John P. Marttila, an integral part of Baerlein & Partners, and our dear friend, passed away on November 3, 2018, at the age of 78.
John was the president of Marttila Strategies, a company specializing in strategic planning and opinion research that focuses on the underlying values of public issues. For more than 20 years, he measured American attitudes and opinions on a wide range of topics, with a special emphasis on the issues surrounding health care, immigration, financial services, and taxes.
John Marttila also enjoyed a long and successful history of advising ballot campaigns in different regions of the country. These victories included increasing the income tax in Detroit, passing the authorizing referendum for New Orleans’ only major casino, increasing the sales tax on tobacco in Massachusetts, stopping the sale of wine in Washington State and defeating a proposal for draconian cuts in the Massachusetts state budget. Earlier in his career, he was a partner in the Democratic consulting firm of Martilla, Payne, Kiley, and Thorne, one of the top Democratic candidate consulting firms for almost twenty years. He enjoyed a lifelong friendship with his former partners and colleagues.
John was one of the leading national Democratic strategists in the United States, overseeing winning candidate campaigns for Mayors and members of Congress across the country, including Father Robert Drinan’s upset victory for Congress in 1970. With a long and important history in the campaigns of former US Senator and Vice President Joe Biden, former US Senator, nominee for President and Secretary of State John Kerry, and Senator Ed Markey, John remained a close advisor to all of them until his passing.
In the last 12 years of his wonderful life, John worked closely with the Baerlein & Partners team on high stakes ballot campaigns and advocacy initiatives. He was the very best in the business and even a better human being. We will all miss him, but carry on his high standards of work and professionalism. We will never forget John’s edict to always follow the data and never give up.