Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who announced his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination last week, can call on a long list of Washington friends and supporters.
But one of K Street's favorite picks for the nomination dropped out before the race really began. After making several swings through Iowa and New Hampshire and raising cash for a possible bid, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour opted not to enter the competition.
Barbour, a former lobbyist, boasted the support of such K Streeters as Kirk Blalock of Fierce Isakowitz & Blalock, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck's Juanita Duggan, Blank Rome partner David Norcross and his son, Reeves Barbour, who this year joined his father's old firm, BGR Government Affairs.
Barbour's supporters say privately that they have been in touch in recent days with the Mississippi governor and are waiting for him to endorse a candidate before they jump back into the mix. Many of Barbour's supporters and the money they could raise will likely follow Barbour's own endorsement, sources said.
Republican candidates such as former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also have a roster of K Street supporters. Former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.) and Clark Lytle & Geduldig's Sam Geduldig are in the Pawlenty camp. Romney's downtown team includes Drew Maloney of Ogilvy Government Relations, Dutko Worldwide's Ron Kaufman, Kevin Madden of JDA Frontline, who was the 2008 Romney campaign's press secretary, and the OB-C Group's Bob Marsh.
Even some lower-profile presidential candidates have K Street backers. For instance, Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project and director of public affairs for the National Cannabis Industry Association, is backing Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who advocates legalizing and regulating marijuana.
"He is someone that I've worked with a lot in the past and certainly am appreciative of his position on cannabis-related issues," Fox said.