Two D.C.-based firms, Elmendorf | Ryan and Home Front Communications, have merged to create Subject Matter, a 70-person government affairs, advertising and communications agency.

According to a release, Subject Matter combines the extensive legislative and policy expertise of Elmendorf | Ryan with the digital, advertising, content, creative and media skills from Home Front. “With Subject Matter we’re not only looking at today’s public affairs challenges, we’re thinking about what those challenges will be in 5 or 10 years,” said firm principal, Steve Elmendorf. “We believe the chemistry of our two firms is a perfect fit for a future that is driven by savvy political judgment, is content based, and is digitally oriented. Most of all, we wanted to build something that is organized around integrated solutions and includes a complete range of services. That’s the firm we’re creating.”

The release also stated that the four firm principals – Elmendorf, Paul Frick, Jimmy Ryan and Dan Sallick – have extensive policy and political communications experience. Elmendorf, Frick and Sallick worked closely together in the 1990s for then House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt. Ryan worked for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, as well as Senator Charles Schumer.

The combined firm, continued the release, will represent a wide range of corporate, not-for-profit, association and government clients. The firms will retire their current names and rebrand under the new name. In 2016, both firms will relocate into a single office.

“I can’t think of a better combination of strategists than Steve, Jimmy, Dan and Paul to lead a new firm. I have worked with all of them in the political trenches and each brings a unique set of skills and talents that build on one another. They will be a strong force in the market,” said David Plouffe, longtime political strategist and senior advisor to Uber.

It was also announced today that Debra DeShong will join the firm as executive vice president and managing director for public affairs. DeShong most recently served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy in Tokyo. Previously, DeShong served in senior communications roles for the Kerry Presidential Campaign, the Democratic National Committee and Congressman Steny Hoyer, in addition to running her own public affairs firm.

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