Fresh off managing Pat Gerard’s win, Tom Alte launches consulting firm

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Hot on the heels of a major political victory, Pat Gerard campaign manager Tom Alte has launched his own political consulting firm.

Blue Ticket Consulting officially opened for business Monday.

Alte moved to St. Petersburg last year and quickly entered the political arena, taking the helm of former Largo Mayor Pat Gerard’s campaign for Pinellas County Commission. Despite other Democrats being largely out-funded by Republican opposition, Alte and Gerard managed to keep pace with former State Rep. Ed Hooper’s strong financial backing. Hooper raised just $41,000 more than Gerard, who managed to bring in $200,000. The Democrat in a similar contest in Hillsborough County only raised half that.

Alte said his goal is to build Democratic involvement in local politics by working with candidates to maximize their fundraising potential. He says with the right teams in place and with enough guidance, Democrats can begin to match GOP fundraising.

Alte launched the business after noticing three challenges he says Democrats face – local candidates are underserved, stretched thin and under-staffed. Those are problems Alte hopes to correct.

“We’re taking lessons learned on top-tier races and making them available to anyone willing to serve.  That means dedicated staff to support your candidacy, organized and proven fundraising methods to finance your plan, and the political structure to deliver your message,” Alte writes on his website.

Alte previously worked as the finance director for St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman’s campaign that unseated incumbent Republican Bill Foster. Under his guidance, the Kriseman campaign raised nearly $500,000, more than any previous candidate. He also worked as deputy campaign manager for David Gill during the 2012 congressional race in Illinois. That bid, however, was unsuccessful.

Alte’s partner, both professionally and romantically, is Meagan Salisbury. Salisbury also worked on the Illinois congressional campaign. She also managed Scott Orsini’s campaign against State Rep. Kathleen Peters. The campaign was unsuccessful, but Orsini’s polling numbers jumped impressively during the final weeks of campaigning. Salisbury is also a law student at Stetson University College of Law.

Look for Alte to get his feet wet during upcoming municipal elections in places like Gulfport and St. Pete Beach.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.