Pizza Politics

Posted January 9, 2004 at 6:02pm

D.C.-area people with Howard Dean bumper stickers on their cars tip Domino’s Pizza deliverers at a 22 percent higher rate than those with decals supporting the re-election of President Bush, according to the chain’s year-end survey of delivery truck drivers at 60 franchises in Washington, Maryland and Virginia.

Bush supporters were three times more likely to order pizzas with meat toppings than Dean supporters.

Nevertheless, the most common type of Domino’s pizza delivered to the White House in 2003 was veggie — while 72 percent of all Domino’s pizzas delivered to the Pentagon were sausage. But on the Saturday night following the capture of Saddam Hussein, White House pizza orderers preferred pies with meat.

And speaking of meat, four people with Dean bumper stickers on their cars answered the door in the nude when a pizza delivery arrived. Not one Bush household greeted the delivery person in the buff.

What is the political meaning of all this? Shop Talk suggests you draw your own conclusions. But these are just some of the interesting factoids served up by Domino’s.

“We’ve been tracking pizza deliveries for years now and have been able to predict or trace a direct correlation between how people order and tip and what’s going on in their homes or the world,” said Frank Meeks, owner of Domino’s Pizza Team in Washington.

According to Domino’s, the top five biggest tip nights of 2003 were: the capture of Hussein; the Madonna-Britney Spears kiss; the second time in 2003 that the Dow went higher than 10,000; Bush’s appearance on the aircraft carrier in front of the “Mission Accomplished” banner; and the Redskins’ first win of the season.

The top five fake names given while ordering a Domino’s pizza: hotel heiress Paris Hilton, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, “Lord of the Rings” hobbit Frodo Baggins and Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.

Venn Diagrams Walter’s Future. Sarah Walter, who until recently was Sen. John Breaux’s (D-La.) legislative director, has joined the public affairs firm Venn Strategies LLC as its newest principal.

Walter is a 10-year veteran of Breaux’s Capitol Hill office. In addition to her duties as legislative director, she also managed Breaux’s substantial health care portfolio.

She earned a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and a law degree from George Washington University. Prior to joining Breaux’s staff, Walter worked at Public Strategies, an Austin-based public affairs firm.

Masonry. Rep. George Nethercutt (R-Wash.) may have lost the Dick Wadhams sweepstakes to former Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.), but he has nevertheless come up with a tough and seasoned manager for his Senate campaign.

Nethercutt has signed Tom Mason to manage his campaign to unseat two-term Sen. Patty Murray (D).

Mason guided now-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) to victory in 2002 and then served as his chief of staff. He has also served as director of communications and research for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and as press secretary to then-Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn.). He is a former journalist and one-time partner in a public relations firm.

Mason’s daughter, Anne Mason, is press secretary to Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.).

Wadhams, a top aide and political consigliere to Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), will helm Thune’s bid to unseat Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).

A Girl Named Maria. Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, one of several Democrats competing in Illinois’ March 16 Senate primary, recently hired a campaign manager and consultants for her late-blooming campaign.

Taking the helm is David Byrnes, who will double as manager and spokesman for the Pappas campaign. Byrnes was assistant campaign manager and deputy finance director for then-Rep. Ron Klink (D-Pa.) in his 2000 race against Sen. Rick Santorum (R). He has spent the past three years working in the Pittsburgh- and D.C.-based government relations firms Bucephalus LLC and O’Brien Klink and Associates.

David Eichenbaum, of Struble Eichenbaum Communications, will be the media consultant. He is no stranger to Illinois politics, having served as press secretary to Carol Moseley Braun’s (D) successful 1992 Senate campaign.

Diane Feldman, founder of the Feldman Group, will serve as pollster.

Miles to Go. Michael Miles (D), the school administrator who is seeking to challenge Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) this year, has hired a former television producer to be his communications director.

Steve Naples spent five years as a producer for ABC’s “Good Morning America” and has worked for local TV stations in Albany and Denver. More recently, he and his wife have started a successful delicatessen chain in the Denver area, Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli, which is now being franchised in 33 states. Naples ran unsuccessfully for the state House in 2000.

Ose Can You See? Businesswoman Mary Ose (R) has put together the team for her campaign to succeed her brother, retiring Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.).

Ray McNally and Richard Temple will do media and general consulting for the campaign. Jan van Lohuzien, who worked most recently for new California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), will be the campaign pollster. Ann Kramer will handle fundraising.

On the ground, Marko Mlikotin, who has served Congressman Ose in several capacities in campaigns and on Capitol Hill, will be campaign director. Beth Bendexter will be the campaign manager.

Mary Ose faces a tough March 2 primary in the Sacramento-area district against former state Attorney General Dan Lungren (R) and state Sen. Rico Oller (R).

Morse Code. Chuck Morse (R), a businessman and conservative radio talk-show host, has signed up two veteran operatives for his long-shot bid to unseat Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

Ben Kilgore, a veteran of the Boston public relations scene, will serve as campaign manager and senior adviser. Kilgore once worked as a speechwriter for former Boston Mayor Kevin White (D), whom Frank once served as a top aide.

Also joining the campaign is Frank D’Agostino, a former campaign aide to ex-Rep. Peter Blute (R-Mass.).

Around the Ridge. BrabenderCox, the D.C.- and Pittsburgh-based communications firm, has appointed Leslie Gromis Baker to be a partner and senior adviser.

Baker was a senior political adviser to then-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (R) and served as a consultant to the Republican Governors Association and as a regional political director for the Republican National Committee. She also worked in the White House public affairs shop and as a regional chairwoman for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000.

Baker will be stationed at the firm’s Pittsburgh office.

On the 21st Century. The Washington-based 21st Century Democrats, a group dedicated to electing liberal Democrats by building political infrastructure in key states, has named Jeannie Berg its Oregon state director.

As state director, Berg, a former executive director of Oregon’s Voter Education Project, will work with local organizations and leaders to build a grassroots political network throughout the state. The group is mounting similar campaigns this year in Michigan and Minnesota, with other states to follow.

Green Team. Emily Citkowski has been named the new operations director of the Green Party of the United States. Citkowski, a labor activist from Michigan, will run the day-to-day operations of the party.

Most recently, Citkowski worked for Teamsters for a Democratic Union as an office manager and bookkeeper. She replaces Dean Meyerson, who was recently named executive director of the Green Institute, a national foundation.