WASHINGTON: Firehouse Strategies has acquired public affairs, strategic communications and campaign firm Scarlet Oak Strategies.
Scarlet Oak founder Raymond Glendening is staying on, joining Firehouse as partner, effective last week. Scarlet Oak will retain its name and clients.
The firm had zero layoffs as a result of the acquisition, bringing its two full-time members, Glendening and Brian Doory on board.
Glendening worked on Democratic presidential and gubernatorial campaigns and served as political director for the Democratic Governors Association prior to founding and running Scarlet Oak.
Doory is also joining Firehouse as MD, the same role he held at Scarlet Oak. He has advised campaigns internationally, across the U.S. and Maryland, previously working with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tom Dashcle (D-SD) as well as Governors Jon Corzine (D-NJ), Martin O’Malley (D-MD) and Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-IL).
Scarlet Oak’s proprietary network of more than 1,200 political operatives will immediately strengthen Firehouses’ bipartisan capabilities in every state capitol and congressional district, the agency said in a statement.
Scarlet Oak's client list has included the National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, RepresentUS, Share Our Strength and Rhino.
"We have historically had clients turn to us for deepening their grasstops in the state's local engagement, coalition building, ally development, that kind of thing," Glendening said. "But we never had the ability to really cast ourselves as a national communications firm with a reach from a reputational level of coast to coast changing public opinion at that level."
Firehouse credited Scarlet Oak’s ability to build constituencies and execute grasstops and grassroots campaigns as one factor behind the acquisition.
Alex Conant and Terry Sullivan founded Firehouse in 2016 to run “authentic persuasion campaigns for corporate clients,” according to the firm. The agency expanded its operations in 2022, launching offices in New York and Florida.
"Scarlet Oak is a Democratic-founded firm; joining with a Republican-founded firm really gives us increased reach across the country," Conant said. "Their network of operatives and ability to run grassroots campaigns really enhances Firehouse's capabilities."
The firm received a major investment from Semper Fi Partners, Aldine Capital and Wintrust Bank in July 2022. Conant and Sullivan remain majority shareholders. This is their first acquisition since the announcement.
This story was updated on January 26 with additional information.