Political consultants Jason Stanford and Will Caskey have joined forces—merging their Democratic research firms Stanford Campaigns and 3rd Coast Research to form Stanford Caskey.
Moonlighting as a nationally syndicated columnist, Stanford was impressed by Caskey’s research blog—in which he vents about industry stupidity.
“We were tired of competing against each other, and we respected the way each other did business,” Stanford tells C&E. “We frankly saw the world the same way.”
The team-up will allow the new firm to expand its footprint. Once a one-man shop, Caskey will no longer have to turn work away. “It’s a weird time in the oppo industry,” Stanford says.
The national parties and Super PACs are taking an increasing amount of research firms’ work, despite there being no dearth of competent opposition researchers out there. The challenge, Stanford says, is the large group of next-generation researchers he’s dubbed the “Google kids”. They mean both increased competition and a devaluation of the product, and Stanford says you’ll find the same thing with polling, direct mail and TV.
“This [merger] gives us a way to compete without sacrificing quality,” Stanford says. “Cut-rate research is a lot like cut-rate dentistry; it hurts and it’s expensive to fix.”
Though Stanford doesn’t think consolidated shops are becoming an industry standard, he says they happen when they’re merited. He’s watched talented researchers go under because they couldn’t manage a business. “I have been my own boss for 15 years, and it’s really nice to have a professional collaborator to bounce ideas off of,” Stanford says. “Will has a young, agile and impressive mind, and I’ve come to really appreciate it.”