, his old boss who’s in a tough reelection fight. Yedin launched his firm, Power Play Strategies, in 2016.
Key clients: Justin Brannan, Nantasha Williams, Chris Banks and Wai Yee Chan for New York City Council; UFT
The Sexton Group, a national firm headquartered in Chicago, notes that it allows candidates to “reach voters where they are – on their phones.” Led by Obama campaign veteran Jaimey Sexton, the company has worked with several New York Democratic congressional candidates, most recently Rep. Joe Morelle and candidates Francis Conole and Laura Gillen. Among its services are texting, live calling, robocalls and virtual town halls.
Key clients: Joe Morelle, Francis Conole and Laura Gillen for Congress; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Rep. Nick Langworthy’s campaign team in his first bid for Congress included FlexPoint Media, an Ohio firm founded in 2017 by Tim Cameron and Kegan Beran with a focus on breaking down barriers between traditional and digital media – and electing Republicans. The firm delivered media services for Langworthy, one of a half-dozen first-term Republican House members in New York – and easily the safest this coming cycle.
Key client: Nick Langworthy for Congress
The public relations and communications firm Siegel Strategies has had some big-name clients in recent years, from former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg during his 2020 presidential bid to former Rep. Tom Suozzi’s gubernatorial campaign last year. Jimmy Siegel, who comes from an advertising background, and Miriam Hess, who started out as a campaign operative, head up the firm. They’ve also been advising Stop Him Now PAC, which aims to tie Republican candidates to former President Donald Trump.
Key clients: Stop Him Now PAC
Kristie Stiles may live in New Mexico now, but her old political friends back in New York still reach out for a hand with their campaign fundraising. Stiles forged a network of connections in New York’s political world during stops at Mercury and Bedford Grove and on the campaigns of David Paterson and Eliot Spitzer. More recently, she picked up some fundraising work for state Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Council candidate Yusef Salaam.
Key clients: Letitia James for state attorney general; Yusef Salaam for New York City Council; National Democratic Training Committee PAC
The Balduzzi Group, which has offices in Syracuse and Washington, D.C., is a full-service political advertising and direct mail firm for candidates at the local, state and federal levels. Founder John Balduzzi helped reelect Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, and also worked with congressional candidate Steven Holden, who lost to Rep. Claudia Tenney in 2022, and is now taking aim at Rep. Elise Stefanik.
Key client: Steven Holden for Congress
While at BrownMillerGroup, Peter Brown helped a number of downstate candidates like state Sen. Jessica Ramos, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and then-Queens District Attorney candidate Tiffany Cabán. Then he teamed up with Rich Pelletier at The Strategy Division, a strategy, digital and direct mail firm that nearly sent political neophyte Kathryn Garcia to City Hall in New York City. More recent clients include Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger – New York’s only female county executive – and a number of out-of-state clients.
Key clients: Jen Metzger for Ulster County executive; Julie Shiroishi for state Senate
Cayce McCabe, Megan Nashban Kenney and Cristina González helped launch Adwell Group this year along with other veterans of Putnam Partners, including Kevin McKeon. McCabe is a leading creative political advertising strategist who has worked on some of the most notable ads in New York over the last several cycles. Nashban Kenney, a partner in the firm, started her career as a fundraiser for candidates across New York City and the state. González, who makes original ads in Spanish, got her start in 2013 as a volunteer on Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign, then went on to work with other Democrats. Among McCabe, Nashban Kenney' and González' notable 2022 wins, Rep. Pat Ryan in the Hudson Valley.
The multistate political consulting firm Hilltop Public Solutions is now led in New York by Aaron Kaufman and Fabio Perla. The firm gained notice when it helped New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio win elections in 2013 and 2017, and over the years it has counted Bill Hyers and Prisca Salazar-Rodriguez among its New York leaders. Kaufman has a background in New York City government, including at the Department of Social Services, while Perla cut his teeth campaigning and with the Working Families Party.
Key clients: Jessica Scarcella-Spanton for state Senate; Democratic Committee of Richmond County
Yoel Fried’s Friedco Media has assisted candidates in some of the biggest races in New York in recent years. The consulting and marketing firm helped Gov. Kathy Hochul connect with Orthodox Jewish voters across the state, formulating an effective messaging and media plan – including outreach to those who speak Yiddish – to maximize support in the community. Fried served as a campaign consultant for Jewish outreach in New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ 2021 campaign as well. The firm also assists large nonprofits in fundraising campaigns.
Key clients: Kathy Hochul for governor; Pat Ryan and Sean Patrick Maloney for Congress; Orthodox Union’s Teach Coalition
The Albany-based firm Relentless Awareness provides a variety of services, including community outreach, creative design, regulatory assistance, communications and campaign consulting. The firm, which was co-founded in 2012 by Joe Bonilla, has recently assisted political clients including Assembly Member Patricia Fahy, who was reelected last fall, and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, who won a third term in 2021, as well as judicial and local candidates in Troy, Schenectady, Cohoes and Saratoga Springs. The firm's growing creative services practice provides photography, design, drone work, animation, videography, polling and more – all in-house. Other key staffers include Sabrina Flores, Nerissa Peralta, Ethan Travis, Brooke Pominville, Taylor Preckel and Joah Alindato.
Key clients: Patricia Fahy for Assembly; Kathy Sheehan for Albany mayor; David Soares for Albany County district attorney
The consulting firm Premier Strategies is led by Gregory Kirsopp – the chief of staff to Assembly Member Michael Novakhov and former staffer with the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, the New York City Council and in Congress – and April Cardena, a former staffer in the New York City Council and the state Republican Party. Among the firm’s clients are Novakhov, a Republican who knocked out Democratic incumbent Steven Cymbrowitz last year.
Key clients: Michael Novakhov and Christopher LeBron for Assembly; Kristy Marmorato for New York City Council
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Culver Place Strategies was a client of state Sen. Kristen Gonzalez.
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