Not that long ago, consultants say, it might have been a professional death sentence to sign up with even one candidate targeting a veteran incumbent like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. These days, Cold Spark is only one of a limited but growing number of Republican firms that operate heavily in the black market of anti-incumbent campaigns.
The Pennsylvania company took in an eye-popping sum from the campaigns of Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Idaho attorney Bryan Smith and Kentucky investment manager Matt Bevin. Hopping from one anti-incumbent race to the next, the firm collected a total of $2.4 million for services including ad production, digital strategy and data analysis.Other firms in the niche include:
Thanks to an explosion of outsider Republicans running for office and the Supreme Court’s loosening of campaign finance rules, the economics of political consulting have shifted. Suddenly, there’s enough anti-incumbent work to sustain not just a skeleton crew of mercenary consultants, but a full-fledged cottage industry of ideological renegades — interlocking firms that pop up in one divisive primary after another, often working together or for different entities in the same race.
- Red Sea LLC
- Jamestown Associates
- Target Enterprises