Angel Taveras hires top Washington, D.C. firm to plan governor race

Mar 22, 2013

In another sign that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is serious about running for governor in 2014: sources close to the mayor say he has hired a leading Washington, D.C.-based political consulting firm and top Rhode Island campaign strategist J.B. Poersch, a longtime aide to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed.

Credit RIPR File

Taveras has retained SKDKnickerbocker as his campaign consultants. Poersch and veteran consultant Bill Knapp will lead the team advising Taveras as he plans his campaign.

Poersch is one of Rhode Island’s most effective and respected political operatives. After a stint as a lobbyist for the union that represents U.S. postal workers, Poersch, a Providence College graduate, began working for Reed when Reed was in the U.S. House. He was Reed’s chief of staff during the three U.S. House terms Reed served, then Poersch ran Reed’s 1996 U.S. Senate race and became a top aide in the senator’s Washington office.

Poersch left Reed’s office in 2005 to take over as executive director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the political arm of  U.S. Senate Democrats. He stayed there until 2010, leading Democratic Senate campaigns to victories and control of the chamber.

SKDKnickerbocker has a constellation of other star consultants, media figures and strategists, including  Knapp, an advisor on five presidential campaigns who also worked on RI U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell’s 1990 reelection effort and the 1996 Bill Clinton presidential reelection campaign. The firm also has Anita Dunn, President Obama’s first-term communications chief; Hilary Rosen, a veteran Democratic strategist who ran a California Senate campaign for Sen. Dianne Feinstein; and Jill Zuckman, a Brown University grad and former Washington reporter for the Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune who was communications director for U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood.