Mike Walrond Hires Firm to Guide Congressional Bid

Pastor Mike Walrond. (Photo: Walrond Campaign)

Pastor Mike Walrond. (Photo: Walrond Campaign)

BrownMillerGroup, the consulting firm that Eliot Spitzer paid about $1 million during his failed comptroller bid last year, is now spearheading Pastor Mike Walrond’s campaign against Congressman Charlie Rangel.

“The campaign overall is about empowerment and community building. Mike has built a team that’s committed to engagement and grassroots organizing. That’s what BrownMiller represents,” Linara Davidson, a spokeswoman for Mr. Walrond, told the Observer. “This race will be won door step by door step, one voter at a time. That’s what BrownMiller is committed to. Their record speaks for itself.”

The firm is known for specializing in outreach to African-American voters, who still make up a large chunk of the uptown Manhattan and Bronx district. Though Mr. Spitzer came a few points shy of beating now-Comptroller Scott Stringer, he ran up a large margin of victory in black neighborhoods across the city.

BrownMillerGroup will be managing Mr. Walrond’s field operations, which includes identifying and keeping in contact with voters. Mr. Walrond’s church lies in Harlem, Mr. Rangel’s traditional base, and the firm could potentially help the pastor peel votes from Mr. Rangel’s bloc.

One founder of the firm, Chris Miller, was an early architect of the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, and Peter Brown, another founder, managed the field operations of Bill Thompson’s 2009 mayoral race against Michael Bloomberg, Ms. Davidson said.

“They are passionate about candidates who are passionate about empowering communities,” she said.

Mr. Walrond is also facing State Senator Adriano Espaillat in the Democratic primary. The three candidates will debate for the first time tonight in Harlem.