San Francisco-based Barnes Mosher Whitehurst Lauter and Partners — one of California’s foremost political consulting and lobbying firms — will spin off a separate, new company to deal only with managing ballot measure, Democratic candidate and independent expenditure campaigns. BMWL will continue focusing on lobbying, public affairs and issues management, while founding partner John Whitehurst launches the new firm, Whitehurst Campaigns.
“The partners have spent more than a year discussing the most effective way to organize the firm for the future to best serve the needs of our clients and also grow our business,” BMWL principal Sam Lauter said in a news release. “Creating a separate firm with largely separate disciplines will really allow us to do those two things.”
This is sort of a back-to-basics move for Whitehurst, who’d founded a firm called Whitehurst Campaigns in 1990 before forming BMWL in 2000. He got his start back in 1983 working on U.S. Sen. Gary Hart’s first presidential campaign in Iowa, Pennsylvania and California. After that, he became executive director of the Democratic Foundation of Orange County, managing fundraising and voter registration drives. Then he went to work for Clinton Reilly Campaigns in San Francisco, gaining experience in overall management, advertising and other areas for statewide campaigns.
In all, Whitehurst has run more than 100 campaigns and racked up an impressive record of wins; he’s particularly into public finance issues such as bond and tax measures for schools, transportation and hospitals. Among politicians he has helped elect are state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland; former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown; former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown; and Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.