Politics' Hired Guns
Today, Florida's professional political consultants know more about voters than the voters might like. But for all the tools at their disposal, it's still tough -- and more expensive -- to get a message out.
Adam Goodman [Photo: Jeffrey Camp]
Political leaning: Republican
Family influences: Goodman’s father, Robert, launched an advertising agency in Baltimore in the late 1950s and helped pioneer the field of political advertising. Robert Goodman first did campaign work for then-Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew, then went on to run successful gubernatorial campaigns in several states where Republicans hadn’t been elected in generations. “I was growing up around this,” says Adam Goodman, “so our discussions around the dining room table weren’t just about the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Colts.”
First assignment: At age 13. “I was working with a film crew where we went and filmed for a week in West Virginia for Gov. Arch Moore, who was later indicted for all sorts of nefarious offenses.”
Florida start: In 1992, the Republican Party brought Goodman to Florida to work on all targeted state Senate races. He did 10 races that year and 21 campaigns over two election cycles. His clients included Charlie Crist, Ander Crenshaw, Ginny Brown-Waite, Charles Bronson and Curt Kiser. “A lot of these people were in the beginnings of very promising careers, and we were there at the front end of it.” Two years later, his father was getting out of the business, and Goodman had to decide where to base his shop. “At this point, it’s bitter cold in Washington. I said we could go to Wisconsin — we’d done a lot of work for Tommy Thompson, who was looking at running for president of the United States — or we could go even closer to the Washington orbit, or we can get warm and be part of a very exciting trend of Republican successes in Florida.”
Hot contest: This year, Goodman is doing media work for state Rep. Gayle Harrell, one of three Republicans attempting to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney, who won the seat in 2006 after a scandal involving congressional pages brought down Palm Beach Republican Rep. Mark Foley.
Credits: More than four dozen winning media campaigns for Florida’s Senate and House; St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker; Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty; major statewide candidate and initiatives wins; public campaigns for new airports, new schools and tax relief; corporate imaging and crisis communications; congressional wins from Florida to Oregon; New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 1997 re-election campaign and his 2002 U.S. Senate bid.