Haley Barbour exited the lobbying world years ago for the glamour of electoral politics, but he still has blood on K Street.
In January, Barbour’s 31-year-old son became a vice president at BGR Group, the lobbying and public affairs shop that his father started back in 1991.
Known as Reeves Barbour, Haley Reeves Barbour Jr. came to Washington, D.C., just about the time that his father headed back to Mississippi to run the state as governor. Reeves Barbour worked on Capitol Hill for the Commerce Department during the George W. Bush administration, and he spent the last Congress as an in-house lobbyist for tobacco company Reynolds American.
As his namesake eyes a potential run for the White House, Reeves Barbour is quietly building his business at BGR, a firm that started with an all-Republican pedigree but is now bipartisan. He is publicly registered to lobby on behalf of two clients — the Physician Hospitals of America and public auctions company Rick Levin & Associates. And sources familiar with his work say he is specializing in outreach to the large crop of Republican freshman Members of Congress.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that his dad has deep ties in the GOP, in downtown D.C. and on Capitol Hill, especially as Gov. Barbour has been working Republican and tea party insiders for his potential White House bid.
“Haley is a strong candidate,” said Tea Party Express founder Sal Russo, who met with the Mississippi governor in recent days. “Everything he’s ever touched his whole life has been successful.”
But Reeves Barbour won’t talk about it publicly.
Other kin have been in the news recently discussing the possible family hardships of Gov. Barbour’s White House bid, but Reeves Barbour declined to comment on his own business or his dad’s. A spokesman for BGR also declined the opportunity to speak. A spokeswoman for the governor did not return a call seeking comment.
Several sources described Reeves Barbour as an ambitious up-and-coming lobbyist, a husband, a father of two and a Southern gentleman who was raised in Yazoo City, Miss., while his father commuted between his hometown and the Beltway.
Reeves Barbour has spent much of the past four months going to meet-and-greets for new Members of Congress and knocking on their doors in an affable, “I want to get to know you” sort of way.
“Reeves is of the generation of many of the new Members,” one knowledgeable K Streeter said. “And his personality — he’s conversant on the issues and friendly and articulate.”