By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Montgomery Political consultant, Brent Buchanan, has been recognized as a rising star in the political consulting world by Campaigns & Elections.
Since 1988, Campaigns & Elections (C&E) has recognized the up-and-comers of the campaign world with its Rising Star award.
Campaigns & Elections staff wrote, “Over the years, Rising Star recipients have climbed to the heights of politics, launching dozens of successful consulting firms and serving at the highest levels of state and federal campaigns. We’re proud to introduce the 2015 class of Rising Stars.
The people on this year’s list are shaping the future of the campaign world, and they’re just getting started. The 2015 class will be recognized on July 27 at the 34th annual Art of Political Campaigning conference.”
Brent Buchanan is a Republican strategist and consultant. He is the managing partner and senior strategist for Montgomery based Cygnal, which does PR work, polling, grass roots organizing, and other services in addition to traditional campaign consulting.
Here is a portion of the C&E staff interview with Buchanan:
C&E: “Tell us about the first campaign you worked on.”
Buchanan: “It was 2001 and I started volunteering for an Alabama congressman who was running for governor—Bob Riley. Everybody in this business has had a moment where they caught the bug, and that campaign was it for me. By 2004 I was actually able to convince people to pay me to help their campaigns—both of those candidates are now in the state legislature after starting way down the ladder.”
C&E: “When did you decide to start your own firm?”
Buchanan: “I started the company in 2007, and I learned a lot in the first year—both good and bad. We made our niche filling holes down the ballot. We saw that down-ballot campaigns needed polling, but they often couldn’t afford they survey research options out there. That’s a huge hole that we have been able to fill for campaigns. It took us a good two cycles to get the firm to where we wanted it to be. We also do a ton of direct mail and digital advertising, and we take the same approach there”
C&E: “What advice would you give to someone thinking about striking out on their own in this business?”
Buchanan: “First, you need a believable enough record before you start your own firm. You also need something that makes you different—what can you offer to clients that your competitors can’t? And make sure you develop skills that transfer to into the corporate world, because you’ll need to have business outside of politics to sustain your company, no matter how small.”
The other 2015 honorees include: Andrew Abdel-Malik, Republican with National Media/On Message; Melissa Bell, Democrat with Benenson Strategy Group; Brent Buchanan, Republican with Cygnal; Samuel Coates, an International communications strategist, Melissa Cressey, Democrat with DSPolitical; Michelle Coyle Edwards, Democrat with Rising Tide Interactive; Courtney Eimerman-Wallace, Democrat with Blue Labs; Andrew Eldredge-Martin, Democrat with Precision Network; Andrew Feldman, Democrat with Feldman Strategies; Tyrone Gayle, Democrat with Hillary for America; Emily Hoffman, Republican with Vertical Strategies; Daniel Huey, Republican with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC); Arinze Ifekauche, Democrat with Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office; Domonique James, Democrat with RMS Interactive; Byron Koay, Republican with America Rising LLC; Joe Lestingi, Democrat with the Chadderdon Group; Brandon Lorenz, Democrat with the Human Right Campaign; Christopher Maloney, Republican with the Black Rock Group; Heather Philpot, Republican with Wiland; Kristal Quarker Hartsfield, Republican with the Republican National Committee; Don Seymour, Republican working for Facebook; Rena Shapiro, Nonpartisan working for Pandora; Sergio Torres Avila, International working for Politiks 360; Anton Vuljaj, Republican with IMGE; and Andy Yates, Republican with the Red Dome Group.
Campaigns & Elections describes itself as the preeminent “how-to” publication of politics, focused on the tools, tactics and techniques of the political consulting profession.
C&E’s training conferences also bring together political strategists, candidates, elected officials, public affairs professionals, technologists, and campaign staffers to offer prime networking opportunities and the best campaign training in the business.
C&E was launched in the spring of 1980 by Stanley Foster Reed, C&E was founded on the understanding that it’s management that makes the difference, whether that’s in business or on a political campaign. C&E also publishes The Political Pages, a comprehensive annual directory of political firms and professionals.