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Moving On

Zack Exley, director of special projects for MoveOn PAC, one of the myriad offshoots of, is leaving the organization.

Exley, who has frequently been the public face and voice of the increasingly influential political group and its political action committee, will become director of online communications and organizing for Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign.

Because MoveOn is airing many ads critical of President Bush this political season, Exley and the staff of all MoveOn entities have agreed that they will not be in contact through the duration of the election, to avoid the appearance of coordination.

Wehs and Means. An Albuquerque businessman and Marine Corps veteran has emerged as the frontrunner to take over the beleaguered New Mexico

Republican Party, according to sources and published reports.

Alan Weh, who has been promoted by the Land of Enchantment’s Republican Congressional delegation, appears likely to get the nod when the executive committee of the New Mexico GOP gets together April 17.

As detailed in the April 1 Roll Call article “Circular Firing Squad,” state Republicans have been riven by years of internal disputes, leading some GOPers to fear that Bush’s re-election prospects, and those of targeted Rep. Heather Wilson (R), could be in jeopardy.

The previous GOP chairwoman, state Sen. Ramsay Gorham, resigned suddenly last week after leaders of a rival Republican faction questioned whether she could legally serve simultaneously in the Legislature and as party chief. She also withdrew from her state Senate re-election campaign after being challenged by a top aide to her nemesis, former party Chairman John Dendahl.

According to a Web site on New Mexico politics run by business consultant Joe Monahan, Weh, president of an aviation firm that is doing business in Iraq, is not closely aligned with either of the two warring factions and has the tacit blessing of the White House. Weh was appointed national chairman of the Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Weh’s alliance with Bush and the Congressional delegation has some state Republicans grousing that he will not pay enough attention to state legislative and local races, Monahan reported, but compared to the strife the party has been through in recent years those complaints seem like small potatoes.

Ken’s Klan. Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) continues to staff up for his open-seat Senate bid.

Sherry Jackson will take over as the campaign’s administration director, responsible for managing campaign headquarters and all contracts. She is a former Denver County clerk who has worked for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, former Mayor Wellington Webb and former Gov. Roy Romer (D).

Melinda Patterson, who had been working as a fundraiser for another Democratic Senate candidate in Colorado, educator Michael Miles, will become Salazar’s deputy finance director.

Maria Handley, a senior staffer for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s (D) now-defunct presidential campaign, will become field director. And Denver lawyer David Hiller will become the campaign’s director of policy.

Road Trip. The European Association of Political Consultants will hold its annual conference in Istanbul from May 6-8.

Not only will there be shop talk, presentations and updates on Europe’s hottest political races, but plenty of other activities are taking place in Istanbul at the same time, including the annual European song contest.

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