Ashley Walker, the former Florida chief for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, will head a new public affairs consulting firm with the strategists tapped to lead a potential Miami Dolphins referendum campaign.
Mercury Florida will bring together national firm Mercury with Floridian Partners, whose team includes Rodney Barreto, chair of the South Florida Super Bowl Committee, and Brian May, a County Hall lobbyist for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins have reached out to Mercury's Michael McKeon, who knows Dolphins owner Stephen Ross from New York, Walker and Eric Jotkoff, Obama's former Florida campaign spokesoman, to shape the football team's political strategy. The Dolphins are hoping the county will hold a May special election to approve a potential financing deal to renovate Sun Life Stadium.
Read the release -- which makes no mention of the Dolphins -- after the jump.
Mercury, a leading, national bipartisan public strategy firm, and Floridian Partners, a statewide consulting and lobbying firm, announce a joint venture to create a new best-in-class public affairs consultancy in the state of Florida. The company will operate under the Mercury brand as Mercury Florida, and will be led by Mercury founding partner Kieran Mahoney and former Florida Director of Obama for America Ashley Walker.
“By combining Mercury’s national public strategy platform with Floridian Partners’ deep state experience, insight and knowledge, Mercury Florida will be able to deliver immeasurable business value to the world’s leading companies and advocacy groups,” said Mercury CEO and founding partner Kieran Mahoney. “Being able to join forces with this talented team of professionals and with the addition of Ashley Walker, who helped create thelargest grassroots operation that Florida has ever seen, is really exciting for Mercury Florida. The potent bipartisan nature of the new firm’s leadership will strengthen our ability to address the wide spectrum of public policy issues that critically affect our clients.”
“Our close relationship with members of the Mercury team, whom we have known for many years and worked with on a number of client issues, will be an integral part of this new enterprise,”said Charlie Dudley, Managing Partner of Floridian Partners. “We greatly respect Mercury’s reputation as a top, national high-stakes public affairs firm, as well as their long-standing record for success. Floridian Partners is excited to join Mercury in expanding both our firms’ capabilities to service our client’s needs in Florida and across Mercury’s national and international footprint.”
With offices across Florida in Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Tampa and Tallahassee, Mercury Florida’s new instate capabilities will be co-led by Kieran Mahoney, who has been called one of the "best political strategists of his generation" by The New York Times. Over the course of 20 years, he has helped candidates across the country win elections at the local, state and federal levels. Mahoney served as a senior adviser to all three of Governor George Pataki's campaigns, including as the top strategist and manager of Governor Pataki's first gubernatorial campaign in 1994 that ended Democrat Mario Cuomo's twelve-year reign. Kieran has also worked with former U.S. Senator Connie Mack. Mahoney and his family are proud to call Tampa home.
Mercury Florida’s operations will also be led by Ashley Walker, who, as Florida State Director of Obama for America, oversaw all aspects of the 2012 campaign in one of the mostcompetitive states in the presidential race. She also served as Florida State Director of Organizing for America, the Obama campaign’s offseason outfit which runs grassroots and social media operations in support of the President’s policies. Walker has served in multiple senior leadership roles including as the 2010 Coordinated Campaign Director and Deputy State Director for the 2008 Obama for America Florida campaign.
“The Sunshine State has played an undeniably pivotal role in the political world throughout the last few elections,” said Walker. “This bipartisan venture will create and maintain a strong public affairs presence in all regions of Florida, which will be of great service to our clients. I look forward to taking my skills and knowledge of the State I call home to Mercury Florida.”
Floridian Partners will continue its operation and normal services. This joint venture with Mercury provides a platform for expanded public strategies and public affairs services on behalf of Floridian Partners’ clients.
Mercury also announces the addition of Rick Wiley, Political Director of the Republican National Committee as a Managing Director with the firm, based out of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. During his tenure at the RNC Rick also guided the ground game for the Romney/Ryan ticket, managing the campaign’s $178 million national grassroots budget. The program’s results were historic, with over 65 million volunteer voter contacts made. Wiley will utilize this experience for grassroots efforts in Florida.