Terris, Barnes & Walters is a full service campaign firm, specializing in general consulting and direct mail. Since the company was founded in 1988, we have run over 100 races in California and created winning direct mail for over 350 successful campaigns across the country. In the past 10 election cycles, we have been honored with 65 Pollie awards – the political equivalent of the Oscars – from the Association of American Political Consultants. Most importantly, we know what it takes to win and have the record to prove it.
Terris, Barnes & Walters was founded on the principle that hard-hitting media is required to cut through the clutter of competing messages in order to win attention and votes. In a world in which the voter is bombarded with information and eye grabbing appeals, successful media must win the notice of voters and convey a compelling message; candidates and ballot measures compete not just with their opponents for attention, but with the full spectrum of commercial advertising appeals.
The Creative Edge
One of the hallmarks of Terris, Barnes & Walters is that Michael Terris, Barry Barnes or Erica Walters is personally involved in the concept and creation of every piece of work. The principals bring to Terris, Barnes & Walters the experience of almost two decades of creating winning campaigns. Meet Michael Terris, Barry Barnes and Erica Walters.
Michael Terris received his professional training from some of America’s most prestigious political media firms. Following graduation from Harvard University, Terris joined the Washington, D.C. media firm of consultant Robert Squier in 1985. He conducted opposition research and wrote scripts for Michigan Governor James Blanchard’s re-election campaign and then Florida Governor Bob Graham’s first campaign for U.S. Senate.
In 1987, Terris returned to his native San Francisco to join Clinton Reilly Campaigns as Research Director. Terris assisted with the writing and editing of the direct mail pieces for Nancy Pelosi in her first campaign for Congress and produced direct mail for several San Francisco initiative campaigns.
In the spring of 1988, Terris worked for Presidential candidate Al Gore, Jr. in Wyoming, directing a television spot with former Governor Ed Herschler and organizing the Sweetwater County victory over Governor Michael Dukakis.
In the summer of 1988, Terris founded Terris Communications (which has grown into Terris, Barnes & Walters) and signed up Angela Alioto to become the firm’s first client. After Alioto placed 7th in 1986, Terris surprised many in San Francisco by using creative direct mail to help Alioto win a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Since then, Terris guided the firm as it grew in clientele and partners through the 1990s. Today, he is actively involved in marketing, creative, message development, earned media and targeting for a wide variety of the firm’s clients. He remains committed to hands-on, personal service for his clients large and small around the country.
Michael Terris lives in San Francisco with his wife Maureen and three sons.
A partner since 1999, Barry Barnes has managed most of the firm's public policy and local ballot measure accounts. Under Barnes’ guidance, thirty-one out of forty school bond and parcel tax measures the firm has assisted have passed – most at the 66% level. Barnes has also been responsible for many of the firm’s major accounts, including stadium campaigns for both the San Francisco 49ers and Giants and candidate campaigns across the country at the local, state house and congressional levels for clients such as the Florida State House Democrats, Connecticut Senate Democrats, and Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard.
In addition, Barnes has handled the firm’s message development and rapid-response campaigns for the firm’s business clients in Santa Clara County. Recent clients include referendum-response projects for the Town & Country and Coyote Valley Research Park projects in the City of San Jose and a comprehensive community outreach effort for the Rivermark project in the City of Santa Clara.
Before joining the firm in 1995, Barnes managed campaigns throughout Northern California. In 1994, he directed a staff of 20 field organizers as Santa Clara County Field Director in the Kathleen Brown for Governor campaign. In the fall of 1992, he successfully ran former San Jose Councilmember Margie Fernandes' first race for City Council and also served as Fernandes' legislative director for over three years at San Jose City Hall.
In the spring of 1992, Barnes served as field staff director for the effort to build a professional baseball stadium in San Jose. Prior to that, he organized school bond campaigns in the communities of Fremont, Yuba City and Moraga. Barnes was born and raised in Mt. Shasta, California and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Chico in 1991.
Barry Barnes lives in the East Bay with his wife Samantha Spielman and sons Abraham and Benjamin.
Prior to joining Terris, Barnes & Walters in early 1998, Erica Walters received her political training in the trenches of over 30 campaigns throughout the country. Today, Walters specializes in federal races, independent expenditure/527 campaigns and state legislative caucus work. She is personally involved in every aspect of the firm’s work, from message and strategy formulation to creative development to art direction and even to ensuring that post offices across America move the firm’s work on time, every time.
Before finishing college at Wesleyan University, she managed her first two races in Connecticut. The first, a state legislative race, provided a good introduction to the hard-knocks world of political campaigns when her candidate was declared the loser on election night, called by the Secretary of State the next morning and declared the winner, only to be called back an hour later and told the first count was right. A contrarian even at a young age, Walters has been hooked ever since.
In 1994, Walters worked for the Montana House and Senate Democratic Caucus. With a territory that stretched over 500 miles along Montana’s Hi-Line and included 24 legislative races, she helped manage everything from fundraising to field operations to media buying. In the Democrats’ worst year in decades (both nationally and in the state), Walters lost no incumbents. In the early part of the 1996 cycle, she served as joint caucus director, moving south for the end of 1996 as Coordinated Campaign director in Wyoming. Following a brief stint back on the east coast to manage an Annapolis, Maryland mayor’s race in 1997, Walters moved to San Francisco and joined her current firm. She became a partner in January 2003 and is honored to help elect Democratic candidates and further progressive causes.
Current Staff for Terris, Barnes & Walters:
David Tick, Business Manager
Dan Dimendberg, Production Manager
Brandon Moss, Office Manager
Maximillian Medina, Art Director
Erin Henry, Graphic Designer
Greg Leifer, Senior Account Executive
Sean Rush, Senior Account Executive
Janine Salalac, Senior Account Executive
Gwen Brown, Organization Specialist