Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Voice for Independents

Suite talk: Finding a way
By: Aoife McCarthy
October 8, 2007

Focusing on opening up the political system, Thomas D’Amore, Bill Hillsman, Laureen Oliver and Dean Barkley announced they have formed the independent political consultancy D’Amore, Hillsman, Oliver & Barkley. The firm will make it easier for independents to get on the ballot and then compete.

“Independents or candidates who want to challenge the system quickly find out that the electoral deck is stacked against them,” says Hillsman.

“Democrats or Republicans who wish to challenge incumbents or party-anointed candidates in a primary are discouraged from running and receive little or no support from the parties and their consultants. Independents who want to run for office rapidly discover that there is no support system to help them, and that most party-affiliated political consultants will not work with them. We’re here to bridge the gap.”

The firm is focused on four key client areas: independents running for public office, challenger candidates, independent expenditure groups and ballot propositions. Each of the firm’s four partners has a demonstrated commitment to political independence.

Barkley is a former independent senator from Minnesota. He also chaired Jesse Ventura’s successful third-party campaign for governor and worked on independent Arianna Huffington’s campaign for governor of California.

D’Amore is a partner in a public affairs consulting firm, Doyle, D’Amore & Balducci, which he will continue to run outside DHOB. He is a former chair of the Connecticut Republican Party, but he has also worked on independent campaigns for governor in Massachusetts and Virginia.

Hillsman is the founder of North Woods Advertising in Minneapolis, which he will also continue to run outside DHOB. He was a media consultant for the senatorial campaigns of Paul Wellstone in Minnesota and Ned Lamont in Connecticut and the presidential campaign of Ralph Nader.

Oliver is the co-founder of the Independence Party of New York state and focuses on ballot access. She has previously worked with D’Amore and Hillsman on independent candidate Russ Potts’ campaign for Virginia governor.