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September 19, 2006

Texas Consultants Power List Blends
New Names with Perennial Members

The Big 13 Top of the Class Top Primary Wins Top Newcomer

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

Collin County Judge Ron Harris seemed to be at a loss for an explanation when forced into a primary runoff while facing the first opposition he'd encountered in a bid for re-election in 16 years as the commissioner's court leader. Having been predicting a victory in the first round with a majority of the vote, the longtime Republican county leader was staggered when he failed in the April runoff to improve on his 37 percent showing in the March primary election. As a consultant for runoff opponent Keith Self, a former Green Beret who'd help plan the Iraq invasion, Kevin Brannon can take some of the credit for that.

Self - an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in 2002 - came from behind after opening fire on Harris' record while questioning his ties to special interests and his commitment to open government. Armed with endorsements from State Reps. Ken Paxton and Jodie Laubenberg, who's also a Brannon client, Self claimed 62 percent of the runoff vote in a victory that's one of several reasons his consultant vaulted from a tie for 20th in 2005 to fifth on the list of Republican hired guns on Capitol Inside's 3rd Annual Texas Political Consultants Power Rankings for 2006.

While Brannon pointed Self to a major upset in the suburbs north of Dallas, Democratic consultants James Aldrete, Kelly Fero and Jeff Hewitt were on a team at the other end of the state where they helped Juan de Dios "J.D." Salinas score a razor-thin primary victory over Democratic incumbent Ramon Garcia in the Hidalgo County judge's race. Salinas, who'd resigned his post as county clerk in order to take on Garcia, accused the incumbent of a dereliction of duties and a blatant disregard for the safety of families in the border county. Salinas won the primary with 50.3 percent of the vote - and that's one of many reasons the Austin consultants he had are crowning the list of hired guns who represent Democrats in this year's power rankings.

While the power rankings are based mostly on races on the state and federal levels, the county judge contests in Republican-rich Collin County north of Dallas and heavily-Democratic Hidalgo County about 500 miles to the south are significant because they reflect voter uneasiness and desire for change in two of the 20 fastest growing counties in the nation in areas that are dominated by opposing political parties at opposite ends of the state. The primary winners in the two county judge races are proof that candidates who aren't favored can still win if they can afford good help advice - especially if it's coming from any one of the campaign professionals who are members of the first Big 13 list of top Texas political consultants that CI has selected for the rankings in 2006. Brannon, Aldrete, Fero and Hewitt are all charter members of that elite list.

The power rankings for 2006 are divided into separate sections for Republican and Democrat hired gun consultants who are working for more than one client, consultants who specialize in a particular service such as direct mail or fundraising and campaign managers and other advisors who are working full-time for only one client. This year's package includes a special mention list of Texas consultants who are in unique situations that are harder to compartmentalize. The rankings reflect a mixture of veteran political strategists who've been rated highly in recent years and relative newcomers who are making the list for the first time or moving up on it in 2006. Three of the top 10 Republican hired guns were not ranked that high on last year's list - and two of the ten leading contract consultants for the GOP in Texas weren't even listed when the rankings were published one year ago. Two Democratic consultants who are ranked among their party's top 10 hired guns were ranked in the second ten in 2005 while five of the 20 Democrats on that particular list this year are making it for the first time.

Texas political consultants who are partners or high-ranking officers in the same firm are listed together as single entities this time around. Ten of the individual hired gun consultants and consulting firm teams were also named to a special top primary wins list for 2006. Two of those are honored for two separate victories each. Eight of the top 12 primary wins were recorded on the Republican side while Democrats claimed four.

The hired gun lists this year are limited to consultants who have their own practice or work for firms that are independent any of one client. The consultants in this category typically contract with multiple clients who share the same party affiliation with only occasional exceptions to that rule. Some of the consultants who appeared on the hired guns last year have been moved to a separate new category for specialists who focus on a single service such as direct mail, polling, media, research, phone banks, fundraising or graphics and printing. Eight of the top 10 specialist consultants work almost exclusively for Republicans while 14 of the top 20 are GOP members.

The power rankings for 2006 also include a separate listing for political professionals who are either campaign managers, full-time campaign staff advisors or independent consultants who are working for only one political client during the current election cycle. This year's package also features lists that rank consultants who are full-time employees on the staffs of elected officials in Texas or practicing their craft at the national level.

A final list features Texas consultants who don't fit into the other categories but are key players in more unique roles on the state political scene. One of the two top-ranked consultants on the special mention list, for example, is Matt Welch, a Republican strategist who'd been the Texans for Lawsuit Reform political director until opening his own shop earlier this year. Welch, who will continue to advise TLR while taking on new clients, represented candidates as a consultant in Houston after a stint on Phil Gramm's staff when he was a United States senator. Welch was instrumental in the development of the strategy that the GOP used to win its first Texas House majority in more than a century.

The inimitable HillCo Partners co-founded Bill Miller is tied for first place on the special mentions list. Miller is a lobbyist who advises corporate clients on the potential political benefits and repercussions of their actions and deeds. He's more likely to turn up in a special role like he did as a member of Tom Craddick's three-person transition team at the House speaker's office than he is as a consultant who's paid directly by a political campaign. Candidates don't try to hire Miller for direct mail, polling, media or other standard campaign functions, but he might be the first consultant a lawmaker calls if he or she is desperate for damage control after being arrested in the midst of an embarrassing indiscretion or something like that. Reporters love Miller because they can identify him as a consultant who's worked for both Republicans and Democrats - and he always has a lively quote that cuts to the heart of a matter in a way that few could say any better.

Reggie Bashur and Ray Sullivan - a pair of Republican consultants who've been press officers for governors and other high-ranking officials - are ranked fourth and fifth on this year's special mention list. While Sullivan and Bashur teamed with Governor Rick Perry's general consultant a few years ago to form an Austin consulting shop, they haven't been directly involved with many campaigns in Texas during the past few years. That's probably due in part to the successful lobby practices that they have established and other pursuits. One of Bashur's top two clients had been Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, but he didn't want to be on the opposite side in a fight with an incumbent Republican governor. So So Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs, who's favored to be the next state comptroller, has been Bashur's only campaign client on the state level for the past two years. The special mentions list has a total of 15 names on it this year.

The Big 13 list showcases the top dozen hired gun consultants from both parties as selected by CI with less than two months to go before the November 7 general election. Nine Big 13 members are Republicans while four are consultants for Democrats. Republican consultants fare much better as a group for a number of reasons including the fact that they have the opportunity to compete for work from statewide candidates with hefty war chests while most of the Democrats at or near the top of the ticket are broke. At the same time, the GOP's candidates for the Legislature receive sizeable contributions from donors such as Houston home builder Bob Perry, San Antonio businessman James Leininger and other big-giving Republicans who make it possible to spend more on professional consulting. While Democrats duked it out in some heated primary races in Houston, Austin and other places in Texas this year, the funds spent on those contests can't compare to the massive amount of money that Leininger alone poured into primary fights against targeted House Republicans who were forced to spend more on their campaigns as a result.


THE BIG 13
Alphabetical Order

James Aldrete
Message Audience & Presentation

Democrat
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 2nd
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 2nd

The Wall Street Journal picked two Texas political pros ten years ago for profiles on consultants who appeared to have bright futures in the business. One was Karl Rove. The other was James Aldrete. While Rove went on to become the world's most famous political advisor, Aldrete has enjoyed his share of national attention as one of the foremost experts on the Hispanic vote and the increasing impact it's having on American politics. More awards may be in store for Aldrete and his firm Message Audience & Presentation as a result of work this year on State Rep. Carlos Uresti's primary campaign that knocked veteran lawmaker Frank Madla out of the Texas Senate. The Travis County Democratic Party hired him to produce a direct mail blitz for Donna Howard in a special election earlier this year - and MAP's mail pieces played a significant part in the Democrat's victory against a heavily favored Republican runoff foe. Aldrete is hoping for similar success as the chief general election consultant for Joe Farias of San Antonio and Valinda Bolton of Austin in their quests for open Texas House seats - and he's also trying to help Harriet Miller wrestle a state House seat away from the GOP in her bid to unseat State Rep. Tony Goolsby of Dallas. The races featuring Miller and Bolton are considered to be two of the Democrats' three or four best opportunities to pick up House seats in this year's vote. Aldrete will also be advising State Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio on how to defend his House seat against a formidable Republican challenger. One of his top victories came on the local level when J.D. Salinas ousted an incumbent in the Hidalgo County judge's race. Of the few races that Aldrete clients didn't win this year, the most painful defeat this year probably came when Ciro Rodriguez came up short in a rematch against U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar. Aldrete has other clients around the nation - and he has help from trusted assistants such as Charlie Gustin at the Austin-based consulting shop to handle this full plate of business.

Christian Archer
The Archer Group
Democrat
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 9th
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 4th

Some people thought it took quite a bit of audacity for San Antonio to be making a play for the New Orleans Saints when the NFL team was temporarily homeless after its stadium had been converted into a hurricane emergency center. But pro football is a business subject to the forces of supply and demand and flooding now and then. Christian Archer was the point person for Alamo City Mayor Phil Hardberger on that. Archer - a Democratic consultant who emerged on the Texas political scene a few years ago when he was still in his twenties - has been a player in races on the federal, state and local races in Texas with clients such as U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett when he bucked Tom DeLay and the Republican redistricting team and won a congressional seat in a new district that they'd carved for Hispanics in hopes that it would mitigate potential problems elsewhere in the state. Teaming with former partner Mark Nathan, Archer helped Bill White and Will Wynn win mayoral races in Houston and Austin respectively en route to his current station now as Hardberger's chief political advisor. Archer has been given a significant amount of credit for Hardberger's victory over strong opposition last year - and he's been the mayor's go-to guy on special initiatives like bringing pro football to town or recruiting a new city manager like the one SA hired from Phoenix with the mayor's support. Archer has other clients such as Juan Garcia, who's waging a high-intensity campaign to unseat Republican State Rep. Gene Seaman in a district anchored by Corpus Christi. Archer had a hand in Carlos Uresti's primary victory over veteran state Senator Frank Madla and a role in the Democrats' state House challenger effort two years ago. One of those former challengers, State Rep. David Leibowitz, has turned to Archer again in 2006 for his first re-election campaign after wrestling a San Antonio seat from a Republican incumbent in 2004.

Allen Blakemore, Elizabeth Blakemore
Blakemore & Associates
Republican
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 3th
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 5th

A Texas Tech Red Raider, Allen Blakemore kept an eye on West Texas for U.S. Senators John Tower and Phil Gramm before working his way to Houston where he's been the busiest Republican consultant in town in recent years. Working in tandem with veteran GOP fundraiser Elizabeth Blakemore, who happens to be his wife, Blakemore has been the consultant that conservative groups, tort reform advocates, police unions, corporate leaders, GOP leaders and dozens of candidates for jobs at the local, state and federal levels have turned to each election cycle for guidance in the political trenches of the state's largest city. In the last election cycle, Blakemore represented more than a half dozen state legislators from Houston and other areas, a handful of statewide officials and more than a dozen candidates for local posts including Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, Tax-Assessor Collector Paul Bettencourt and District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal. Blakemore's clients during that time included a long list of judges and candidates for the bench as well as elected GOP leaders and several contenders for Congress in Texas and other states. This time around Blakemore's helping John Zerwas and Jim Murphy in their respective bids for open state House seats in the Houston area - and both are favored after primary victories in the face of significant opposition. Blakemore watched a big one get away this year when State Rep. Joe Nixon and several other high-profile Republican candidates ran into a buzzsaw named Dan Patrick in a primary battle for an open Houston state Senate seat. But Patrick had an insurmountable advantage as a popular radio talk show host - and Karl Rove himself couldn't have found a way to bring him down on his greatest day. Blakemore has been associated often with conservative Republican local leader Steve Hotze, but he's been in demand among GOP moderates as well. Elizabeth Blakemore gives the firm an added dimension as the top Republican fundraiser in Houston for more than 20 years. A former deputy director at the state Republican Party, she helped the GOP get on a winning track in the 1980s with the election of the so-called Texas Six Pack of candidates that included Tom DeLay. She's raised campaign cash for legislative contenders and statewide candidates such as David Dewhurst and Gregg Abbott - and her fundraising talents have been in demand by PACs and other organizations like the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The Blakemores' business has grown steadily each election cycle - and that's a sure sign of success - especially when the majority of the clients are winning.

Kevin Brannon
Brannon and Company
Republican
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 5th
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 20th

The investigation into the Texans for a Republican Majority didn't kill Kevin Brannon - and now he appears to be doing just fine if not stronger than ever as the premier political consultant in the suburban Republican hotbed north of Dallas. A former aide to U.S. Senator Phil Gramm, Brannon was hired to help TRMPAC decide which candidates to support for legislative races in 2002. While the Allen-based consultant's name came up repeatedly in the publicity over the probe, none of the grand juries that indicted Tom DeLay and other advisors ever accused Brannon of breaking the law. Four years after the TRMPAC stint, Brannon is coming off a good spring highlighted by the Collin County judge race win and a 47-vote victory that client Tan Parker posted in a GOP primary runoff for a Denton County state House seat that State Rep. Mary Denny decided to give up at the end of the year. Brannon is the general consultant in two of the top races that Republicans have targeted for potential House gains with Larry Durrett of Jacksonville and Jim Landtroop of Plainview as clients on opposite sides of the state. A recent survey by Governor Rick Perry's pollster showed Landtroop with twice as much support as his Democratic opponent in the battle for the seat that Pete Laney holds until he retires from the House later this year. Durrett's race against Democratic State Rep. Chuck Hopson is rated as one of the two hottest Texas House contests in this year's general election campaigns. Three other Brannon clients - State Reps. Jodie Laubenberg and Bill Zedler and U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson - are heavily favored over Democratic fall foes while State Rep. Phil King - another client - has only a Libertarian to overcome on the road to re-election this year. Brannon was enlisted two years ago by the Texans for Lawsuit Reform to advise Pete Snow of Texarkana on his race against Stephen Frost - and he helps others including U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams and the National Republican Congressional Committee raise political cash.

Ted Delisi
Delisi Communications
Republican
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 8th
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 4th

Ted Delisi is one of the few political consultants who could survive a disaster like Ben Bentzin. The anointed Republican from Austin had almost a million dollars, the GOP establishment, the predecessor's help and Governor Rick Perry's endorsement for a special state House election earlier this year. Despite a wealth of advantages, Bentzin still managed to get clobbered by Donna Howard, who won 58 percent of the runoff vote in a district where the GOP's statewide candidates had claimed 59 percent three years before. Bentzin also had Delisi - a key member of Team Perry - and many Republicans blame him for the loss and its lopsided nature. But that might not be entirely fair. It wasn't Delisi's fault that Howard was a superior candidate with strong education credentials, a more established network of supporters and the coattails of a backlash against Republicans that's being seen all over the country this year. There wasn't much Delisi could do to stop a local newspaper story that tied his client to a TRMPAC consultant. Republicans could manipulate the timing of the special election all they wanted, but the timing was still terrible and the results one-sided enough to prompt Bentzin to cancel a rematch this fall. A month later, Delisi clients Lorraine O'Donnell in El Paso and Peggy Hamric in Houston lost primary bids for state House and Senate seats respectively. But Delisi helped O'Donnell get within 105 votes of a 17-year incumbent - and no consultant could have kept Hamric or any other candidate from getting steamrolled by the Rush Limbaugh of Texas, Dan Patrick. Delisi has certain things going for him that will ensure his station among the political consulting elite in the state - and despite the early setbacks - he will emerge from 2006 with another winning record with clients such as Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas House candidate Brandon Creighton and Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs, who's running for comptroller, this fall. Delisi's star candidate, of course, is Perry, who pays him to handle his campaign's direct mail. A former John Cornyn spokesman who bought a piece of Karl Rove's direct mail business when Rove headed to Washington, Delisi is blessed with the kind of charisma, institutional savvy and gift of anticipation that will make him a more successful consultant in the long run as a result of the Bentzin fiasco rather than a casualty in its wake. Plus, he has a mother who's a highly effective and popular state legislator and a wife who happens to be the governor's chief of staff and former campaign manager. Your name better be Bush if you hope to have better connections than that.

Bryan Eppstein
The Eppstein Group
Republican
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 1st
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 1st

Friends, enemies, allies and rivals all seem to think that this Fort Worth consultant has been operating in a low gear on cruise control for the past few years. Eppstein even hints that it's true - to a certain extent. But Eppstein's client portfolio and the races he's been playing in so far in 2006 do little to confirm the taking it easy theory on the consultant and lobbyist who's ranked number one in his field on the hired gun list for the third consecutive year. Republican State Reps. Pat Haggerty of El Paso, Charlie Geren of Fort Worth and Tommy Merritt of Longview fared much better with Eppstein's help this year than three primary challengers did with Jim Leininger's money. Eppstein helped State Rep. David Swinford of Dumas escape an attack from educators on the left in the March election before guiding Abilene School Board President Susan King to a runoff victory against an opponent who was positioned well to her right with the support of tort reform proponents and school vouchers advocates. Eppstein actually had planned to chill some after the first round before stepping in to help King after her previous consultant, Bill Tryon, took a turn for the worse in a battle against cancer and died before the primary election. Eppstein had been Tryon's mentor - and that explains why he was one of the top political consultants in Texas as well when he was alive. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison may win big in November, but the fact that she has Eppstein on her team again is proof that she's taking her Democratic foe quite seriously even though she's a prohibitive favorite to win another term. Eppstein suffered a rare setback when State Rep. Elvira Reyna of Mesquite lost her bid for re-election in a primary battle with another challenger backed by education professionals who tend to like most of the other clients he represents. But his won-loss ratio is still in a league of its own. Whether Eppstein's going full steam ahead or sleep walking, his standing as the top Republican hired gun consultant in Texas has really never been safer.

Kelly Fero, Jeff Hewitt
Fero Hewitt Global
Democrat
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 1st
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 1st

Some of Governor Rick Perry's top staff and supporters didn't cotton to the idea of Kelly Fero being a source of advice for the special tax reform commission that made recommendations to the Texas Legislature on a new business tax. The Democratic political consultant had been gunning for Perry long before he became governor. But when you tap former Comptroller John Sharp to lead a commission like that, you get Fero's wisdom along with it - like it or not. While leading the Texas Democratic Party for two years, Charles Soechting might have depended on Fero for guidance as much or more than Sharp has over the years. Some trial lawyers who clashed with Soechting while he was chairman apparently still blame the consultant for that. Some freshmen state lawmakers who knocked off incumbents or won open seats two years ago as part of an effort that Fero coordinated for the state party appear to feel the same as Sharp and Soechting about the political strategist who broke into the business about 20 years ago after careers as a rock band leader and newspaper reporter. State Reps. Hubert Vo, David Leibowitz and Mark Strama were part of the 2004 challenger team and have turned to the firm run by Fero and his new partner, former Bill Clinton fundraiser Jeff Hewitt, for help in their first re-election bids this year. Challengers such as Harriet Miller of Dallas and Juan Garcia of Corpus Christi have sought the advice of Fero and Hewitt as they take aim at Republican State Reps. Tony Goolsby and Gene Seaman respectively in high-profile contests this fall for seats that Democrats rank high on their list of targets that are winnable. Solomon Ortiz Jr. called Fero and Hewitt for help after precinct chairs picked him as the Democratic nominee for another Corpus Christi state House seat that's came open unexpectedly in August. Fero Hewitt Global helped Donna Howard post a commanding victory over a deep-pockets Republican who'd been a big favorite in a special state House election in Austin in the consulting firm's first collaboration of 2006. The two consultants couldn't have imagined a better start than that for their new business if they'd brainstormed all day. Fero and Hewitt also helped State Rep. Carlos Uresti overthrow a veteran state senator in the primary election - and they were among the first people who Lukin Gilliland called for advice before entering a special election battle for Congress. In those races and others, clients have been able to take advantage of Fero's expertise on communications and strategy while having the benefits of Hewitt's talents in the fundraising, media and campaign fields. They have clients in Mexico, the Caribbean and South American while representing political party organizations and contenders for the U.S. House and Senate and statewide offices in more than a dozen other states.

Jason Johnson
J2 Strategies
Republican
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 9th
2005 Hired Gun Rank: NR

Jason Johnson enjoyed a successful spring when he helped Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett escape an ambush with a March primary victory over ex-high court member Steve Smith with less than 51 percent of the vote - and the cause for the most celebration came when Robert Nichols defied most Austin assumptions and won the Republican nomination for an open Texas Senate seat in East Texas with 54 percent support against three formidable foes who were all well-armed businessmen. Nichols took a lead he would never relinquish after the outgoing occupant - Agriculture Commissioner candidate Todd Staples - endorsed his campaign. Staples and Nichols have something in common besides the fact that they're both East Texas Republicans with political ambitions. Both have been clients of Johnson's Austin-based consulting firm, J2 Strategies. While Nichols was celebrating his first round victory in the Senate contest, Johnson spent part of March and April helping Larry Durrett battle a GOP contender who had support from trial lawyers for the nomination to a seat in an overlapping state House district that Democrat Chuck Hopson currently represents. Durrett won the runoff with 60 percent of the vote thanks in part to an endorsement from Staples and the roadmap to victory that Johnson plotted. A former Staples communications director who went on to become Attorney General Greg Abbott's chief of staff, Johnson still advises the state's top civil lawyer as a consultant for his campaign. With a handful of primary victories and only one loss suffered when client Alex Castano lost to Bill Welch in an open House race in Austin, Johnson was on a roll when he signed on as the treasurer and executive director for a new organization that San Antonio physician and businessman James Leininger is funding called the Texans for School Choice PAC. The call from Leininger about an effort involving his highest political priority - school vouchers - was a clear sign that Johnson's stock is on the rise and will likely go up more.

Court Koenning
Koenning Consulting
Republican
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 7th
2005 Hired Gun Rank: NR

Court Koenning barely had time to get his new business cards printed up between the time he left his post as the Harris County Republican Party's executive director in the spring of 2005 and hopped on the Dan Patrick bandwagon when it was pulling out of the gate a few months later. While other Republican insiders were skeptical, Koenning seemed to never have a doubt that Patrick would win a Republican primary battle for an open state Senate seat in the northwest Houston area. Once Patrick decided to run, Koenning wasted no time joining the team after giving up a job he'd landed as general consultant to another candidate in the same Texas Senate race. It was a nice way to start a new business that Koenning had just opened. By the time the primary rolled around, Koenning had long been predicting that Patrick would not only beat three well-armed foes at the polls but that he would not need a runoff to do it. Instead of trying to harness the wildly outspoken radio personality whose commentary at times made Limbaugh seem staid, Koenning let his client be himself with limited restraint and had a last laugh when Patrick swamped the field with 69 percent of the primary vote. Koenning followed up the astonishing win with a quick loss when he tried to help Mike Schofield in a runoff against Jim Murphy for an open state House seat. Now Koenning is trying to help Talmadge Heflin figure out a way to get his west Houston state House seat back from Democrat Hubert Vo in the general election two years after losing it to him. Koenning, who broke into the business as a Blakemore employee, could be on the verge of becoming his former mentor's top competition in the city where they work and live. Like Blakemore, Koenning's wife works at his firm as a fundraiser and will be doing that this fall for Heflin.

Dan McClung, Robert Jara
Campaign Strategies
Democrat
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 3rd
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 3rd

For the past three decades, Dan McClung has been helping elect Democrats at every level of government. This year McClung played a key role in a victory at the courthouse as well. McClung's testimony in federal court helped seal the Democrats' case in their successful bid to prevent the GOP from replacing Tom DeLay on the ballot for the congressional seat he gave up in June. McClung is not only the preeminent strategist for Democrats in the state's largest city, but he's also the Texas consultant that trial lawyers have teamed with for collaborations funded by the Texans for Insurance Reform and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. Campaign Strategies - a firm that includes McClung and veteran strategist Robert Jara - handled mail, media, phones, research and general consulting for more than a half-dozen candidates that the trial lawyers backed including Borris Miles in his successful bid to oust longtime State Rep. Al Edwards in a primary runoff. McClung switched to Miles after his initial client in that race failed to make the runoff. Campaign Strategies helped point State Reps. Dora Olivo and Richard Raymond to primary wins in competitive races with trial lawyer money - and he did the same with Allen Vaught to set up a general election battle with Republican State Rep. Bill Keffer. The trial lawyers also paid the firm to play across the aisle as well to help Republican candidates compete against two incumbents and compete for an open seat in this year's primary. Campaign Strategies is focused now on several of the hottest Texas House battles this fall with clients such as State Reps. Hubert Vo of Houston, Jim McReynolds of Lufkin and David Farabee of Wichita Falls seeking re-election in the face of tough opposition. McClung's company is also the general consultant on Ellen Cohen's campaign as she sets her sights on Republican State Rep. Martha Wong in a race that represents the Democrats' best opportunity to pick up a seat from the GOP this fall.

Craig Murphy
Murphy Turner & Associates
Republican
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 4th
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 9th

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton was an ordinary member of the minority party in Congress when Craig Murphy joined him as a communications advisor and campaign strategist 17 years ago. By the time Murphy founded an Arlington consulting firm known as Murphy Turner & Associates in 1998, the GOP had taken over as the majority and Barton appeared to be on the way up. But even then there was no way to know that the Ennis Republican would become one of the ten most powerful members of Congress and be one of the best references a consultant in Texas could hope to have as the House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman. Barton is still a top client - and now with Wayne Hamilton as a partner in a separate firm called San Jacinto Public Affairs - Murphy has another good gig as the direct mail consultant for the Republican Party of Texas. Hamilton, who's also a former Barton adie, was the state GOP's executive director while Susan Weddington was running the party organization as its chair. He held the job longer than any of his predecessors until starting the private firm in 2003. Murphy's associate Chris Turner is also a principal in the venture with Hamilton. Murphy Turner also has devoted substantial time in recent years to races for the Texas Legislature, winning far more than it's lost along the way. Murphy had mixed results early on in 2006 - losing one as the consultant in charge of direct mail for Ben Bentzin in a special Austin state House election and winning another in an all-purpose role for Kirk England in his winning bid in a special election for the seat that a former client, ex-House member Ray Allen, decided to give up before his term expired. Murphy handled advertising and public relations for Kelly Hancock as he avoided a primary runoff with 54 percent of the March vote against three Republican opponents in a Fort Worth area House race - and he managed a phone bank effort for state Senate primary winner Robert Nichols in East Texas. Murphy's been helping some Texas House incumbents as well including Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, who lives in the district that Barton represents. Murphy came up short when Highland Village Mayor Bill Lawrence failed to make the runoff in a primary battle for an open House seat, but the toughest loss to take might have been as the direct mail consultant for Public Education Committee Chairman Kent Grusendorf when he lost his bid for re-election with a stinging primary defeat. There were other factors in that race that may have been tough for any consultant to overcome.

Jeff Norwood
Anthem Media
Republican
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 6th
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 12th

While elected officials often become lobbyists when they no longer work for the voters, Jeff Norwood is one of the few Texas political consultants who's actually been a candidate in a race for public office. Norwood established his conservative credentials as the Midland County judge for several years in the 1990s - and after emerging in recent years as a top GOP media strategist - he had a golden opportunity to reinforce them when James Leininger hired him to help a handful of state House challengers who'd been recruited to run against Republican incumbents who'd voted with Democrats on school vouchers and other issues. Norwood's firm, Anthem Media, served as an all-purpose consultant for former House member Wayne Christian and four rookie contenders in Nathan Macias, Van Wilson, Mark Williams and Chris Hatley with money that Leininger routed through the Texas Republican Legislative Campaign Committee. Leininger's team didn't come that close against targeted State Reps. Delwin Jones of Lubbock, Charlie Geren of Fort Worth and Tommy Merritt of Longview. But Norwood's hard-hitting media, which led to a slander suit against Williams, helped Macias bring down State Rep. Carter Casteel of New Braunfels despite Austin assumptions that she was safe. Norwood posted a second win in the targeting effort when Christian knocked off his successor, State Rep. Roy Blake Jr. in an East Texas contest. Now Norwood is back to battling Democrats as he helps State Rep. Gene Seaman of Corpus Christi defend his seat against a Democrat while advising former Jacksonville Mayor Larry Durrett on how to beat a Democratic incumbent. Anthem Media also has a part in Jim Landtroop's campaign for an open West Texas seat that ex-House Speaker Pete Laney's giving up. Despite the association with Leininger, Norwood earned a trip to the woodshed from tort reform advocates when he took on trial lawyer David Showalter as a client in a GOP primary race for an state House seat near Houston.

Todd Smith
Todd Smith & Associates
Republican
2006 Hired Gun Rank: 2nd
2005 Hired Gun Rank: 3rd

One of the consultants that Republican power brokers often go to in crunches, Todd Smith helped State Rep. Glenn Hegar all but win an open state Senate seat before he ever formally announced that he was a candidate for it. In a classic demonstration of how to clear a field for a campaign, the second-term House member from the Houston suburb of Katy hit the ground running at a Carl Lewis pace almost immediately after Ken Armbrister's Christmas holiday announcement that he wouldn't be back. By the time the other major potential contenders had time to finish the eggnog and unwrap some presents, Hegar was already rounding up key endorsements and well down the road to being the candidate to beat for the GOP nomination in a district that's grown decidedly Republican. Smith was instrumental in that particular effort and others - including State Rep. Betty Brown's primary win in the face of double-barrel opposition from both trial lawyers and educators who had a formidable moderate to rally behind in the Northeast Texas contest. A former State Republican Executive Committee member who was the original House Conservative Caucus executive director, Smith has been the consultant for a long list of clients who've turned D seats to R's - and there's not a better gauge of success in the political consulting business than that. Smith has a reputation for taking care of his top clients on a year-round basis - not just when somebody files to run against them when an election year nears. .He advises them during legislative sessions on potential political repurcussions their votes and positions will have - and the proactive approach reduces the chances that their votes will come back to haunt them when the campaigning begins. It's no coincidence that some of the candidates he represents such as State Rep. Larry Taylor drew no major party opposition on the path to re-election this year. The odds of that happening go up when lawmakers are getting good advice. Smith lost a couple of primary races when clients like Bob Reeves and Steve Salyer were underdogs from the beginning, but he's not afraid to take on candidates who are behind when time's running short in the heat of campaigns. And he's usually in big demand by the powers that be about this time every election year.

TOP 12 TEXAS PRIMARY VICTORIES IN 2006

TEXAS CONSULTANTS
TOP PRIMARY WINS 2006

PRIMARY CLIENT
POLITICAL PARTY
BATTLEGROUND
JOB SEEKING
1
Court Koenning
Houston
Dan Patrick
Republican
Houston
TX Senate
2
R. Allyn, B. Mayes
Dallas
Diane Patrick
Republican
Arlington
TX House
3
K. Fero, J. Hewitt
Austin
Donna Howard
Democrat
Austin
TX House
4
James Aldrete
Austin
Carlos Uresti
Democrat
SA-El Paso
TX Senate
5
Todd Smith
Austin
Glenn Hegar
Republican
SE Texas
TX Senate
6
Jason Johnson
Austin
Robert Nichols
Republican
East Texas
TX Senate
7
Brian Eppstein
Fort Worth
Susan King
Republican
Abilene
TX House
8
Jeff Norwood
Austin
Nathan Macias
Republican
Hill Country
TX House
9
Kevin Brannon
Allen
Keith Self
Republican
Collin Co.
Judge
10
D. McClung, R. Jara
Houston
Borris Miles
Democrat
Houston
TX House
11
Brian Eppstein
Fort Worth
Pat Haggerty
Republican
El Paso
TX House
12
J. Aldrete, K. Fero
J. Hewitt - Austin
J.D. Salinas
Democrat
Hidalgo Co.
Judge

TWO CATEGORY CONSULTANTS
Consultants Ranked on Two Lists or More

Rob Allyn, Brian Mayes
Allyn & Company
Top Republican Hired Guns: 10th
Consultants on National Stage: 6th

Rob Allyn has attracted rock star coverage in Mexico since helping Vicente Fox become the first president elected from an opposition party in almost 100 years. The Mexican government even hired Allyn's Dallas-based firm earlier this for an image overhaul as immigration gained steam as an issue. Allyn has advised top officials in Asia - and he even managed Dumarsais "Dumas" Siméus' campaign for president in Haiti. Most Allyn clients have R's by their name. One exception to that trend is Dallas Mayor Laura Miller - and another is her husband, former Texas House member Steve Wolens. State Rep. Rafael Anchia is yet another. Allyn didn't help his standing in the GOP when he signed on as the consultant for the Save Texas Courts PAC that opposed medical malpractice limits three years ago. While Allyn's landed business since that time from a few conservatives such as former Tarrant County GOP Chair Pat Carlson, who lost a state House bid in the primary election this year, other clients such as Diane Patrick and Anette Carlisle have been viewed by some staunch Republicans as Democrats in disguise. Republican primary voters in Arlington this year were not as judgmental about Patrick, a former school board president who won the nomination in a state House race by defeating Public Education Committee Chairman Kent Grusendorf with 58 percent. Brian Mayes, the vice president for public affairs at Allyn's firm, appeared to do the heavy lifting on the Patrick campaign and on Carlisle's unsuccessful bid to unseat State Rep. David Swinford. Carlisle, the Amarillo School Board president, and Patrick were both Texas Parent PAC candidates. The March victories by Diane Patrick in the House battle and Dan Patrick in a House state Senate race rank as the top two wins of the primary season. Allyn's firm has a sure thing in November with State Rep. Fred Hill of Richardson as a client who faces no major party opposition. It won't be that easy, however, with another local client, State Rep. Tony Goolsby, who's locked in a heated battle with a Democratic opponent in his bid for re-election.

Todd Olsen
Olsen & Shuvalov

Top Specialist Consultants: 2nd
Consultants on National Stage: 7th

Todd Olsen worked for the direct mail house in Austin known as Karl Rove + Company as the executive vice president before he and Ted Delisi bought the place and landed the Bush/Cheney campaign right off the bat as one of their initial clients as the new owners. Olsen must have had to put in some pretty long hours at first because Delisi kept his job as communications director for John Cornyn in the attorney general's office. Rarely had a state employee done so well moonlighting. But Delisi moved on - and Olsen moved up - and by the end of 2004 the firm had been paid more than $8 million by the Bush campaign to oversee its direct mail push. Olsen would also qualify as a hired gun Republican strategist on the CI lists - having found time for a few jobs in Texas since the White House race as an all-purpose consultant for candidates such as Texas House hopeful Rich Phillips and Texas Supreme Court Judge Phil Johnson in the current election cycle. Johnson was unopposed in the primary and has only a Libertarian to deal with in the general election. Phillips failed to make a primary runoff for an open state House seat. Olsen reportedly parted ways with another client on the federal level - U.S. Rep. Katerine Harris of Florida. Olsen also did a clever advertising piece that played off the name of a client - Lee Parsley - but the 3rd Court of Appeals contender still finished fourth in a field of four in the first round of the primary. No consultant likes to lose any races. But when you've had Bush/Cheney as a client along with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole and countless others on the state and national levelsin recent years, there's no reason to sweat the small stuff.

Rob Johnson
Dewhurst Committee

Top Single-Client Campaign Consultants: 5th
Full-Time Government Staff Advisors: 4th

They were probably still carding Rob Johnson at restaurants that had bars when he went to work for David Dewhurst back when he was the Texas land commissioner with ambitions to be a U.S. Senator or lieutenant governor at least. But while Johnson may be younger than most of the other top-level aides to political leaders and high-powered campaign strategists, he wields as much or more clout as the vast majority of them. A product of a national Republican farm system that's sent quite a few young pros to Texas for experience on the ranch, Johnson has enormous sway with Dewhurst operations at the Capitol and the campaign. He's second in command on the lieutenant governor's staff, but the lion's share of the power he enjoys may come more from being one of three or four members of a Dewhurst campaign brain trust that's almost impossible to get in. Johnson served as campaign manager for Dewhurst's race against John Sharp for lieutenant governor in 2002 when the Democrat had all the business lobby endorsements and was the favorite to win. But that was back before the Austin political scene had been properly introduced to Dewhurst - and those who know him now won't be betting against him much as a candidate as long as he's around. He can probably thank Johnson quite a bit for that. Bob Bullock had a reputation for hiring the best and brightest to work for him in the lieutenant governor's office and the comptroller's shop before that. Dewhurst is doing that now.


TOP OF THE CLASS
Division Leaders

SPECIALIST CONSULTANTS

Mike Baselice
Baselice & Associates
Governor Rick Perry was a Democratic state representative when Mike Baselice had a hand in the development of the vaunted Optimal Republican Voting Strength that Republicans began using to target potentially winnable House districts like the one that included Haskell, Texas. Baselice was doing opposition research for the National Republican Congressional Committee when Perry was seeking re-election and doubling as Al Gore's state chairman when the older George Bush was the enemy in 1988. Baselice was working for pollster Lance Tarrance by the time Perry switched horses in 1989 and launched a bid for farm chief - and he started his own firm a year before the agriculture commissioner won the lieutenant governor's race. Having emerged as the leading Republican pollster in Texas since Perry's been governor, Baselice has gone into the field for dozens of candidates at the state and federal levels and most of them have won. But no matter how many campaigns he's calling voters for, Baselice is the governor's pollster first and foremost. Baselice has a reputation for hitting the bulls eye or coming close on polls for Perry and others like he did in 2002. You seldom hear about the times that the firms he's been with have missed - like when Tarrance polls showed Kent Hance as the candidate to beat in 1990 for the nomination for governor with three times more support than Claytie Williams. Of course, Perry trailed Jim Hightower up until the time he beat him, but he didn't have to worry about ORVS anymore that year.

CAMPAIGN MANAGERS &
Single Client Consultants

Kevin Moomaw
Dewhurst Committee
A former state GOP strategist who'd worked for U.S. Senator John Tower and coordinated both Bush-Quayle campaigns in Texas, Kevin Moomaw signed on with Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst's campaign after a stint as executive director of the New Mexico Republican Party came to an end five years ago. With Moomaw on board, the first-term Senate president has been raising money for other candidates, cultivating relationships and doing his part to help build the party. During the state party stint in the 1980s, Moomaw was overseeing the implementation a whole new approach to Texas House campaigns about the same time Karl Rove began lining up candidates for a direct mail business - and in the midst of their efforts with help from other key believers a juggernaut was born. Both of those consultants were close to the young George Bush after working for the father, but W. was gone by the time Moomaw returned from the Southern Rockies and arrived back in Austin. Dewhurst, on the other hand, was like a new kid on the block who was still a work in progress with vast
potential that the consultant had the instincts and experience to detect when some others were dismissing him as a lightweight with money. They were right about the money part. But the governor's race four years ago showed that all the money in the world for a campaign isn't worth much if it isn't spent right - and the Dewhurst Committee thinks in terms of return on investment more than simply outspending everyone in sight just because the boss has more in the bank. Moomaw brings to the table an institutional knowledge of Texas politics that makes knowing when to be proactive and how to react all second nature to him at this stage of his career - and that breeds confidence that helps makes Dewhurst feel a little more secure. A native of Belton in Central Texas, Moomaw is now one of about three or four members of a campaign brain trust to which the lieutenant governor has conferred the fate of his higher aspirations - and it appears that the Dewhurst Committee is doing all the right things to set the stage for a race for governor or U.S. senator and maybe something even better if it should ever be in reach.

FULL-TIME GOVERNMENT
Staff Advisors

Deirdre Delisi
Governor Rick Perry
She's not the press secretary - but Deirdre Delisi has done some of the same things for Governor Rick Perry that Karen Hughes did for the previous governor who eventually hired her to work at the White House. As chief of staff for the past two years, Delisi has done a good job of keeping Perry's work as governor in sync with his campaign for re-election while steering him away from the potential for the kind of self-inflicted problems that had been distractions on both the political and policy-making side of the business in earlier years. The governor's office is less abrasive and employs more finesse - and it thinks more in terms of how its actions and policies will affect image. While Perry may be vulnerable to a national GOP backlash that's out of his control as the governor of Texas, he's making fewer mistakes and accomplishing more as evidenced by a successful special session on school finance this spring. While the appointment of John Sharp to the special tax commission was a truly deft stroke, the governor's office is still quite partisan - and that can be an obstacle to coalition-building - which could come in handy at a time when Republican fortunes seem to be down nationwide. It's no coincidence that the chief of staff is a partisan Republican, too. But that's what she was supposed to be from the beginning. Delisi had been an aide to state Senator Bill Ratliff when she signed on as the research director for Perry's race for lieutenant governor in 1998. She was a special assistant at the Capitol when Perry was the Senate president and a Bush/Cheney campaign policy advisor before managing the 2002 with one dollar for every three the Democratic opponent would spend. Perry promoted her to the current post two years after that when Mike Toomey returned to the lobby. For a guy who's careful about who he trusts, Perry obviously believes in Deirdre Delisi - and she's as fiercely loyal as it comes.

TEXAS CONSULTANTS
On the National Stage

Scott Howell
Scott Howell & Company
Forget about Karl Rove and the Bush bunch for a minute and take a look at the hottest and most successful Texas consultant on the national scene outside the Iron Triangle. Howell, a Dallas-based media consultant who's on Kay Bailey Hutchison's re-election team this year, is involved in a number of other high-profile races including the bid for re-election by U.S. Senator Jim Talent of Missouri and a Detroit-area sheriff's campaign to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Two years ago Howell helped John Thune oust Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota after doing the media for Saxby Chambliss when he beat U.S. Senator Max Cleland of Georgia in 2002. Democrats branded a commercial that Howell produced in a race against a death penalty advocate in last year's Virginia governor's race as "the Hitler ad," and they called on U.S. Senator George Allen of Virgina to fire Howell from his re-election campaign this year as soon as they learned that he'd hired him again. Howell started out as a candidate for a South Carolina state House seat that he almost won - and after a stint at the RNC under Lee Atwater - he moved to Texas to work for Rove in the early 1990s. He opened his own firm in Alabama in 1993 and moved it to Dallas a couple years later. Democrats have accused Howell of playing the race card in an Oklahoma Senate campaign - and they've blamed him for an ad that showed Cleland, who lost his legs in Vietnam, with pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. While Howell has denied producing that particular piece, his Democratic critics still portray him as a political assasin who strikes below-the-belt whenever he beats them - especially when the election is close. That's a sign of true power.


TOP NEWCOMER

Ryan Gravatt
Quicksilver Internet Solutions

Political candidates didn't discover the Internet until eight or 10 years ago - and while most contenders for statewide, congressional and legislative offices in Texas in 2006 have web sites - they're just beginning to figure out what a full-scale online offensive can do for a campaign. Ryan Gravatt has been teaching some Texas Republicans about that for the past couple of years. A former state Capitol bureau chief for the Birmingham Post-Herald, Gravatt covered politics for newspapers in Alabama and Florida and kept an eye on Congress for the Scripps Howard chain before re-inventing himself as president of the Austin-based firm Quicksilver Internet Solutions. Gravatt gravitated to Texas and managed a project online for the Texas Education Agency before venturing into the private sector as a web site and database specialist for a variety of clients including political campaigns. Gravatt's clients include Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs' campaign for state comptroller - and his company has worked with campaigns for Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina, State Reps. Dan Gattis and Joe Straus and Texas House candidates Tan Parker, Mark Williams, Ben Bentzin and David Showalter in the past year or two. While most candidates have delegated their online responsibilities to general web development and hosting firms or let their general consultants worry about that, Gravatt's company shows political clients how to tailor a web site and email strategy to the message they hope to convey and the grassroots audience they want it to reach and how to keep it in sync with their traditional communications efforts. While Texas Republicans have Gravatt as an option for Internet strategy, the Democrats have been missing a top web communications consultant since Nathan Wilcox turned his attention to an out-of-state project. Wilcox, who's been working with Mark Warner's Forward Together PAC as the former Virginia governor ponders a White House race, managed web campaigns for Tony Sanchez in the 2002 governor's race and Richard Morrison in his battle against Tom DeLay two years ago. Wilcox's clients included candidates for the Legislature and Congress as well.

HIRED GUNS: REPUBLICANS
Election Cycle 2005-2006

1

Bryan Eppstein
The Eppstein Group

Kay Bailey Hutchison, David Swinford, Pat Haggerty, Elvira Reyna, Anna Mowery, Vicki Truitt, Tommy Merritt, Charlie Geren, Susan King, Jim Keffer, Joe Crabb, Toby Goodman, Joe Driver, Byron Cook, Mike Hamilton, Todd Staples, Florence Shapiro, Jane Nelson, Tommy Williams, Kel Seliger, Kip Averitt, Kim Brimer, Jeff Wentworth, Mike Jackson, Kay Granger, Michael Burgess, Kenny Marchant, Bob McCoy, Texas Medical Association, Fort Worth Firefighters, Citizens for a Better Fort Worth

2

Todd Smith
Todd Smith & Associates

Glenn Hegar, Betty Brown, Glenda Dawson, Sid Miller, Carl Isett, Larry Taylor, Patricia Harless, Bob Reeves, Peggy Hamric, Steve Salyer, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Future of Texas Alliance, Texas Chiropractic Association

3

Allen Blakemore, Elizabeth Blakemore
Blakemore & Associates
Jim Murphy, John Zerwas, Joe Nixon, Terry Jennings, Don Willett, Robert Eckels, Conservative Republicans of Harris County, Harris GOP, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, C Club, Future of Texas Alliance

4
Craig Murphy
Murphy Turner & Associates
Joe Barton, Kirk England, Jim Pitts, Kelly Hancock, Bob Deuell, Kent Grusendorf, Robert Nichols, Harvey Hilderbran, Ray Allen, Bill Lawrence, Ben Bentzin, Susan Combs, Lee Ann Dauphinot, Texas Republican Party, Arlington Professional Fire Fighters Assn. PAC
5

Kevin Brannon
Brannon and Company
Larry Durrett, Jim Landtroop, Tan Parker, Bill Zedler, Kent Grusendorf, Phil King, Jodie Laubenberg, Michael Williams, Roger Williams, Sam Johnson, Jeb Hensarling, Kay Granger, Keith Self, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Republican Attorneys General Association

6

Jeff Norwood
Anthem Media

Gene Seaman, Larry Durrett, Jim Landtroop, Wayne Christian, Nathan Macias, Mark Williams, Chris Hatley, Van Wilson, David Showalter, Van Taylor, Texas Republican Legislative Campaign Committee

7

Court Koenning
Koenning Consulting
Dan Patrick, Talmadge Heflin, Michael Schofield, Harris County Republican Party

8
Ted Delisi
Delisi Communications
Rick Perry, Susan Combs, Elizabeth A. Jones, Brandon Creighton, Jeff Fleece, Ben Bentzin, Peggy Hamric, Lorranie O'Donnell, Rob Beckham, Michael McCaul, David Wallace
9

Jason Johnson
J2 Strategies
Greg Abbott, Robert Nichols, Larry Durrett, Alex Castano, Todd Staples, Don Willett, Texans for School Choice

10

Rob Allyn, Brian Mayes
Allyn & Company
Laura Miller, Diane Patrick, Tony Goolsby, Fred Hill, Anette Carlisle, Pat Carlson, John Carona, Stronger Mayor Stronger Dallas PAC

11

Bill Noble
Noble Strategic Partners
Rick Perry, Future of Texas Alliance, All Children Matter,

12
Reb Wayne
Mesa Media
David Dewhurst, Bill Welch, Kevin Christian, Todd Baxter, Will Wilson, Alan Sager
13

Lee Woods
Roy Blake Jr., Mark Ellis

14
Royal Masset
Royal Masset & Associates
Kirby Hollingsworth, Bryan Hughes, Brian Keith Walker, Don Zimmerman
15
Christian Anderson
Election Support Services
George Antuna, Frank Madla, Ken Mercer, Taxpayers For Responsible Government
16
Kindra Hefner
Hefner and Associates
Patricia Harless, Ted Poe, Kevin Brady
17

Ed Emmett
The Emmett Company
Jody Anderson, Tim Kleinschmidt, Michael Baldwin

18

Janelle McArthur
The McArthur Company
Joe Straus, Elizabeth Ames Jones, Ken Mercer, Rebecca Simmons

19
Josh Robinson
The Robinson Group
Martha Wong, David Kleimann
20

John Doner
John Doner & Company
Bill Welch, Carter Casteel, Joe Nixon, Kent Grusendorf, David Dewhurst, Sharon Keller, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Friends of the University

20

Chad Crow, Kori Crow
KC Strategies
Anne Lakusta, Dale Hopkins, Frank Morrison, David Stall, Dick Reynolds,

20

Hans Klingler
Jim Arnold & Company
Shirley Craft, Bob Deuell

20
Michelle Wittenburg
Jimmie Don Aycock, Michael Savoie, David Puryear

HIRED GUNS: DEMOCRATS
Election Cycle 2005-2006

1
Kelly Fero, Jeff Hewitt
Fero Hewitt Global
Donna Howard, Mark Strama, Hubert Vo, David Leibowitz, Harriet Miller, Juan Garcia, Solomon Ortiz Jr., Jason Earle, Katy Hubener, Carlos Uresti, Juan Hinojosa, Lukin Gilliland, J.D. Salinas, Will Wynn, John Sharp, Texas Medical Association, Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, Austin Police Association
2

James Aldrete
Message Audience & Presentation

Joaquin Castro, Carlos Uresti, Harriet Miller, Valinda Bolton, Joe Farias, Donna Howard, Jesse Jones, Juan Escobar, David Gonzales, Rose Spector, Ciro Rodriguez, Fred Hinojosa, Linda Yanez, Gina Benavides, J.D. Salinas, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Travis County Democratic Party, House Democratic Campaign Committee, Democratic National Committee, No Nonsense in 2006 PAC, Committee for Austin's Future

3

Dan McClung, Robert Jara
Campaign Strategies

Ellen Cohen, Borris Miles, Hubert Vo, Jim McReynolds, David Farabee, Carlos Uresti, Dora Olivo, Garnet Coleman, Kevin Bailey, Ana Hernandez, Al Bennett, Drew Mouton, Richard Raymond, Rick Noriega, Wade Gent, Allen Vaught, Gus Ramirez, Rose Spector, Rodney Ellis, Mario Gallegos, Gene Green, Ben Franks, League Of Conservation Voters, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Texans for Insurance Reform, Citizens For Public Transportation

4
Christian Archer
The Archer Group

Juan Garcia, David Leibowitz, Carlos Uresti, Phil Hardberger, Will Wynn, Bill White
5

Dean Rindy
Rindy Miller
Chuck Hopson, Scott Hochberg, David Leibowitz, Mercurio Martinez, Andy Brown, Bob Gammage, Charles Baird, Bree Buchanan, League Of Conservation Voters, Austin Fire Fighters PAC, Travis County Sheriff's PAC, Vote Against the Amendment

6

Chris Turner, Lisa Turner
Turner Group

Chet Edwards, Paula Hightower-Pierson, Texas Progress Council, Texas Values In Action

7
Jeff Crosby
Jeff Crosby Direct Mail
Eddie Lucio III, Joe Heflin, Stephen Frost, Shane Sklar, Frank Madla, American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees
8

Mark Nathan
Austin Strategies
Lukin Gilliland, Ellen Cohen, Jason Earle, Will Wynn, Bill White, Committee for Austin's Future

9

Jeff Montgomery
Jeff Montgomery & Associates

Solomon Ortiz Jr., Tracy King, Kathy Rider, Frank Madla, Good Government PAC

10
Randy Thompson
Thompson Group
Patrick Rose, Norma Chavez, Frank Madla, Texans for Lawsuit Reform (Madla)
11

Mustafa Tameez
Outreach Strategies
Bill White, Kristi Thibaut, Hubert Vo, Ciro Rodriguez, Houston Bond Elections

12

Glen Maxey
Valinda Bolton, Andy Brown, Charles Baird, Travis County Democratic Party, No Nonsense in November, Clean Water Clean Government PAC

13
Ed Martin
Texas Democratic Trust, Texas Progress Council
14
Bill Emory & Peck Young
Emory Young
Boyd Richie, Hank Gilbert, Charles Soechting, Education Austin
15
Elliott McFadden
Ignite Consulting
Valinda Bolton, Patrick Rose, Glen Maxey, Travis County Democratic Party, No Nonsense in September
16
Bill Brannon
Brannon & Associates
Mark Homer, Texas Democratic Party
17
Keir Murray
KLM Consulting
Kristi Thibaut, Borris Miles, Nick Lampson
18
Robert Jones
Equitas Strategies
Annie's List, Harriet Miller, Joe Farias, Veronica Gonzales, Dora Olivo, Robert Puente, Senfronia Thompson, Hank Gilbert, Jim Coronado, EMILY'S List
19
Marc Campos
Campos Communications
Steve Brown, Laura Salinas
20
Ken Bryan
Maverick Communications
Robby Cook, Bret Baldwin, Ken Armbrister

SPECIALIST CONSULTANTS
Election Cycle 2005-2006
1

Mike Baselice
Baselice & Associates

Republican Polling
Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, Greg Abbott, Susan Combs, Roger Williams, Mike Krusee, Gene Seaman, Rob Beckham, Nathan Macias, Chris Hatley, Robert Nichols, Ben Bentzin, Kent Grusendorf, Patricia Harless, Tan Parker, Brandon Creighton, Jim Landtroop, Mark Williams, Elvira Reyna, Van Wilson, Anna Mowery, David Swinford, Roy Blake Jr., Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, Future of Texas Alliance, Texas Opportunity PAC, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, All Children Matter, Saferail PAC

2
Todd Olsen
Olsen & Shuvalov

Republican Direct Mail
John Cornyn, Tom DeLay, Dee Margo, Michael Williams, Rich Phillips, Phil Johnson, Alan Waldrop, Lee Parsley, Republican National Committee
3
David Weeks
Weeks & Company

Republican Media
Rick Perry, Ben Bentzin, Texas Republican Party
4
Susan Lilly
Lilly & Company
Republican Fundraising
Todd Staples, Jerry Patterson, Victor Carrillo, Wallace Jefferson, Don Willett, Phil Johnson, Phylis Speedlin, Robert Nichols, Rob Orr, Joe Straus, Roy Blake, Alex Castano, Mark Ellis, Lamar Smith, John Carter, Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican Party, Republican National Committee
5
Jeff Smith
Opinion Analysts

Democrat Polling
Carlos Uresti, Wade Gent, Allen Vaught, Gus Ramirez, John Devine, Drew Mouton, Richard Raymond, Phil Hardberger, Texans for Insurance Reform, Texas Parent PAC, Good Government PAC, Texas Democratic Party
6
Elizabeth Blakemore
Blakemore & Associates
Republican Fundraising
David Dewhurst, Greg Abbott, Michael Williams, Dale Wainwright, Kyle Janek, Joe Nixon, Jim Murphy, Peggy Hamric, Charles Seymore, Robert Eckels, Paul Bettencourt, Chuck Rosenthal, Don Willett, Terry Jennings
7
Brian Berry
Texas Strategy Inc.
Betty Brown, Kent Grusendorf, Peggy Hamric, Dale Hopkins
8

Frank Guerra
Guerra Deberry Coody
Republican Media
Henry Bonilla, Joe Straus, Citizens for Better Transportation

9

Herb Butrum
Butrum & Associates
Republican Media
Bill White, David Medina, Sharon McCally

10
Ryan Gravatt
Quicksilver Internet Solutions
Republican Web Campaigns
Susan Combs, Elizabeth Ames Jones, Tan Parker, Ben Bentzin, Dan Gattis, David Showalter, Mark Williams, David Medina, Joe Straus, Texas Republican Legislative Caucus
11
Lance Tarrance
RT Strategies

Republican Polling
Lamar Smith, Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee
12
Jeremy Warren, Rick Svatora
S&W Capitol Advisors
Democrat Research
Chuck Hopson, Jim McReynolds, Allen Vaught, Texans for Insurance Reform
13
David Hill
Hill Research Consultants

Republican Polling
John Cornyn, Pete Sessions, Republican National Committee
14
Susan Harry
Susan Harry Consulting

Democrat Fundraising
Kirk Watson, Eliot Shapleigh, Jason Earle, Dawnna Dukes, Will Wynn, House Democratic Campaign Committee, Texas Young Democrats, League of Conservation Voters, Committee for Austin's Future
15
Heidi Kirkpatrick
Lone Star Strategies

Democrat Fundraising
Chris Bell, Kirk Watson, Rodney Ellis, Ellen Cohen, Kristi Thibaut, Harold Dutton
16
Alison McIntosh
The McIntosh Company
Republican Fundraising
Todd Staples, John Carona, Bob Deuell, Dan Branch, Joe Nixon, Frank Madla, Texans for Lawsuit Reform
17
Sue Walden
Walden and Associates
Republican Fundraising
Patricia Harless, Peggy Hamric, Terry Dill, Barbara Larson, Ted Poe, Maxxam PAC
18
Larry Gonzales
Lazarus Graphics

Republican Graphics & Printing
Bill Welch, John Zerwas, Nelson Balido, Kevin Christian, Sylvia Spivey, Michael Esparza, Todd Baxter, Will Wilson, David Puryear, Associated Republicans of Texas
19
Bob Thomas
Thomas Graphics

Republican Graphics & Printing
Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, Greg Abbott, Bob Deuell, Future of Texas Alliance, Texans for Family Values PAC, Texas Opportunity PAC, Texas Republican Party, Associated Conservatives of Texas
20
Gerry Tyson
Tyson Organization
Democrat Phone Banks
Borris Miles, Katy Hubener, Art Brender, Takingbacktexas.org
21
Jennifer Lustina
JHL Company

Republican Fundraising
Roger Williams, Don Willett, David Medina, Peggy Hamric, Rob Beckham, John Cornyn
22
James Baker
Pathfinder Marketing
Republican Media Buys
Dale Hopkins, Roy Blake, Mark Ellis, Future of Texas Alliance, Houston Police Officers Union
23

Nathan Wilcox
Mercury Campaigns

Democrat
Web Campaigns
Richard Morrison, Martin Frost, Tony Sanchez, David Farabee, Chuck Hopson, Paul Sadler, David Van Os, Joe Pickett, Savetexasreps.com, Texas Democratic Party, Texans for Truth. Drivedemocracy.org

24
Monica Davis
The Davis Group
Democrat Media Planning
Phil Hardberger, Richard Raymond
25
Beth Sturgeon
AusTex Development Group
Republican Fundraising
Progress for America, Republican National Committee

CAMPAIGN MANAGERS
& SINGLE CLIENT CONSULTANTS
1
Kevin Moomaw
David Dewhurst
2
Luis Saenz
Rick Perry
3
Mark Sanders
Carole Keeton Strayhorn
4

Dave Carney
Rick Perry

5
Rob Johnson
David Dewhurst
6
Dave Beckwith
John Cornyn
7
Matt Matthews
Kay Bailey Hutchison
8
Daniel Hodge
Greg Abbott
9
Sarah Whitley
Susan Combs
10
Jason Stanford
Chris Bell
11
Christi Craddick
Tom Craddick
12
Robert Black
Rick Perry
13
Chad Wilbanks
Kay Bailey Hutchison
14
Brad McClellan
Carole Keeton Strayhorn
15
Harold Cook
Texas Senate Democratic Caucus
16
Corbin Casteel
Michael Williams
17
Bill Kelly
Ellen Cohen
18
Karen Loper
Hubert Vo
19
Jim Dow
Texas 20/20 PAC
20
Russell Langley
Texas Values in Action PAC
21
Celinda Provost
Allan Ritter
22
Dennis Speight
House Dem. Campaign Committee
23
Eleanor Hewitt
Donna Howard
24
Marc Duchen
Juan Garcia
25
Roger Garza
Joe Farias
26
Elizabeth Hartman
Valinda Bolton
27
Mike Montgomery
Joe McComb
28
Phillip Cunningham
Harriet Miller
29
Ryan Bohls
Bill Welch
30
Marc Cavazos
Nelson Balido

FULL-TIME GOVERNMENT
STAFF ADVISORS
1

Deirdre Delisi
Chief of Staff
Governor Rick Perry

Ex-Campaign Manager in Governor's race, Research Director in Lt. Governor's race, Deputy Chief of Staff in Governor's Office, Special Assistant in Lt. Governor's Office, Bush/Cheney Policy Director, Aide to Bill Ratliff and Lamar Alexander

2

Bruce Gibson
Chief of Staff
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst

Texas House Member 1981-1992, Ex-Reliant Lobbyist

3
Nancy Fisher
Chief of Staff

House Speaker Tom Craddick

Ex-Texas House aide, Calendars Committee clerk, Texas Racing Commission Executive Director
4
Rob Johnson
Deputy Chief of Staff
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst

Ex-Campaign Manager for Lieutenant Governor's race, Congressional aide
5

Phil Wilson
Deputy Chief of Staff
Governor Rick Perry

Texas Economic Development Corporation Ex-Officio Board Member, American Innovation Exchange Co-Chairman

6
Billy Hamilton
Deputy Comptroller
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn

Ex-Deputy Comptroller under Bob Bullock and John Sharp, California Performance Review Co-Executive Director, Select Committee on Tax Equity Executive Director, Texas Performance Review Director, National Federation of Tax Administrators Director
7

Kent Sullivan
First Assistant Attorney General
Attorney General Greg Abbott

Ex-State District Judge, McFall Martinez Sherwood Breitbeil & Sullivan Law Firm Managing Director

8

Lisa Minton
Chief of Staff

Ag. Commissioner Susan Combs
Ex-Special Assistant and Research Director for Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, State Policy Committee Appointee

9
Kathy Walt
Press Secretary
Governor Rick Perry

Ex-Lt. Governor's press secretary, Houston Chronicle reporter
10

Alexis DeLee
Press Secretary
House Speaker Tom Craddick

Ex-Texas Republican Party Communications Director, Consultant at HillCo Partners and Elizabeth Christian & Associates

TEXAS CONSULTANTS
ON NATIONAL STAGE
1
Karl Rove
White House

Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, Ex-Office of Political Affairs Director, Office of Public Liaison Director, White House Office of Strategic Initiatives Director, Political director for George W. Bush, Ex-Consultant to George H.W. Bush, Rick Perry, John Cornyn, Phil Gramm, Bill Clements, Kent Hance and others
2
Karen Hughes
State Department

Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Ex-Senior Counselor to President George W. Bush, Press Secretary to Governor George W. Bush, Texas GOP Executive Director, TV Reporter
3

Matthew Dowd
ViaNovo

Campaign strategist for George W. Bush,
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, Ex-RNC Senior Advisor, Bob Bullock campaign consultant, Lloyd Bentsen aide, Public Strategies Inc. co-founder

4
Scott Howell
Scott Howell & Company

Highly-acclaimed and sometimes controversial media consultant had Karl Rove and Lee Atwater as mentors before starting Dallas firm with list of clients such as Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, George Allen, Jim Talent and Swift Boat Veterans
5
Mark McKinnon
Public Strategies

Media strategist for George W. Bush White House campaigns and 1998 governor's race, Ex-Consultant for Ann Richards, Bob Bullock and Mark White, Maverick Media President, Public Strategies Inc. Vice-Chairman
6
Rob Allyn
Allyn & Company

Advisor to Mexican President Vicente Fox, Mexican government PR consultant, Campaign manager for Haitian president candidate Dumarsais "Dumas" Siméus, Ex-Speechwriter for Governor Bill Clements
7
Todd Olsen
Olsen & Shuvalov

Direct mail consultant for George W. Bush White House and governor races and campaigns for Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Cornyn, Sam Johnson, Elizabeth Dole, Shelley Capito, Katherine Harris and others, Ex-Rove + Company VP
8
Dave Gold
Gold Communications

One of the nation's top direct mail consultants for Democrats has offices in Austin and Washington and state clients that have included Kathy Rider, Lloyd Doggett, Tony Sanchez, Paul Sadler and Ann Richards with Bill Richardson, Ed Rendell, Dianne Feinstein, Joe Biden, Jeff Bingaman, DCCC, DSCC along with Texas Democratic Party and Texas Trial Lawyers Association
9
Craig Varoga
Varoga & Rice

Houston-based opposition research expert managed Lee Brown's mayoral campaign, directed research for Clinton-Gore, ran Texas Truth Squad for Gore-Lieberman, served as Wesley Clark's national field director and worked for Texas Democratic Party and John Sharp
10
Matt Angle
Angle & Associates

Ex-Martin Frost chief of staff served as executive director for DCCC and House Democratic Caucus while boss was their chair before forming Lone Star Project in 2005 for truth tests on GOP on state and national levels
11
Lionel Sosa
Bromley Communications
Retired advertising executive from San Antonio area was Hispanic media consultant for George W. Bush, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan presidential campaigns
12
Scott McClellan
Former White House Press Secretary

Carole Keeton Strayhorn's youngest son was deputy press aide to Governor George W. Bush before serving as traveling press secretary for 2000 presidential campaign and then deputy White House press secretary until promotion in 2003 to chief spokesman job from which he resigned this year
13
Glenn Smith
Affinity Dynamics

Ex-Houston newspaper reporter served as Bill Hobby's press secretary at Capitol before managing gubernatorial campaigns for Ann Richards and Tony Sanchez and starting Texans for Truth PAC to counter Swift Boat Veterans in 2004 White House race

SPECIAL MENTION
1

Matt Welch
Texans for Lawsuit Reform

GOP strategist still helping TLR while lining up corporate and political clients

2
Bill Miller
HillCo Partners

Lobby firm co-founder is major behind-the-scenes force and great quote
3
George Shipley
Shipley & Associates

Democrats' Dr. Dirt surfaces again as consultant for Carole K. Strayhorn
4
Reggie Bashur
Bashur, Carney & Sullivan

Ex-Bill Clements and George W. Bush aide lobbies and advises Susan Combs
5
Wayne Hamilton
San Jacinto Public Affairs
Ex-State GOP executive director works with consultant Craig Murphy
6
Ray Sullivan
Bashur, Carney & Sullivan

Ex-Rick Perry and George W. Bush aide is lobbyist and partner in PR shop
7
Pat Robbins
Associated Republicans of Texas

ART's current executive director is taking up where Norm Newton left off
8

Norman Newton
Texas Alliance

One of GOP's top fundraisers as ex-ART point person has started new PAC

9
Mark Miner
Mercury Public Affairs

Ex-David Dewhurst press secretary works in Austin office for national firm
10
Rossanna Salazar
Ross Communications

Ex-reporter who did press for Rick Perry and Bill Clements has PR shop
11

Ken Hoagland
James Leininger

Ex-Texans for Lawsuit Reform press aide is speaking now for GOP mega-donor

12
Chuck McDonald
McDonald & Associates

Ex-Ann Richards aide has own firm with TLR and other big groups as clients
13
John Colyandro
Texas Conservative Coalition

Longtime GOP operative has been waiting for TRMPAC nightmare to end
14
Debbie Ingersoll
Legislative Solutions

Lobbyist coordinates and organizes fundraisers for candidates in both parties
15
Anthony Holm
Bob Perry

Austin consultant is spokesman for only GOP donor bigger than Leininger

BILL TRYON 1964-2006

The Power Rankings this year are dedicated to Bill Tryon, a Republican consultant who died February 19, 2006 after a courageous battle with cancer. It's safe to say that few if any political consultants in Texas commanded as much respect and admiration from colleagues, peers, clients and rivals as Tryon did over a career that spanned more than 15 years. Tryon was recognized as Best Political Consultant in Capitol Inside's Best of the Elections package in late 2004 for the work he did on John Otto's first Texas House race and other contests that election cycle. He was ranked 5th overall on the Hired Gun Republicans list on the CI power rankings in 2005. While his illness was diagnosed several years ago, Tryon continued to advise clients until the final month he was alive.

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