Skip to main content
Blog Government & Politics

John King Turns to O’Malley Vets for His Gubernatorial Campaign

Former U.S. Education secretary John B. King Jr., who announced last week that he’s seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, has begun to assemble a team of campaign advisers and consultants. Some have ties to former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

Joe O’Hern is the campaign manager. Much of his career has been in Iowa — where in 2016, he was O’Malley’s caucus director in the Hawkeye State when the former Maryland governor was running for president. Most recently, O’Hern was campaign manager for Mike Espy, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Mississippi, and before that, he was working for New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker in Iowa on Booker’s presidential campaign.

O’Hern has also done campaign work for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), for former Iowa Reps. Leonard Boswell and Dave Loebsack and for the Iowa Democratic Party.

Takirra Winfield Dixon, a Baltimore native and communications consultant, is working as a senior adviser to the campaign. She has worked for King in a variety of capacities, including at the Education Department and at The Education Trust, the national nonprofit he heads. She’s also an O’Malley administration veteran, serving in a variety of roles, including as press secretary.

Another O’Malley connection: King is using Dixon Davis Media, which worked for O’Malley’s campaigns and also did consulting work for King’s former boss, President Obama.

The rest of the consulting team so far consists of seasoned Democratic firms:

  • Blueprint Interactive will do the King campaign’s digital ads.
  • Mission Control Inc. is the direct mail firm.
  • GBAO Research + Strategy will handle the campaign’s polling. The firm most recently worked for new Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D). One of the firm’s principals, Margie Omero, is married to Julian Mulvey, the media consultant for Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot’s gubernatorial campaign.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our website. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

If you have any questions, please email editor Danielle Gaines at [email protected]

To republish, copy the following text and paste it into your HTML editor.


Creative Commons License AttributionCreative Commons Attribution
John King Turns to O’Malley Vets for His Gubernatorial Campaign