A top GOP consulting shop is laying down a marker in the Lone Star State, opening an Austin office that promises to be a major player in the lucrative industry of helping Texas Republicans win primary and general elections.
Kansas City-based Axiom Strategies, which bills itself as the largest Republican consulting firm in the country, announced Thursday that it was moving into Austin, where it plans to expand a bare-bones operation previously based in Dallas. The firm is known for bare-knuckle politics and taking a chance on outsiders, a natural fit for a state in which most electoral action happens during the GOP primaries in March.
The firm has a direct link to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, whose Houston-based presidential campaign is being managed by Axiom Strategies founder and principal Jeff Roe. The hard-hitting strategist is not a stranger to Texas politics, having had a hand in the two of the highest-profile races out of the state in recent memory: the 2012 presidential campaign of then-Gov. Rick Perry and the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign of then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who lost to Cruz.
To lead the Austin office, the firm has hired Matt Langston, chief of staff to state Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas during the 2015 legislative session. Langston also managed Huffines' 2014 campaign, helping him topple 24-year incumbent John Carona in the Republican primary.
In a statement Thursday, Huffines praised Langston as the "best new, leading political consultant in Texas and across the country."
"There’s a lot of work here in Texas, and there’s a lot of new opportunity here in the state, and Axiom is willing to put its firepower behind a lot of these candidates," Langston told The Texas Tribune on Thursday. "I think there's a lot of room to grow in a state like Texas."
Langston is expected to be joined by other consultants as the Austin office builds its portfolio. He is currently working on at least five state-level races, including the campaign of Austin ophthalmologist Dawn Buckingham, who is running to replace state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay.