Late last year, when lobbyist Geoff Gonella wanted to boost business at his D.C.-based lobby shop, Cornerstone Government Affairs, he turned to an unlikely place — Austin, Texas. Martin Hubert, then the deputy comptroller for the state, was looking to jump to the private sector.

“He was involved in every contract, procurement and budget issue in the state,” said Gonella, co-founder and president of the $13 million-a-year bipartisan lobby firm, describing why he hired Hubert. “All of our clients who have an interest in working with the state of Texas, he will be in a position to help.”

Hubert joined the firm in January and is now advising its plum clients, including Citgo Petroleum and Sysco Foods, in drafting legislation and navigating state agencies.

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His hiring is just one way Cornerstone, which was founded in 2002 primarily to lobby the federal government, is expanding into a lucrative market: state-level lobbying. As getting anything done in Washington has become increasingly difficult, D.C.-based lobbying firms are trying their luck representing clients seeking changes on a state rather than federal level.

“A lot of organizations over the last couple years started to look to the states, not totally in place of what they’re doing in D.C., but in addition to it, or to do things a little faster,” Gonella said.

The idea of pivoting to capture state-level work is not new. But some D.C. lobbyists say it’s taking on increased importance now that policy fights over some of the biggest issues — like tax reform and ride-hailing regulations — are moving more quickly at the local level. Uber, which has tapped Virginia lobbyists such as Vectre Corp and Reed Smith, deployed lobbyists in at least 50 states and cities to advocate for measures allowing the company to operate there — and has been successful in at least 17 states and cities since 2014.

The shift is proving to be profitable for firms like Cornerstone that are aggressively expanding manpower in state offices to complement existing revenue from federal lobbying.

Cornerstone opened its first state office in Baton Rouge in 2008 and has since added seven more in Chicago, Des Moines, Austin, Houston, Jackson, Miss., Richmond, Va., and Atlanta all focused on networking with officials in state legislatures. It plans to open an office in Annapolis by this fall.

Last year, Cornerstone generated $4.3 million in revenue from its growing state work — or about 21 percent of the firm’s overall revenue — and is expecting to grow that to $5.7 million, or about 25 percent of overall revenue, by the end of 2015.

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Moreover, the 2010 congressional ban on earmarks pushed hospitals, colleges and municipalities that used to go after earmarked federal dollars to instead compete for state funding, Gonella said.

“Dollars at the state level are much smaller, but because the environment in D.C. had changed, their only opportunity to get dollars for equipment or buildings were at the state level,” Gonella said.

Some view lobbying at the municipal level as less profitable — legislative sessions are shorter and retainers are typically smaller.

Lobbyist Chris Lamond, who co-founded D.C.-based lobby shop Thorn Run Partners in 2010, said that while his firm is not particularly focused on building out its state-level business, the firm’s pace of growth outside of Washington is on par with that of the entire firm.

Thorn Run has expanded quickly from two partners in 2010 to 10 partners today, with federally reported revenue jumping from $1.6 million in 2010 to $5.2 million in 2014.

“We’ve grown in states opportunistically, and we’ve seen its benefit pretty clearly,” Lamond said.

The founding partner of the firm’s Portland office, Dan Bates, was head of government relations for the city of Portland before becoming a lobbyist. Under his watch, Thorn Run’s revenue in Oregon has more than doubled since 2012. The firm also has outposts in Denver and Los Angeles.

“That’s become a nice complement to the day-to-day activities of our Washington, D.C. practice,” said Lamond.