Daniel J. Bryan, one of the architects of a communications strategy that helped Phil Murphy become the first Democratic governor in 44 years to win re-election last year, will leave state government over the next few weeks to head two new political organizations headed by First Lady Tammy Murphy.
New Jersey — Stronger Fairer Forward is being launched today as a non-profit policy advocacy group that will empower policies that “strengthen and expand the middle class and provide opportunity for everyone.”
The organization will also have a national focus, “protecting and reinforcing our democracy from the ongoing nationwide assault on election officials and state election laws,” according to a statement.
Bryan will serve as executive director of the advocacy group and The Stronger Fairer Forward PAC, which is being set to back candidates across the U.S. who support their policies.
Mollie Binotto, who managed Murphy’s re-election campaign, will serve on the board of both groups, along with a Murphy friend, Kristen McMahon.
“Phil and I have spent the past four years working tirelessly to make New Jersey a stronger and fairer place for everyone,” Tammy Murphy said. “Though we’ve come far, there is still much more work to be done. These organizations will advocate for policies and candidates to further strengthen our economy and provide opportunity for all. Now is the time for action.”
Murphy is stepping up his national profile, although he has speculation that he might run for President in the future.
He will assume the chairmanship of the National Governors Association this year, along with the vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association. In 2023, he will become DGA chairman for a second time.
Bryan was the chief of staff to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and worked on Murphy’s 2017 campaign before joining the administration in 2018 as press secretary and deputy communications director. He became a senior advisor to the governor for strategic communications in 2019.
He was one of the masterminds of the Pool House Strategy that parleyed an investment of less than $20,000 into making Murphy better known and more popular in a way that about $15 million in paid TV ads could not.
By constructing a relatively inexpensive virtual TV home studio in the pool house of Murphy’s Middletown home, they were able to advance a direct-to consumer tactic that didn’t rely on local media and instead put the governor in front of real New Jerseyans via national television and radio appearances that bolstered his name ID and approval ratings during the coronavirus pandemic.
Murphy won a second term by three percentage points, bucking a tide that led to Republican gains in the New Jersey legislature and a victory by Republican Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia gubernatorial election.
“If we hadn’t put the policies in place that we did. If we hadn’t built the coalition that we built, I think we could have gotten washed away as well,” Murphy said in an appearance on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour on Talk Radio 77 WABC last month.
Binotto, who managed Rep. Mikie Sherrill’s 2018 campaign, has joined Sena Kozar Strategies, a national political strategy and media firm, as vice president.
During his first term, Murphy relied on another non-profit, New Direction New Jersey, to advocate for his policies.
The new groups were first reported by the Star-Ledger.