BULLETIN: Keith Haller, a communications and polling master who was a fixture on the Maryland civic and political scene for decades – and was a co-founder of Maryland Matters – died Tuesday after a months-long battle with cancer. He was 70 and lived in Rockville.
A native New Yorker, Haller rose to prominence in Maryland as chief of staff to former U.S. Rep. Michael Barnes (D), who became a lifelong friend. In the 1980’s, Haller established Potomac Inc., a public affairs and polling company that attracted a diverse stable of clients – from Fortune 500 companies to government leaders to political campaigns to nonprofit groups.
The Daily Record newspaper once referred to him as “the man behind the curtain.”
Haller seemed to have a hand in every aspect of Maryland civic life, especially in Montgomery County. He worked with and promoted numerous nonprofit and community groups and causes. He was a prominent member of a group of community leaders that pushed for the Purple Line light rail project – now under construction – and in the spring and early summer was working for the pro-development group Empower Montgomery, which was seeking to influence Montgomery County elections.
Haller loved music and the arts, sports, and politics – which he knew and appreciated from both the 30,000-foot perspective and at the most granular levels.
He is survived by his wife, Stacy Pagos Haller, and his son, Michael Haller.
We here at Maryland Matters are bereft at the news of Keith’s passing, which we just learned about at dawn Wednesday. We will have more to say about our friend Keith in the coming hours – along with more about his life and any details about a memorial service or other relevant information, when it becomes available.