Running political campaigns is never easy, and in the ever-changing landscape of operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, many on the job have been forced to adapt the tried-and-true approaches to typical campaign work. Much of it has become digital in many ways, pressing the top firms to find new efficiencies and make up for the personal touch lacking in COVID-era campaigns. Pennsylvania’s top political consultants include a variety of old and new, as well as national and local firms working to get candidates elected all across the commonwealth.
It didn’t escape our notice that the final roster for this list is light on diversity in virtually every sense of the word. It’s dominated by straight, white, middle-aged men. But no matter how you slice it, right now, this is an accurate reflection of the most powerful people in this arena.
Our rankings are determined by the recent political consulting work done on behalf of candidates across Pennsylvania, factoring in wins and losses in statewide and local races and the campaign spending and prominence of candidates. City & State reached out to each operative on the list to learn their top clients and biggest accomplishments. Some shared, others passed, and we filled in the rest with our own research and reviews of public filings.
Here are the 2022 Political Consultants Power 50.
1. Ray Zaborney
Founder, Red Maverick Media
Ray Zaborney has served as an adviser to some of Pennsylvania's top political leaders for more than 15 years. He’s grown Red Maverick Media into a powerhouse operation that represents dozens of Republican campaigns in Pennsylvania – his marquee client being Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman – whose gubernatorial campaign he helped launch last year. Known in Republican circles as a results-driven political strategist, Zaborney is credited with helping a sizable chunk of GOP members win seats in the House and Senate.
Key clients: Jake Corman, Dan Meuser, John Joyce, John DiSanto, Mike Regan, Frank Farry, Larry Hogan, Senate Republican Campaign Committee, House Republican Campaign Committee, Congressional Leadership Fund, Henry McMaster, Chris Christie (2016 SuperPAC)
“Helping Megan Sullivan win statewide judicial seat and helping to launch Jake Corman’s gubernatorial campaign.”
2. Jennifer Zaborney
Founder, Maverick Finance
Jennifer Zaborney has advised candidates on the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade. Her skill set includes advising nonprofits and women towards their financial and political goals. She earned the Senate Republican Campaign Committee millions of dollars as finance director and executive director and helped to ensure the group's status as the only majority Republican Caucus in the northeast. The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Susquehanna Arts Museum are among her affiliations.
Jake Corman, Corbett for Governor, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy
“Jen worked to help launch the campaign of Senate President Jake Corman for Governor and continues to serve as an advisor to the campaign.”
3. Mark Harris & Mike DeVanney
Following graduation from George Washington University, Mark Harris ran in Pennsylvania's primary election to unseat an incumbent state representative. He was an advisor to U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey during the most expensive Senate reelection campaign in U.S. history. Today, Harris is one of the state's most sought-after consultants. Harris founded ColdSpark in 2011 and still leads its growing team. For the Supreme Court election in Pennsylvania last year, the team led an independent expenditure campaign.
Known as a "top campaign operative," Mike DeVanney managed Bill Scranton's 2006 gubernatorial campaign and created advertising that won multiple Pollie and Reed awards. Together, Harris and DeVanney have run campaigns ranging from local elections to presidential super PACs to a one-time very costly bid for the U.S. Senate. As ColdSpark expands, digital advocacy and campaigning for causes are becoming increasingly important. Apart from being one of Pittsburgh's largest public relations firms, ColdSpark has satellite offices in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.
Club for Growth, Pittsburgh Works, Jake Corman for PA Governor, U.S. Term Limits, Darren Bailey for Illinois Governor, Guy Reschenthaler, Byron Donalds, Nikki Haley’s Stand for America, Russ Fulcher
“Helping to guide the successful independent expenditure effort for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court election.”
4. J.J. Balaban
Admaker & Strategist, Technicolor Political
During his 20 years as an admaker and strategist, J.J. Balaban wrote and created TV ads for Democratic campaigns in 36 states, 72 congressional districts and 120 media markets. After graduating from Princeton University, he served as the press secretary for U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski. After 17 years as an admaker at The Campaign Group, in 2021, he became a partner of Technicolor Political, the nation's largest majority-Black-owned advertising company.
Madeleine Dean, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Donald Norcross, Chris Coons, Lisa Blunt Rochester
“J.J. made the ads/strategy for U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones in his history-making win in upstate New York to become the first openly-gay Black U.S. Rep. in American history in 2021. This follows on the heels of making the ads for Colorado’s Jared Polis when he became the nation’s first openly-gay governor in 2019 and making the ads for Massachusetts’ Maura Healey when she became the nation’s first openly-gay attorney general in 2015.”
5. Mike Mikus
Principal, Chartiers Group
Having overseen campaigns ranging from county judge to Congress in 16 states, Mike Mikus has nearly 30 years of experience in politics. Before launching his firm, Mikus managed former U.S. Rep. Mark Critz’s special election victory in 2010 and later guided Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s upset in 2011, overcoming a 27-point polling deficit to win by double digits. He was one of the key components in Gov. Tom Wolf's gubernatorial wins in 2014 and 2018 and became a regional political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after graduating from Washington & Jefferson College.
Tom Wolf, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Rich Fitzgerald, Mark Critz, Dan Pastore for Congress, The Voter Project
“Worked to beat back Donald Trump and the Republican Party's efforts to delegitimize the results of the 2020 presidential election.”
6. Adam Maust
Owner, Atlas & Might
Adam Maust has been running campaigns nationwide since 2005. Maust's leadership role at Atlas & Might allows him to approach every campaign from multiple angles, examining it analytically, creatively and microscopically to yield the best results. Prior to taking on his current role, Maust served as political director for the Pennsylvania House Republican Campaign Committee and served for seven years as a partner at Red Maverick Media. As a developer, he is currently working on renovating the Atlas Building, a century-old landmark in Uptown Harrisburg that has sat vacant for many years.
Supreme Court race for Kevin Brobson, Stacy Wallace, Megan Sullivan, Tim DeFoor, Megan McCarthy King and House and Senate victories in 2020
“Adam has executed multiple and consecutive successful statewide campaign efforts in Pennsylvania and that has been the biggest accomplishment in the last election cycles.”
7. Mike D’Ettorre
President, Grassroots Media
Mike D’Ettorre got his start in politics working on former Gov. Ed Rendell’s primary campaign in 2002, before joining Shorr Johnson Magnus as a media assistant. He became manager of the media department during his 16 years at Shorr Johnson Magnus, gaining expertise in working on down ballot races at the state and local levels. Across the commonwealth and for nearly 20 years, D’Ettorre has been an integral part of successful campaigns including for U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Key clients:Josh Shapiro, Raphael Warnock for Georgia, JB Pritzker, The Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Vote.org
“Being a part of the campaign team for Sen. Raphael Warnock has been the biggest accomplishment over the past year. The successful run-off campaign decided the balance of the U.S. Senate and flipped it to a majority for the Democrats. I was honored to be part of such a historic election and campaign team.”
8. Josh Nanberg
President & Creative Director, Ampersand Strategies
As a campaign manager, political consultant and communications strategist, Josh Nanberg has earned an impressive record of success. His work as the political director for the Montgomery County Democrat Party in 2003 led him to serve as research director for the campaigns of U.S. Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards in Pennsylvania the following year. Nanberg has worked with Reps. Patrick Murphy and Matt Cartwright and since 2018, he's advised the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, helping to flip seven seats in that time.
Derek Green, Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, Jay Costa, Jim Brewster, Vincent Hughes, Steve Malagari, Jessel Costa
“In 2021, we helped Labor beat back the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, worked to increase vaccination rates in Georgia and worked with great candidates in Pennsylvania and across the country. We expanded our operation with a Nashville office and expanded our work into new states.”
9. Daniel Fee
President, The Echo Group
An expert at developing and leading strategic communications plans for corporations, governments and political leaders, longtime political consultant Dan Fee advises both corporate and governmental leaders across Pennsylvania. His clients include corporations and nonprofits, as well as former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, the Allegheny County executive, the mayor of Philadelphia, members of the Pennsylvania legislature and members of all three statewide appellate courts. In 2018, he helped elect a new Democratic majority to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court – one that struck down Pennsylvania's gerrymandered congressional maps.
Ed Rendell, Debra Todd, Dan Onorato, Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform, Prosperity First Committee, Donald Norcross, Allan Domb
10. Mike Long & Todd Nyquist
Partners, Long, Nyquist & Associates
Originally from Lebanon County, Mike Long is a well-known and respected leader for his 25 years at the helm of the Pennsylvania State Senate, where he developed a strong Republican majority throughout that period. As a result of his efforts, he teamed up with Todd Nyquist in 2006 to form Long, Nyquist & Associates – along with LN Consulting, where he recently provided consulting services to state Sen. Chris Gebhard and Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli, both of whom went on to win their most recent races.
As the former top aide to the Republican Senate majority in the State Senate, Todd Nyquist could be considered the main driver of growing the Republican majority and making sure that it continued to function. As a staff administrator for the Senate Republican Caucus, Nyquist kept a close eye on legislative, budgetary and personnel issues before co-founding Long Nyquist & Associates with Long. A well-regarded expert in policy and politics, he contributed to the election of 30 Republicans to the Senate in the last few years.
Dave White for Governor, Carla Sands for Senate, Pennsylvania Senate Republicans, Lloyd Smucker, Mike Kelly, Daniel Meuser
“Served as consultant to state Sen. Chris Gebhard, consulted for Nicole Ziccarelli, the first woman to ever be elected district attorney in Westmoreland County, and Dave White retained us to run his gubernatorial race.”
11. Adam Erickson
Founder & Principal, Princeton Strategies
Adam Erickson has extensive campaign management and fundraising experience. Prior to starting Princeton Strategies, he worked on several races throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Erickson managed then-state Rep. Brendan Boyle’s congressional campaign in 2013 and received an award for his grassroots campaigning in New Jersey. He also notes one of his accomplishments in 2021 is the eight local Democratic candidates the firm helped get elected in races for city council and judgeships.
Isaiah Thomas, Wade Herring, Brian Sims
“2021 was a tough year for Democrats in both Pennsylvania and nationally, yet we helped eight different Democrats get elected to City Council, Common Pleas and Municipal Judge and a successful State Representative Special Election in Pennsylvania. As a firm, Princeton Strategies raised over $4.5 million in 2021 for 29 different clients from Pennsylvania to South Carolina & Georgia.”
12. Matt Beynon
Senior Strategist, BrabenderCox
Matt Beynon joined BrabenderCox in 2017 and has advised more than a dozen successful campaigns. In 2021, the company helped clients navigate pandemic restrictions without sacrificing creativity. Beynon was Rick Santorum's communications adviser for nearly two decades and served on his 2012 and 2016 campaigns. As a member of the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, he supports cancer charities throughout northeast Pennsylvania. Currently, he chairs the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Northeast Pennsylvania's Man and Woman of the Year Campaign.
Rick Santorum, Dave White for Governor, Tiffany Smiley for U.S. Senate, Fred Keller, Mike Kelly, Nicole Malliotakis, Dan Meuser, Lee Zeldin
“Helping our clients successfully navigate the shifting pandemic restrictions and regulations without missing deadlines or sacrificing advertising creativity and quality.”
13. Brian Nutt
President, Ignite Strategies, LLC
Brian Nutt has been a knowledgeable Pennsylvania political consultant since 1999. Prior to becoming chief of staff to then-Gov. Tom Corbett, Nutt acted as campaign manager for his successful gubernatorial campaign. He also served as managing partner of BrabenderCox's Harrisburg office for several years before launching Ignite Strategies as a comprehensive consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, marketing, fundraising and government relations.
14. Rob Brooks
Managing Partner, Hallowell, Brooks & Pontarelli
At every level of government, Rob Brooks has worked on and led campaigns that presented him with an opportunity to use his extensive knowledge of campaign organization, management and advertising. Among other positions, he served as executive director of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and the Chester County Republican Committee. Throughout Brooks’ career as a consultant, he has consistently helped win state House seats in some of the more difficult Pennsylvania legislative districts.
Pennsylvania Republican Party, House Republican Campaign Committee,
Bucks County Republican Committee, Montgomery County Republican Committee, Chester County Republican Committee, Cambria County Republican Committee, Gene Yaw, Tracy Pennycuick, Todd Stephens, Meghan Schroeder, Shelby Labs, KC Tomlinson, Barry Jozwiak, Keith Gillespie, Craig Staats, Matt Weintraub
“HBP worked alongside District Attorney Matt Weintraub and the Bucks County Republican Committee to re-elect Matt and take back all of the row office seats lost four years prior. Additionally, we helped re-elect Bensalem Mayor Joe DiGirolamo and elect Judge Steve Corr. Despite demographic shifts, our clients and we have found ways to win in southeastern Pennsylvania and even flip seats at the local, county and state levels.”
15. Reesa Kossoff
Executive Director, SEIU Pennsylvania State Council
In Pennsylvania, Reesa Kossoff is one of the leading advocates for working families. A native of Bucks County, Kossoff worked on a range of electoral and issue campaigns in Indiana, Ohio and Washington State before landing back in Pennsylvania. Among the former Obama campaign veterans' victories are the election of a pro-labor Supreme Court candidate in 2015, the re-election of Gov. Tom Wolf and the election of more union-friendly candidates in 2018.
16. Vincent Galko
Senior Vice President, Mercury Public Affairs
In his 20-plus years of experience working on national, state and local campaigns, Vincent Galko has helped several members of Congress, several U.S. senators and a Pennsylvania governor clinch big wins. Galko was a deputy director of President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign in Pennsylvania and was executive director of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in 2005. He’s overseen or assisted in several key GOP victories, including the campaigns of Lou Barletta, Jim Gerlach, Pat Toomey, Rick Santorum and Jim Cawley. He has been involved in electing judges both at the state and county levels.
Greg Rothman, Christian Nascimento for Congress, Responsible Solutions for Pennsylvania, Pat Browne, The Volpe Report
“Tina Boyd won both Democrat and Republican nominations for Berks County Judge. David Ritter won election for Lehigh County Judge. Bruce Beemer won both Democrat and Republican nominations for Allegheny County Judge. Lou Mincarelli won the Republican primary for Chester County Judge. Swept Lower Saucon Council races on behalf of our client Responsible Solutions for PA. Played a key role working with Common Sense Coalition in achieving "Yes" vote victory in the May primary.”
17. Christopher Nicholas
Principal, Eagle Consulting Group
Christopher Nicholas has carved out a career as an established expert in state politics, political redistricting and its demographic shifts. In his role as campaign manager, he has implemented successful Independent Expenditure (IE) programs nationwide. He was appointed to oversee former Sen. Arlen Specter's $21 million re-election campaign in 2004, which ranked among the country's most contentious Senate races. His direct mail, digital and electronic media have been recognized with numerous 'Pollie' awards from the American Association of Political Consultants.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, Keystone Free Enterprise Fund, Steve Oroho, Gerow for Governor, The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, LV Strong, ProtectPA
“Helping keep the legislature in the GOP column; Helping turn Judge Kevin Brobson into Justice Kevin Brobson; and Spearheading the first debate among the GOP candidates for governor.”
18. Aubrey Montgomery
President & Principal, Rittenhouse Political Partners
Founded in 2013, Aubrey Montgomery is the principal at Rittenhouse Political Partners, a Philadelphia-based fundraising firm. She raised millions of dollars in more than a decade in more than a dozen states. Before establishing RPP, Montgomery headed the campaign finance department for former U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz's campaign for governor. She is a member of the American Association of Political Consultants and a founding board member of the National Association of Political Fundraisers.
The PA Alliance, Fairness PA PAC, Vincent Hughes, Ken Lawrence, Kenyatta Johnson, Derek Green, Kathy Gilmore Richardson, Jamie Gauthier, Bobby Henon, Steve Irwin for Congress, Philadelphia 3.0, Ed Gainey for Mayor, Val Arkoosh for Senate, Lovitz for State Rep.
“We've been very excited to work with a number of amazing candidates from western Pennsylvania in the last year. One of our team's greatest accomplishments was Ed Gainey's successful campaign for Pittsburgh mayor. We also helped Tyler Titus run a very competitive race for Erie County Executive.”
19. Neil Oxman & Doc Sweitzer
Cofounders, The Campaign Group
Having been a political ad maker for more than 30 years, Neil Oxman knows how to get a message across. From local office-seekers to candidates for the House, Senate, and even the presidency, the firm represents a wide range of clients. Oxman provided national media consulting for Al Gore's 1988 presidential primary campaign, worked with Philly Mayor Michael Nutter and even helped talk show host Jerry Springer when he served as Cincinnati's mayor.
Thomas M. “Doc” Sweitzer's experience covers political campaigns, as well as corporate and nonprofit clients. Sweitzer is a veteran of more than 600 campaigns, and has been successful in electing more than 50 governors, senators, and members of Congress. Sweitzer’s past clients include Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, and Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri.
20. John Hanley
Owner, JFH Strategies LLC
In his role as a political strategist, John Hanley draws on 30 years of experience. Nationally, he has advised campaigns, political parties and candidates. His areas of expertise include digital strategy, electronic media and direct mail. He worked for Pathfinder Communications and Red Maverick Media before starting his own consulting business. Prior to that, Hanley was executive director of the Pennsylvania House Republican Campaign Committee and was instrumental in helping secure the largest House Republican majority in decades.
Mike Regan, Pat Stefano, Wayne Langerholc, Curt Sonney, Jim Marshall, Lori Mizgorski, Bud Cook, Ryan Warner, Bob Brooks, George Dunbar, Eric Davanzo, Abby Major, Donna Oberlander, Kathy Rapp, Martin Causer, Jesse Topper, Dawn Keefer, Stan Saylor, Sue Helm, David Millard, Tina Pickett, Karen Boback, Aaron Kaufer
“2021 was an off-year election and all about county and local races for John. He was especially excited to serve clients who won long-held Democrat seats in Fayette County (Treasurer Melissa Tzan), Washington County (Sheriff Tony Andronas) and Greene County (Judge Jeff Grimes) in addition to helping other county row offices and MDJ candidates win their elections for office.”
21. Rebecca McNichol
Executive Director, Emerge Pennsylvania
Throughout Rebecca McNichol's nearly 20-year career, she has managed political campaigns, led a super-PAC and built a statewide advocacy coalition. She has also created state and national issues advocacy campaigns. McNichol also operated as executive director of the Coalition for Labor Engagement and Accountable Revenue (CLEAR Coalition). In 2006, she worked as the political director for U.S. Sen. Bob Casey when he defeated Rick Santorum. Prior to her current position, McNichol served as the state director of the super PAC For Our Future.
“I am most proud to be working to create a more reflective democracy and working to elect underrepresented women. In 2021, 22 women who graduated from the Emerge PA training program ran for office, 59% of our candidates identify as part of the New American Majority and 40% identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC). In 2021, 16 out of the 22 Emerge PA trained candidates won their election, that is a 73% win rate. Of the 16 Emerge PA alums that won, 50% are BIPOC.”
22. John Jones
Assistant Director of Government Relations, PSEA
John Jones joined the PSEA in 2016, where he coordinates the political activities of its members – more than 180,000 public school teachers and educational support staff. He was previously a partner at the WS Group, a Harrisburg-based political consulting firm that provided direct mail, fundraising, polling and strategy services to a wide range of clients, including the PSEA, the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee, Democratic state representatives and other candidates running for local office.
23. Jason Robert Henry
Executive Director, Pennsylvania Democratic Party
Taking over a major statewide political party is no easy feat. Add in a global pandemic and an unprecedented 2020 presidential election cycle and that only adds to the difficulties. This was Jason Robert Henry's reality when he became the executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party in 2020. Under Henry’s watch, Joe Biden won the state of Pennsylvania, and in 2021, Democrats flipped a seat on the Commonwealth Court. He also previously served as campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Bob Casey's 2018 re-election campaign.
Bob Casey, Bob Merski, Shannon Sneed, Martha Robertson, Katie McGinty
“Aside from the 2020 election, my most significant recent accomplishment was overseeing the most extensive odd-year election effort in PA Dems history, which flipped a seat on the Commonwealth Court with Judge Lori Dumas. The 2021 election also netted positive local results in the crucial battleground counties of Chester, Delaware, Lehigh and Northampton.”
24. Brian Rengert
Executive Director, Pennsylvania House Republican Campaign Committee
A native of central Pennsylvania, Brian Rengert has risen in the ranks from door-to-door canvassing to managing field operations. As executive director of the Pennsylvania House Republican Campaign Committee, he has developed grassroots plans for campaigns, overseen many polling and research projects and devised successful statewide strategies for candidates. Even though he was outspent three to one in 2020, Rengert extended his party's majority in the state House.
“Expanding the majority in the State House despite being outspent three to one in 2020.”
25. Cody Harbaugh
Executive Director, Pennsylvania Senate Republican Campaign Committee
Cody Harbaugh worked for the state Republican Party and ran political campaigns before joining Red Maverick Media in 2019. In 2021, he was appointed as Senate Republican Campaign Committee executive director, making him a major player in Pennsylvania's fundraising community. According to campaign finance reports, between 2018 and 2020, it raised just under $10 million to bolster the GOP's Senate majority. Harbaugh is now a key component of seeing the SRCC remain successful.
26. Trevor Southerland
Executive Director, Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee
Trevor Southerland was named executive director of the House Democratic Campaign Committee by state Rep. Joanna McClinton in April following a nationwide search. He came to the commonwealth after spending six years with the Virginia House Democratic Caucus, where the party took the state House majority back during his tenure. Prior to his time in Virginia, he served as finance director for the Michigan State Democratic Fund and the annual fund director of the Democratic Party of Georgia.
Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee
“Building the House Democratic Campaign Committee program to win the majority in 2022 including a first-of-its-kind among legislative campaign committees, deep canvassing program.”
27. Tori Shriver
Political Director, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters
Tori Shriver has spearheaded political operations for the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters since being named the union’s political director in the summer of 2021. In this role, she is charged with mobilizing the union’s 41,000 members in support of pro-labor policies and union-backed candidates. Shriver also lobbies for policies designed to benefit workers and oversees Carpenters’ political endorsement process, recommending which candidates to endorse after studying a range of candidates who support her cause.
28. Jef Pollock
Founder, President & CEO, Global Strategy Group
Jef Pollock’s Global Strategy Group clients include four governors, four senators and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Governors Association. Many organizations and companies use Pollock's research, including Comcast, MLB, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the University of Pennsylvania, Giffords, Ford Motor Company and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The University of Pennsylvania graduate is a lifelong Eagles fan from Huntingdon Valley. Along with acting in two major films, Pollock is an active SAG/AFTRA member.
Josh Shapiro, John Carney, Dwight Evans, Val Arkoosh, Kevin Steele, Kathy Hochul, Kirsten Gillibrand, Joe Manchin, Ed Markey, Jacky Rosen
29. Fiona Conroy
Partner, Deliver Strategies
An experienced political operative at one of the leading Democratic communications and direct mail firms, Fiona Conroy has managed campaigns and communicated strategies for more than a decade. Her campaign experience includes work for Gov. Tom Wolf, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, several congresspeople and local officials. The progressive campaign work history doesn’t stop there, as she also led the Pennsylvania Fund for Change in 2018 and is the former executive director of the state House Democratic Campaign Committee.
Tom Wolf, Josh Shapiro, Val Arkoosh, Dwight Evans, Susan Wild, Mary Gay Scanlon, Paige Cognetti, Matt Tuerk, Conservation Voters of PA, Planned Parenthood PA, PA Fund for Change
“In 2021, I was proud to help Matt Tuerk become the Mayor of Allentown and Paige Cognetti win her first full term as Mayor of Scranton. Hardworking and talented local elected officials have never been more important as we all work to make it through the pandemic.”
30. Charlie Gerow
Founder, Quantum Communications
Beginning as a political aide on President Reagan’s campaign, and most recently launching his own candidacy for governor, Charlie Gerow has a long history in Pennsylvania politics. He is the founder of the Harrisburg-based Quantum Communications and one of the leading political strategists in the commonwealth, as well as vice chair of the American Conservative Union and annual CPAC conference. Outside of his multiple runs for state and federal office, Gerow has continued to be an influential conservative voice and media commentator.
31. Jeff Coleman
Co-founder, Churchill Strategies
Jeff Coleman, a former state legislator who represented mostly Democratic constituencies in Pennsylvania's 60th district, announced in late 2021 that he would run for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor as a Republican. As a result of his decision to step down from politics in 2005, he and his spouse founded Churchill Strategies, a corporate consulting firm based in Harrisburg. His book, "With All Due Respect: Recovering the Manners and Civility of Political Combat," was published in 2017.
32. Tricia Mueller & Michelle McMormick
Founders, Groundwork Strategies
Groundwork Strategies is a certified, women-owned and operated public affairs and political consulting firm founded by Tricia Mueller and Michelle McCormick. The firm, which operates in Philadelphia and New Jersey, helps clients with political strategy, issue advocacy, campaign management, research, communications and more. Mueller is the former political director of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners in America and a former state director for Obama for America.
McCormick brings extensive strategic communications experience to the team as well, having served as a business administrator and project manager for several companies and organizations, including the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. Together, the Groundworks team is a leading voice in labor and women’s issues in the region. Some of their recent work includes running campaigns such as Rebecca Rhynhart for Controller, Carolyn Nichols for Superior Court Judge and Matt Wolf for Municipal Court Judge, and building out voter models on behalf of key Democratic clients.
Rebecca Rhynhart for Controller, Carolyn Nichols for Superior Court Judge, Matt Wolf for Municipal Court Judge, People for Parker
“Working with various independent expenditure campaigns to build voter models and turn out identified voters in Pennsylvania on behalf of key Democrats.”
33. Mungu Sanchez
Deputy Political Director, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters
Mungu Sanchez began working in politics more than two decades ago as a staffer for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. During this time, he discovered his political potential and passion for advancing social issues in his community. Currently, Sanchez serves on the planning committee of the North Star Convention, a coalition of African American state and local legislators, business leaders, union and community leaders working to improve the lives of African Americans in Pennsylvania.
“Helping the Biden campaign win Pennsylvania was a major accomplishment for our union. The carpenters were able to put together a muscular field program to drive turnout in Philadelphia.”
34. David Dix
Co-Founder, Chair & CEO, Luminous Strategies
During the past two decades, David Dix has built strong relationships with Republicans and Democrats by working closely with both parties. Before founding Luminous, Dix served in various key roles for former Pennsylvania governors Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker. As chair of the Republican Diversity Committee, in 2005, he helped elevate minority voices within the Republican Party. In 2007, Dix made a profound political shift and served as finance director for Obama for America in Pennsylvania. Later, he formed a relationship with then-President Donald Trump, which led to an executive order supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
35. Brock McCleary
Vice President, Cygnal
As a recognized Republican pollster, Brock McCleary has served as a polling expert to various members of Congress, public policy groups and other organizations across the country. He got his start in Pennsylvania politics working on former Gov. Tom Ridge’s reelection campaign in 1998. More recently, McCleary served in several capacities at the National Republican Congressional Committee, including as former President Donald Trump’s chief battleground pollster. He founded Harper Polling in 2013 before selling the company to Cygnal in 2020.
Fred Keller, Mike Kelly, Dan Meuser, Lloyd Smucker, GT Thompson, Senate Republican Campaign Committee, Shell, PA Partnerships for Children, PA Cannabis Coalition, Trump SuperPAC Save America, National Republican Campaign Committee, Congressional Leadership Fund, Senate Leadership Fund
“From Labor Day to Election Day, Brock conducted 62 polls for President Trump’s reelection campaign. Brock and his team’s data analysis across every battleground state, including Pennsylvania, helped guide strategic and media execution and fuel the campaign’s fall resurgence.”
36. Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson
Political Director, Democratic Party of Pennsylvania
Before her run for Congress in 2018, Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson held a variety of high-level positions, including chief of staff to state Sen. Katie Muth, deputy chief of staff to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and senior staff assistant to Sen. Bob Casey. She was an adviser and assistant to the director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Obama administration. Her credentials include speaking five languages, having visited more than 20 countries and being a member of the Jewish Community Center, Helping Hands, Spanish American Center of York, as well as the local Rotary Club in her hometown of York.
“Helping to flip Pennsylvania blue in 2020; creating a DNC-recognized Constituency Director program outreach to amplify and sustain outreach to Black, Latino, Hispanic and rural communities; working on solidifying programs for the APPI and LGBTQ+ communities, as well; mentoring candidates at all levels of campaigns; strengthening county parties.”
37. Samuel Chen
Principal Director, The Liddell Group
As head of the political strategy firm, The Liddell Group, Sam Chen has helped several county and municipal candidates get where they want to be. In addition to teaching political science at Northampton Community College, Chen hosts a television news show, "Face the Issues." He says he is able to integrate a “sabermetric-esque” approach to data, giving him a sociological and psychological understanding of communications. This makes him a go-to expert in the Lehigh Valley, an ever-important swing region in the commonwealth.
Kevin Dellicker, Gordon Denlinger, several county and municipal commissioners
“The Liddell Group takes pride in our innovative and interdisciplinary approach to strategy, the necessity for which took center stage amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Our ability to alter and, in some cases, reimagine the political process led our clients to clean sweeps on Election Night this past November.”
38. Tommy McDonald
Partner, The Win Company
Tommy McDonald has been a media consultant and lead strategist over some of the biggest Democratic victories in the commonwealth in recent years, including those for State Supreme Court in 2015 and county government in 2019. He and his team have been responsible for some of the biggest recent Democratic power gains in the commonwealth, including the 2019 push to win county seats in the Philadelphia suburbs.
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party, the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, Debbie Kunselman, Dan McCaffery, Ellen Ceisler, Carolyn Comitta, Marty Flynn, John Kane, Tim Kearney, Joe Ciresi, Liz Hanbidge, Leanne Krueger, Bridget Malloy Kosierowski, Jennifer O’Mara, Melissa Shusterman, Pam Snyder, Jared Solomon, Mary Gay Scanlon, SuperPAC for Andy Kim, Paige Cognetti
“I started cowriting jingles during the pandemic!”
39. Anne Wakabayashi
Media Strategist, The Win Company
Anne Wakabayashi cut her teeth working communications for the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Campaign Committee and has managed campaigns up and down the ballot from city council to state Supreme Court. With her help, Pennsylvania's LGBTQ organization, Equality Pennsylvania, raised funds throughout 2013. Other campaigns she ran were Anne Lazarus' for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Allan Domb's for Philadelphia City Council. In addition to Wakabayashi’s extensive campaign experience, she served as national political director for Emerge Pennsylvania.
John Kane, Paige Cognetti, Brian Sims, Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee, Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, Ashley Ehasz
“Out of State: Helping to elect the first queer Black woman (Crystal Hudson) to New York City Council. In State: Helping elect Mayor Paige Cognetti to her first full term in Scranton.”
40. Jessica Walls-Lavelle
President, JWL Strategies LLC
Before founding JWL Strategies, Jessica Walls-Lavelle served as the director of Gov. Tom Wolf’s southwest regional office and as a special advisor to the Pennsylvania Department of State's chief of staff during the implementation Act 77. As the founder and president of JWL Strategies, she brings nearly 20 years of experience in political consulting. More recently, Walls-Lavelle has worked with a number of the state’s leading progressive and social justice organizations on political and electoral strategies.
41. Obra Kernodle IV
Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Delaware River Port Authority
What do former President Barack Obama, Gov. Tom Wolf and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter all have in common? The three Democrats have all had Obra Kernodle on their respective campaigns – all of which were successful. Kernodle served as Obama’s Pennsylvania Southeast political director in 2012. He also worked as Wolf’s deputy campaign manager and political director, and went on to serve on Wolf’s transition team after his 2014 victory in the state’s gubernatorial race.
42. Nan McLaughlin
Founder & Principal, MJM Strategies
As the founder and principal of MJM Strategies, LLC, Nan McLaughlin is one of the most prominent GOP fundraisers in the commonwealth. Her nearly 30 years of experience in Pennsylvania politics includes a number of senior advisory roles for former governors Tom Ridge and Tom Corbett and U.S. Rep. Fred Keller. Her Harrisburg-based firm continues to provide nonprofit fundraising, strategic consulting and event planning services both statewide and nationally.
43. Michael Maguire
Legislative Director, AFSCME Council 13
Michael Maguire, whose father was president of United Auto Workers Local 834, was raised in a union household. Working with AFSCME Council 13, a public employee union representing more than 65,000 members, Maguire has served as the organization's legislative director since April 2019. He has assisted in initiatives to protect state, county and municipal employees’ rights to collectively bargain. Recently, he sat on the board of Keystone Research Center, a think tank in Harrisburg.
The AFSCME members and public service employees of Pennsylvania
“Working with AFSCME members to elect Joe Biden as President of the United States.”
44. Katie Conter
Political Consultant, McNees Strategic Solutions Group
At the full-service government affairs and consulting group, Katie Conter plays a critical role in developing McNees’ clients’ relationships in the public, private and nonprofit sectors in the commonwealth. Conter has been a consultant since 2008, focusing on Democratic campaigns at the local and state levels. In 2017, she started KC Strategies, and as president, she leads her firm’s general consulting, fundraising and event planning services. Her current clients include state Sen. Marty Flynn and state Reps. Brandon Markosek, Mike Schlossberg and Pete Schweyer.
Marty Flynn, Brandon Markosek, Mike Schlossberg Pete Schweyer
“I have been very lucky to work with the same passionate and hardworking elected officials since I began working in the political arena over 12 years ago. From their very first campaign, to re-election campaigns, to running for a higher office, my biggest accomplishment is having the honor to work with these elected officials and watch the difference they have made and continue to make for their districts and the state.”
45. Tim Butler
President, Communications Concepts
Tim Butler leads the Easton-based public relations and telecommunications consulting firm and has been providing services in local races in and around the Lehigh Valley since it was established in 2009. Butler previously worked at Precision Marketing and has worked for Republican campaigns, including for Northampton County Executive and County Council. More recently, Communications Concepts has contributed to Republican state lawmaker campaigns both locally and across the state, including state Reps. Ann Flood and Daryl Metcalfe, and state Sens. Patrick Browne and Kim Ward.
46. Jim Lee
President, CEO & Founder, Susquehanna Polling & Research, Inc. & The Bartlett Group
Jim Lee has conducted polling, research and focus groups for top-name clients for more than 20 years. In addition to Lee's on-air role as a political analyst, his research and polling are featured frequently in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, Fox News and MSNBC. In 2016, Lee’s firm acquired The Bartlett Group, an independent focus group specializing in qualitative research for consumers and political clientele.
The Federalist, Bryan Cutler, The State of Delaware, the National Newspaper Association, the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association, Lou Barletta for Governor, David G. Argall
“[Being] profiled on two different segments of CBS's ‘Inside Edition’ program in Oct/Nov 2021 for unmatched accuracy in its POTUS polling in five battleground states. SP&R received a B+ rating from FiveThirtyEight for its accurate polling in 2020 – the same grade given to Gallup.”
47. Gabby Richards
Account Supervisor, BerlinRosen
Gabby Richards is no stranger to helping Democratic candidates achieve success. She has helped recruit and train women to run for office as a member of Emerge PA and started Persist Strategies in 2017 to provide full-service communications services geared towards women. Richards served as U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon’s communications director and led the congresswoman's communications team during the COVID-19 pandemic and both impeachments of former President Donald Trump.
Mary Gay Scanlon, Katie Muth, Emerge PA, Represent PA PAC, New Georgia Project, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
“Gabby led the organization of over 500 congressional staffers in response to the violent Jan. 6 insurrections, co-authoring the staff letter to the Senate in support of impeachment and safer work conditions.”
48. Craig Snyder
President, Ikon Public Affairs
After serving as a former chief of staff to Pennsylvania’s longest-serving U.S. senator, Arlen Specter, Craig Snyder co-founded Ikon Public Affairs with Roger Stone in 1997. Now in its 25th year, Ikon has played a role in nearly every presidential campaign since 1996. Snyder has served as a senior strategist for numerous gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional campaigns throughout Pennsylvania. In 2021, Snyder was a candidate in the GOP race for U.S. Senate, and this year, he will be serving as state leader for the conservative Renew America Movement.
Renew America Movement
“Building off of five years of a national presence in the “Never Trump” wing of the Republican Party, Snyder’s 2021 political work was personal – conducting an exploratory campaign for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. That campaign ended late last year.”
49. Amanda DeMaria
Founder & Principal, DeMaria Consulting, LLC
Leading her own firm for more than five years now, Amanda DeMaria has a track record of fundraising and consulting for progressive candidates and organizations at the federal, state and local levels in the commonwealth. DeMaria’s previous experience includes time as policy and finance director for state Sen. Katie Muth’s successful 2018 campaign and as a finance director and consultant for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and several other city officials.
50. Brittany Smalls
Founder, BSM Strategies, LLC
The founder of her own political consulting firm, Brittany Smalls works at the cross section of consulting, communications, fundraising and voter engagement. Her consulting work focuses on Black and millennial communities, an area that builds off of her past experience working to boost political engagement and voter turnout among people of color. Smalls previously served as the Pennsylvania state coordinator for the Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute. She also was the president and a founding member of Millenials in Action.
“I am pleased to have been in support of a candidate elected to a statewide judicial seat.”
NEXT STORY: 2022 Above & Beyond Nominations