Turnaround Detroit

Gragert Research assisted in the successful write-in campaign of Mike Duggan for Mayor of Detroit.

In its case study of the race, media strategist Joe Slade White & Company explained how research was used by the SuperPac Turnaround Detroit to help secure Duggan’s historic victory. Consultants Joe Slade White and Ben Nuckels wrote that research helped the team anticipate and prepare for attacks. Additionally, they noted that our research helped turn one of opponent Benny Napoleon’s strengths — his background as a crime fighter — into his greatest weakness.

In the final days of the general election we took a single piece of opposition research from a new story of how someone had parked in then Deputy Police Chief Benny Napoleon’s parking spot and suddenly 20 Detroit police officers were taken off of crime fighting duty to guard Napoleon’s parking spot in shifts, night and day. Using a simple piece of stock film, we instantly created a spot that turned the incident into a humorous reflection on how Benny Napoleon had made his parking spot, “the safest place in Detroit.” It became a viral spot that everyone was talking about in the days leading up to the election and on election night, Napoleon even referred to the spot in his concession speech. Joe Slade White and Ben Nuckels

San Francisco Proposition D

In 2011 Gragert Research helped defeat San Francisco’s Proposition D, a pension reform plan proposed by public defender and San Francisco mayoral candidate Jeff Adachi.

Adachi’s initiative would have increased pension contribution rates for many existing city employees, reduced contribution rates and pension benefits for most future city employees, limited cost-of-living adjustments to pension benefits and prohibited the City from picking up any employee’s contribution for pension benefits. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, all 11 members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the Chamber of Commerce and labor unions in the city supported an alternative ballot initiative.

Our research revealed major donors to the San Franciscans for Pension Reform, the backers of Proposition D, had contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans attacking workers’ rights and collective bargaining in Ohio and Wisconsin. Further, those donors had provided  hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and committees, including George W. Bush, the Republican National Committee, John McCain, Sarah Palin, the California Republican Party and Arnold Schwarzenegger. That information was used in ads by groups opposing Proposition D and in media reports.

But the two main contributors to Proposition D – venture capitalist Michael Moritz and businessman George Hume, who have donated $250,000 apiece – have also contributed to Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin who supported those states’ polarizing, national-headline grabbing efforts this year to dramatically curb unions’ rights. “Adachi is the front man, but Hume and Moritz are the anti-union billionaires behind the curtain,” said Nathan Ballard, strategist for the Yes on C campaign to pass a separate pension reform ballot measure backed by Mayor Ed Lee, the Board of Supervisors and labor unions. Whether he knows it or not, Adachi’s being used by the very same billionaires who have mounted a campaign against unions all around the country,” Ballard said. San Francisco Chronicle