Underdogs

Our win-loss record is one of the best is the country, but we take the most pride in the unexpected victories we helped engineer: candidates who were expected to lose.

Surging from Behind in Atlanta

ATLANTA MAYOR KASIM REED

Reed
Two months before Election Day in 2009, State Senator Kasim Reed was mired in third place with 9%, trailing two popular City Councilors elected citywide. Spending the same amount of money as the two leading candidates, Kasim surged into second place by the time of the first election. Four weeks later, he captured 50.4% of the vote in the runoff to become the 59th Mayor of Atlanta. The American Association of Political Consultants recognized our work for Mayor Reed as the “Best Overall Television Campaign for Any Office in America in 2009.”

Taking on the Establishment in Massachusetts

MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL MAURA HEALEY

Healey
Warren Tolman, a longtime popular figure in Massachusetts Democratic politics, was backed by the Governor, Mayor of Boston, labor, and the Democratic Party. Our client – first-time candidate Maura Healey – surged in the final two weeks to defeat the Democratic Establishment in what was hailed as the “the biggest surprise of this political year.” Despite being outspent by 40%, Healey beat Tolman by 24%, winning 346 of 351 municipalities. Healey also won the November General Election and became the first openly gay Attorney General in American history.

Winning in Red States

MISSOURI GOVERNOR JAY NIXON

Nixon

Recognizing that President Obama was going to do poorly in Missouri during Governor Jay Nixon’s 2012 reelection, we put a particular emphasis on over- performing in Missouri’s small towns and rural areas. In addition to a vigorous and effective television campaign, we produced more than 30 ultra-targeted radio ads to run in individual counties on small radio stations touting Jay’s independent identity and his work in those towns. The results were impressive – while Obama carried only four Missouri counties, Jay carried 44. While the President lost the state by 9.4%, Governor Nixon was reelected by 12%.

Emerging from a Crowded Field in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER

Nutter
Michael Nutter became the first African-American mayoral candidate in Philadelphia history to win a plurality of both the white vote and the black vote, despite being outspent 3:1 by independently wealthy businessman Tom Knox and receiving virtually no support from other elected officials or organized labor. The American Association of Political Consultants recognized our work for Mayor Nutter as the “Best Overall Television Campaign for Any Office in America in 2007.”

Making History in Colorado

CONGRESSMAN JARED POLIS

Polis
State Senate President Joan Fitz- Gerald was the clear favorite to win this Boulder-based Congressional district after she was endorsed by labor and the Colorado Democratic Party. Not only did she start with a 20% lead in the polls, but her lead expanded when voters heard a positive summary of all of the candidates. Our ads helped Jared Polis surge from behind and become the first openly gay man ever elected to an open Congressional seat.

Surging in Lexington

LEXINGTON MAYOR JIM GRAY

Gray
Mayor Jim Newberry, elected in 2006 by the largest margin in Lexington, KY history, had a 66% approval rating three months before facing the voters for reelection. Businessman Jim Gray toppled Newberry, becoming the first openly gay man to be elected mayor of Lexington and only the second person in the city’s history to defeat an incumbent mayor.

Making History in Delaware

DELAWARE CONGRESSWOMAN LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER

Delaware’s largest newspaper touted State Senator Bryan Townsend as the “front-runner” for the state’s open congressional seat after he won the endorsement of teachers, labor, and Democratic committees. Our client — Lisa Blunt Rochester — was a first-time candidate considered unlikely to prevail in a state that had never elected to Congress a woman or someone who was African-American. The Delaware State News called her 19% victory, “a margin that stunned many political observers.”

“A Stunning Upset” in Delaware

GOVERNOR JACK MARKELL

Markell
Lt. Governor John Carney benefited from the strong support of the incumbent Governor, the Delaware Democratic Party, most Democratic elected officials, and nearly all labor groups. But with the help of our ads, State Treasurer Jack Markell surged from behind to win the primary in what the Associated Press called “a stunning upset.”

Stunning Observers in Charleston

CHARLESTON MAYOR JOHN TECKLENBURG

Tecklenburg2

In 2015, Charleston Mayor, Joe Riley decided to retire after holding that post for 40 years. First-time candidate John Tecklenburg started behind in the polls and was outspent significantly in a field of popular, well financed candidates. Tecklenburg won the initial election by 1%, “stunning” observers. He went on to win a two-week runoff election with a whopping 57% of the vote and became the first new mayor of Charleston since 1976.

Beating the Special Interests in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA MAYOR JIM KENNEY

Kenney
Former City Councilman Jim Kenney won the Democratic nomination for the Mayor of Philadelphia, despite being heavily outspent and starting his campaign in a distant third place, only four months before Election Day. The Campaign Group made the ads for the labor-funded independent expenditure effort sup- porting Kenney that defined the race…. they started 7 weeks before Kenney’s personal campaign ads and ultimately spent more than twice as much as the Kenney campaign. The Philadelphia Inquirer gave The Campaign Group’s ads an “A for effectiveness.”

“Upset of the Century in Jacksonville”

JACKSONVILLE MAYOR ALVIN BROWN

Brown
After the March election, first-time candidate Alvin Brown was widely expected to lose in this 820,000 person city that had not elected a Democratic mayor in 20 years. Jacksonville’s newspaper called Brown’s victory to become the city’s first African-American mayor “the upset of the century in Jacksonville politics.”

“An Overwhelming Victory” in Delaware

DELAWARE U.S. SENATOR TOM CARPER

Carper
Bill Roth, the powerful Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, had never won less than 55% of the vote in his previous seven elections to the U.S. Senate or Delaware’s At-Large Congressional Seat. Despite being outspent, Tom Carper surged from behind to replace Roth in the U.S. Senate in what the Los Angeles Times called “an overwhelming victory.”

Overcoming the Odds in Pennsylvania

PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR ED RENDELL

Rendell
Bob Casey Jr., the son of a popular former Governor, was endorsed by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, organized labor, and most of the elected Democratic officials in PA. Because of resentment in most of the state towards the urban center, no Philadelphian had been elected Governor since 1906.

Defying the Odds in Pennsylvania

CONGRESSMAN JOE SESTAK

Sestak1
Incumbent U.S. Senator Arlen Specter was endorsed by President Obama, Vice- President Biden, Governor Rendell, Senator Casey, labor, and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Former Admiral Joe Sestak was outspent 2:1 but surged in one month from trailing by 21% to winning by 8%.

In 2006, Congressman Curt Weldon had never struggled to win reelection for 20 years, in part because the district had 30,000 more Republicans than Democrats and had elected only one Democrat to Congress since the Civil War.

Sestak2

Upsetting an Incumbent in Republican Terrain

NEW JERSEY ASSEMBLYMAN VINCE MAZZEO

Mazzeo2

Our 2013 New Jersey state legislative work, included a huge upset win. The remnants of the Boardwalk Empire-era Republican machine still run Atlantic County, New Jersey. With Chris Christie carrying the 2nd legislative district with two-thirds of the vote, this seemed an unlikely location for the only pick-up by a Democrat of a Republican-held state legislative district in all of New Jersey in 2013. Vince Mazzeo, a local small businessman, was trailing scandal-free incumbent John Amodeo for most of the campaign. We held most of our voter communications until the final week and were able to surprise Amodeo and the Republican-dominated county.

In 2015, Mazzeo became the top Republican target in the state, but our ads helped him win reelection by a healthy margin.

Transforming a Legislature

NEW JERSEY LEGISLATURE AND INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURE WORK

Our ads have transformed the make-up of the New Jersey legislature over the last two decades. A combination of defeating nearly a dozen incumbent Republicans, winning various open seats, and protecting Democratic incumbents has transformed the South Jersey Senate delegation from 7 Republicans, 1 Democrat to 6 Democrats, 2 Republicans; and the South Jersey Assembly delegation from 14 Republicans, 2 Democrats to 12 Democrats, 4 Republicans.

In 2013, amid fears that Democratic legislators would be swamped by Chris Christie’s landslide win, we helped launch Susan McCue’s General Majority PAC (GMP), a multi-million dollar independent expenditure organization. We made the television, radio and digital ads that ran in every competitive district—eight in total. In half of those districts, we were working directly for the candidates; in half we worked for an IE. Even though Chris Christie won with more than 60%, our ads prevented the Republicans from netting even one seat in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly.

In 2015, we made the ads for the GMP that knocked off 3 Republican incumbent Assemblymembers, giving Democrats their largest Assembly majority in 36 years. New Jersey is one of only 3 states in the nation in which Democrats have a net gain in seats in the Senate and Assembly during President Obama’s tenure.