Campaigns & Elections: Mid-Sized Firms on the Right Turning to Outside Executives to Compete Against Mega Firms
Mid-sized Republican firms are increasingly turning to outside executives to help them compete with the venture-capital backed mega shops that dominate the right.
Late last year, McShane LLC, which has a staff of around 30, hired former House candidate Samuel “Sam” Peters to be its first CEO. On July 19, Push Digital, which in December 2022 acquired fundraising firm Campaign Solutions, announced it tapped Scott Farmer, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) long-time campaign manager, as its chief operating officer.
Farmer is a veteran campaign hand with experience going back to Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. More recently, he’s run some of the most expensive Senate races in history, including Graham’s 2020 reelect.
Still, this is his first foray into running a consulting shop as opposed to being on the client side. In an interview with C&E, Farmer said his focus will be on optimizing the internal workings of the newly merged company, not on client development.
Coming in from the campaign side, he said one of the hardest parts of his new role is managing the post-merger company’s HR policies and procedures — things like vacation time and health insurance plans — governing the work lives of the now-75 person staff.
“The sensitivity to that part of it is much more complex. It’s just challenging anytime you bring that number of people together and try to scale it right out of the gate,” he said.
He believes Push Digital now has what it takes to compete with shops like Targeted Victory, which boasts three times the staff. “There are other firms that are bigger, but they do all kinds of stuff. I would argue that our digital-focused model is better for the client because we’re specialists,” Farmer said.
He also said growth targets for the company wouldn’t stop with acquiring Campaign Solutions. Now, he said there are plans to grow the firm through hires or more acquisitions.
“It is our desire to grow, to be aggressive,” he said. “If you’re just standing still, you’re going to get passed by someone else.”
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