WASHINGTON—Bill de Blasio, who will be sworn-in Wednesday as New York’s new mayor shares something in common with Mayor Rahm Emanuel: The Big Apple and Second City mayors have the same media consultants, AKPD, the Chicago-based political firm.
AKPD is on a monthly retainer for Emanuel, paid through his political warchests, and will be advising Emanuel on his 2015 re-election bid and making his ads. The AKPD team signed on for Bill Daley’s short run for Illinois governor earlier this year.
The firm also handled ads and messaging for Boston Mayor-elect Marty Walsh, who will be sworn-in on Jan. 6.
Each campaign—and candidate—has its own storyline. De Blasio won with a populist campaign AKPD helped to fashion, starting with besting a five-candidate field (including former Rep. Anthony Weiner D-NY) — in September to win the Democratic New York mayoral primary.
De Blasio clinched a lead in the November general election with a much watched ad featuring with his son, Dante, who is black, talking about his white father.
De Blasio will take the New Year’s Day oath from former President Bill Clinton; he served in the Clinton administration. The new mayor has close ties to the Clintons: De Blasio managed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2000 New York Senate race.
The firm was founded by President Barack Obama former strategist David Axelrod and has offices in Chicago, Washington, New York and Los Angeles. Axelrod sold his interest in the firm when he joined the Obama White House in 2009.
AKPD partners Larry Grisolano and John Del Cecato were top advisers for Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential bids.
“While we work as a team on all races, John Del Cecato was the chief ad maker at AKPD for Rahm’s ’11 race, was the chief ad maker for de Blasio’s race (and deserves to be singled out for the magnificent ads he conceived and produced in that campaign) and will be playing the same role for Rahm in ’15,” Grisolano told me in an e-mail.
Grisolano is part of Emanuel’s on-going political operation, advising on media and message strategy.
Added Grisolano, when it comes to Emanuel, the firm “will ramp up our involvement as the ’15 re-election campaign approaches.”