As goes Omaha, so goes the White House?

As goes Omaha, so goes the White House?

By Ryan Long, BGR Group Principal

Former Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) once proposed moving the American capital to Nebraska. While that is not likely to happen anytime soon, Omaha may be the most consequential city in the 2024 election. Most people would shrug that off because it is not in one of the so-called swing states. However, the voters of Omaha may very well determine the next President.

A candidate must secure 270 electoral votes to win the Presidency. Using the Cook Political Report Presidential Ratings, President Biden currently projects to have 226 electoral votes from states ranked as likely or safe Democrat. Former President Trump currently has 219 electoral votes that are currently ranked safe or likely Republican.  Add in North Carolina that is currently rated as lean Republican and the number for President Trump jumps up to 235.

That leaves six states currently rated as toss up, totaling 79 electoral votes. According to the Real Clear Politics polling average Trump has a lead of 4.6% or higher in three of them; Georgia with a total of 16 electoral votes, Arizona with 11 and Nevada with 6. If all of those are put in the Trump column, he is now up to 268 electoral votes. Close but still shy of the needed 270.

Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are considered the Democrats’ historical blue wall. Despite quite a few close races before 2016, Wisconsin hadn’t voted for a Republican since 1984 while Michigan and Pennsylvania hadn’t voted for a Republican nominee since 1988. Trump beat Hilary Clinton in 2016 in all three states with margins under one percent. In 2020 those states swung back to the Democrats with Biden winning Michigan by less than three percent, Pennsylvania by less than two percent and Wisconsin by less than one percent.

On the Real Clear Politics average Trump is currently ahead in all three states but with thin margins of two percent or less in all three. A victory in any of three likely leads to a second Trump Administration.  For the sake of argument only let’s say the historical blue wall holds and votes with President Biden.  That would net him 270 electoral votes and the presidency…maybe.

Maine and Nebraska award two electoral votes to the state-wide winner and one electoral vote for the winner of each congressional seat in the state.  Cook Political Report currently rates Maine’s Second Congressional District as likely Republican.  Given that Trump won the district in 2020 by almost 7.5%, he is the prohibitive favorite to win that district again in 2024.

This is where Omaha comes in. Popular former Air Force General, four term Republican Congressman Don Bacon won renomination easily on Tuesday but the district has voted for the Democrat nominee two times in the last four presidential elections. President Obama carried the district in 2008 but it reverted back to the GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. In 2016 the district went for Trump but it switched to Biden in 2020. For this exercise let’s say Nebraska reverts back to Trump in 2024. Instead of a 270 to 268 Biden electoral college victory, there would be a 269-269 tie. In the event of a tie, the House of Representatives would determine the next President based on a vote of state congressional delegations. Currently, the GOP controls 27 delegations and the Democrats control 22 with Minnesota being tied. Any vote would be taken in the new Congress, which will be sworn in in January of 2025.

The nation’s eyes turn to Omaha every June for the College Baseball World Series. Come November, all eyes could be on Omaha again if the presidential vote falls a certain way

BGR Releases May 2024 Quarterly Outlook

The 2024 elections are just six months away. In the May 2024 Quarterly Outlook, BGR’s policy experts examine the state of the political and policy landscape ahead of the national conventions later this summer. The Quarterly Outlook also includes procedural primers on the Congressional Review Act and Budget Reconciliation, as well as commentary from each of BGR’s practice groups on what’s to come in the next few months.

Read More Here


Leading Government and Public Affairs Firms Join Together to Establish Advocus Partners

Bipartisan Team with a National Footprint Provides Comprehensive Advocacy Offering

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 21, 2024) – Eight of the nation’s top government and public affairs companies have joined together to form Advocus Partners, a comprehensive advocacy company with a nationwide footprint. Advocus provides a full suite of advocacy disciplines from lobbying and strategic communications to polling and grassroots mobilization. Advocus is well-positioned to develop and execute large-scale public policy initiatives and advocacy campaigns at the federal, state, local, and international levels.

Advocus member companies include BGR Group, California-based Capitol Advocacy, Florida-based Capital City Consulting, The Herald Group, Ohio-based Hicks Partners, Hilltop Public Solutions, Stateside Associates, and The Tarrance Group. They operate independently and collaborate to serve clients.

Advocus was formed to bring together top lobbying and public affairs firms from across the country to provide comprehensive and customized solutions to clients’ advocacy needs. Organized as a holding company, Advocus Partners is bipartisan and geographically diverse and offers every tool of government advocacy.

“Advocus Partners represents the best of the best in consulting and advocacy from across the country,” Capitol Advocacy Managing Partner John Latimer said. “With 19 offices covering the most important markets in the country,  the companies of Advocus are uniquely positioned to offer integrated and comprehensive advocacy solutions for our clients. Our collective history of successful advocacy efforts and campaign operations give clients the confidence that we can address any challenge they face.”

“Our firm is proud to be part of Advocus Partners,” BGR Group Chairman and CEO Bob Wood said. “Advocus’ bipartisan team excels at providing public affairs support, policy analysis, and strategies designed to achieve results. We’ve already seen how our Advocus team members and clients have benefited from this expanded collaboration and offering.”

“Advocus Partners is designed to provide clients with every component of advocacy campaigns regardless of scale or location,” said Craig Pattee, Managing Director of Advocus Partners. “We have the team, the tools, and the experience to execute both broad and targeted advocacy. Our partners are already working together to serve clients’ needs and achieve success.”

Advocus offerings include Corporate Advisory Services, Federal Government Services, State & Local Government Services, Strategic Communications, Coalition Development, Grasstops & Grassroots Mobilization, Polling & Research, Government Markets & Procurement, International Relations, Crisis & Litigation Support, Public Affairs Campaigns, and Digital Advocacy & Paid Media.

For more information on Advocus please visit

CONTACT: Doug McGinn, The Herald Group (

Utah, North Carolina, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin Are 5 Best States for Asian Investment

New Index from BGR Analytics Draws Data from 136 Categories





WASHINGTON, D.C., March 6, 2024BGR Analytics — the data practice of BGR Group, Washington’s leading government affairs and public relations firm — has launched the 2024 BGR Best States for Asian Investment Index, which ranks all 50 states based on their desirability for Asia-outbound investment in the U.S.

Utah is the best state for Asian investment, followed in order by North Carolina, Colorado, Texas and Wisconsin, according to the new Index, which draws data from 136 categories, organized into 10 Data Category Groups.

The BGR Best States for Asian Investment Index is the most recent product created by BGR Analytics. It joins the BGR Impact Index, the BGR Energy Security Index and the BGR Investment Security Index.

Asian investment in the U.S., which has been on the rise over the past decade, has accelerated in the wake of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS Act.

Combined with the 50-state advocacy and policy analysis firepower of BGR Group, the BGR Best States for Asian Investment Index will be an indispensable tool for Asian governments and companies that wish to establish and expand their U.S. manufacturing and operations footprint.

“When governments and corporations are poised to make billion-dollar investments in the U.S., they need the best, most comprehensive data, combined with on-the-ground support and relationships,” said BGR Group CEO Bob Wood. “This new Index, coupled with the best-in-class state advocacy practices of BGR Group, will further differentiate us from our competitors.”

Utah: Best State for Asian Investment

Utah achieved the top spot among all 50 states by ranking in the Top 15 in eight of the 10 Data Category Groups: Economic Profile (Roman numeral I in the chart below), Business Climate (II), Demographics & Asian Assimilation (III), Manufacturing Advantage (IV), Connectivity & Infrastructure (V), Innovation & Knowledge Management (VI), Strength of Workforce (VII), Competitive Pay (VIII) and Public Health and Safety (X). Cost of Living (IX) is the remaining Data Category Group.

Utah has strong demographics in terms of population growth, labor force participation and high level of educational attainment. It also enjoys one of the lowest income inequality and unemployment rates and has high quality-of-life appeal.

Its inflation of economic input was modest, meaning the input cost for state economy remained low. Combined with Utah’s diverse industries, the state had one of highest COVID-rebound (2019-2022) economies.

In recent years the state also demonstrated solid growth in the manufacturing sector in particular. For example, between 2018 and 2022, manufacturing GDP growth averaged an annual 9.3%, compared to manufacturing stalwart states such as North Carolina’s 3.1% and Indiana’s 4.8%.

Utah also boasts a good public health and safety record and has the best aggregate household financial health (lowest mortgage, student loan, auto and credit card delinquency rates), all of which contributes to an optimistic outlook.

Utah is already the home of more than 20 Japanese businesses, and the state government has led trade delegations to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The only Index Data Category Group where Utah performs below the middle of the pack percentile is Cost of Living. Utah ranks 35 among all 50 states in cost of living. The strong economy and rapid population growth have driven up housing demand, raising prices. That, combined with high interest rates and the overall desirability of quality-of-life, have contributed to Utah’s relatively high cost of living.

North Carolina, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin

Each of the other Top 5 states has seen significant investment from Asia, thanks to their overall desirability, as seen in the Index rankings. Vietnamese automaker VinFast broke ground in North Carolina last year for an electric-vehicle manufacturing plant. Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. is investing in a carbon-capture venture in Colorado. South Korean chip giant Samsung is building a new semiconductor fabrication plant in Texas. Japan is a large investor in Wisconsin, with manufacturing facilities for construction equipment, medical technology and food firms.

Methodology and Sourcing:

The BGR Best States for Asian Investment Index serves as an aggregate, one-stop roadmap for U.S. stateside inbound investment interest. A total index score was calculated for each state. The total score was the summation of scores from the 10 Data Category Groups which, in turn, comprise the 136 individual indicators. Each indicator was normalized and scored from 0 to 100.

Data for the Index was collected from open sources and created by BGR Group using proprietary methodology. Data sources include: U.S. Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, County Business Pattern, the State Business Incentives national database, George Mason University, the Equable Institute, National Right To Work, the Tax Foundation, the New York Federal Reserve, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Department of the Interior, the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Zillow, ADP, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, PitchBook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the International Trade Administration, the Social Security Administration, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, the Kaiser Family Foundation and BGR proprietary research.


Frank Ahrens

BGR PR Principal, Head of BGR Analytics



About BGR Group (

Founded in 1991, BGR Group is a premier government affairs and public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C., London, Austin, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. BGR specializes in four key areas: bipartisan government affairs, strategic communications, business advisory services and analytics. BGR brings together some of the most accomplished policy experts, public opinion influencers and issue advocates from across the political spectrum.

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BGR Group Names Dan Greenwood Head of Defense and Critical Technologies Practice

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 5, 2024) – BGR Group, Washington, D.C.’s premier bipartisan lobbying and public relations firm, today named Col. Dan Greenwood (USMC, Ret.), as Head of BGR’s Defense and Critical Technologies Practice.

“Dan’s extensive military career gives him a unique perspective on the needs and dynamics of the defense industry,” BGR President Erskine Wells said. “Since joining BGR, he has helped lead and build our Defense Practice with outstanding client service and innovative thinking. We are proud to officially name him Practice Head.”

“It’s been a tremendous privilege to help build BGR’s Defense Practice and I am honored to be named Practice Head,” Greenwood said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and our clients to continue delivering successful outcomes and advocating for an industry that supports our men and women in uniform.”

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Greenwood’s 29-year active-duty military career included several pivotal national security policy positions focused on Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Prior to joining BGR in 2022, he served as Deputy Assistant to the President and the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs in the West Wing. He also previously served the Senior Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council and as the Marine Corps’ Head of Congressional Affairs in the House of Representatives.


About BGR Group (

Founded in 1991, BGR Group is a premier government affairs and public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C., London, Austin, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. BGR specializes in three key areas: bipartisan government affairs, strategic communications, and business advisory services. BGR brings together some of the most accomplished policy experts, public opinion influencers, and issue advocates from across the political spectrum.

Black History Month A Source of Pride, Inspiration

For Keiffer Mitchell and Labriah Lee Holt, both Vice Presidents in BGR’s State and Local Advocacy Practice, Black History Month provides a sense of pride and inspiration. Keiffer and Labriah are well known and regarded as leaders in their communities and the field of advocacy. They both follow in the footsteps of civil rights pioneers who fostered hard fought and positive change that continue to impact Americans today.

Keiffer comes from a long line of civil rights pioneers. His grandfather, Clarence Mitchell Jr., was the head of the NAACP Washington Bureau during the civil rights era – he was essentially the lobbyist for the NAACP during the effort to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. His grandmother, Juanita Jackson Mitchell, was the first African American woman to practice law in the state of Maryland, beginning her practice in 1950. She became a civil rights lawyer who helped to desegregate the schools and parks in the state of Maryland.

“Black history is American history and part of the fabric of our country. It’s what makes our country the greatest country in the world. Those we consider historical figures were and are everyday Americans doing extraordinary things to help not just the Black community but the entire country.” Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr.

Labriah, and Atlanta native and Managing Director of BGR’s new Atlanta office, said she is particularly inspired by former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, Jr., who was first elected in 1974. As Atlanta’s first Black mayor, Jackson was a groundbreaking figure. He prioritized expanding the Atlanta airport in a way that made economic opportunity accessible to people across Atlanta and the entire Southeast. Labriah said Jackson’s legacy is a foundation on which Atlanta continues to thrive.

“The vision Mayor Jackson set out for Atlanta continues today. The work he did opened up doors for economic access and incorporating that vision of civil rights and inclusivity for all in America has had an impact far beyond Atlanta. As we open our Atlanta office, it is full circle to see BGR build on the legacy of growth and opportunity Mayor Jackson established here.” Labriah Lee Holt

Keiffer said the impact of Black History Month is not isolated to a single month. Instead, it is a part of the fabric of the community every day as unsung heroes among us make a difference in places ranging from community centers to schools to music studios. Labriah said that she carries Black history with her throughout the year. Through her work and community engagement, she shares triumphs as well as challenges to help everyone understand the importance of that history. Both Keiffer and Labriah agreed that Black history provides a legacy that can help all Americans learn and build and grow.


BGR Advisory Board Member Heather Nauert speaks about her recent trip to Ukraine

BGR Advisory Board Member Heather Nauert speaks about her recent trip to Ukraine traveling 1,300 miles by car throughout the war torn country.

Listen to the Vandenberg Coalition Podcast, Vandenberg Flash Focus to hear more about the trip.

Listen Here


Watch The Record With Greta Van Susteren to see live footage from the trip.

BGR Group and BHA Strategy Announce Strategic Partnership

Top Firms in Washington, D.C. and Nashville, Tennessee Will Offer Clients Federal and State Lobbying Expertise

Washington, D.C. (February 14, 2024) – BGR Group, Washington, D.C.’s premier bipartisan lobbying and public relations firm, and BHA Strategy, the leading public affairs advisory firm in Nashville, Tennessee, have announced the establishment of a strategic partnership to provide federal, state, and local advocacy services in Tennessee, a top state in the U.S. for advanced industry job growth.

Building off the growth of BGR’s offices in Austin, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, BHA, led by Blake Harris, Governor Bill Lee’s first Chief of Staff, will support BGR’s clients in Tennessee through legislative and executive branch lobbying while maintaining the firm’s own roster of clients involved commercial real estate development, healthcare, infrastructure, and higher education issues. BHA will work with BGR to offer its lobbying capabilities to the leading growth sectors in Nashville including health, finance, hospitality and entertainment, and advanced manufacturing.

Bob Wood, Chairman and CEO of BGR Group, commented, “The synergies between our two firms on international, federal and state advocacy, public affairs, and economic development will allow us to provide elite client servicing by sharing resources and working together. We are excited about this partnership.”

Formed in 2021, BHA has quickly become one of the leading public affairs firms in Tennessee with a reputation for achieving client results. In addition to Blake Harris, BHA’s unmatched policy and political experience in Tennessee includes Brent Easley, President; Laine Arnold, Co-founder and Senior Vice President; David Topping, Vice President of Research, and Douglas Sellers, Senior Advisor.

BHA CEO Blake Harris commented, “We are thrilled to partner with D.C.’s most effective lobbying firm to continue growing our client services through expanded expertise in governmental affairs, public relations, and due diligence research. Tennessee is experiencing unprecedented economic growth led by low taxes, a robust workforce and a steady political climate. This growth has established a firm foundation for an impactful and flourishing partnership between BHA and BGR in Tennessee and beyond.”

CNBC ranked Tennessee as the third best state for business in 2023 and the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is one of the top five cities in the nation for job outpacing competing cities such as New York, L.A., Chicago, Denver, and Charlotte.

Consistently ranked as a Bloomberg Government “Standout” Firm, BGR Group is recognized for its policy expertise in health care, technology, appropriations, defense and financial services. Loren Monroe, a BGR principal and co-head of the firm’s State and Local Advocacy Practice, commented, “Working together, I am excited to connect our federal policy experts with business leaders in Tennessee.  With competitive elections for President and control of Congress in November, there are significant policy implications for 2025.”


About BGR Group (

Founded in 1991, BGR Group is a premier government affairs and public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C., London, Austin, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. BGR specializes in three key areas: bipartisan government affairs, strategic communications, and business advisory services. BGR brings together some of the most accomplished policy experts, public opinion influencers, and issue advocates from across the political spectrum.

About BHA Strategy (BHA Strategy):

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, BHA Strategy is a full-service, strategic consulting firm providing expertise in government affairs, public relations, and corporate intelligence. With deep roots in both political campaigns and public service, BHA’s team applies winning campaign strategies and senior advisor expertise to the biggest challenges facing startups, corporations, and causes. BHA retains a political skill set that includes public opinion research, digital marketing, and media production/placement. The firm’s core focus is multi-state government affairs, strategic communication, and reputation management.

Starting 2024 on a High Note

As January comes to a close, it’s been a great month at BGR Group! We were once again listed in the top five performing lobbying firms according to POLITICO. We also announced the opening of our new office in Atlanta, Georgia, led by Georgia natives William Crozer and Labriah Lee Holt, elected three new firm principals, Robin ColwellDan Greenwood, and Fred Turner, and welcomed our new Defense Fellow Thomas Williams. The BGR team is looking forward to a great 2024!

Read POLITICO Article Here

BGR Group Names Jo Maney Chief of Marketing and Engagement

Washington, D.C., (January 30, 2024) — BGR Group, the premier lobbying and communications firm in the nation’s capital, today promoted Jo Maney to the newly created position of Chief of Marketing and Engagement.

Jo will oversee advertising and promotion for BGR Group, manage the brand and the extensive content produced by BGR’s practices, and continue to lead the firm’s public engagement. She will remain a principal in BGR’s Public Relations practice, BGR Group’s communications company, and the president of the BGR Foundation.

“BGR is thrilled Jo has agreed to take on this new responsibility, which will help us continue to grow and innovate,” said Erskine Wells, president of BGR Group. “We wanted a strategic, respected, and dedicated colleague to head our engagement efforts. Jo was the natural choice.”

Jo has been with BGR Public Relations for 12 years. She previously worked as communications director for the House Rules Committee under Chairman David Dreier (R-California) and in other congressional offices prior to that. Her new position takes effect immediately.

About BGR Group (

Founded in 1991, BGR Group is a premier government affairs and public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, London and now Atlanta, Georgia. BGR specializes in three key areas: bipartisan government affairs, strategic communications, and business advisory services. BGR brings together some of the most accomplished policy experts, public opinion influencers, and issue advocates from across the political spectrum.