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Van the Man

The California Democratic Party has named Van Parish the new state director of the party’s 2004 “Every Vote Counts Campaign” — the coordinated campaign for the state party and all of its candidates.

A native Californian, Parish is a 25-year veteran of Golden State politics and public affairs. He is a former political director of the California Democratic Party — the first black person to hold that position.

Parish began his political career in 1978, working for the late Rep. Julian Dixon (D-Calif.). He then had an internship with President Jimmy Carter and returned to California to work for then-Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s unsuccessful campaign for governor. Work for several other campaigns and political committees followed.

Parish was also one of six observers from California dispatched to Florida to observe the presidential recount in 2000.

“I’ve been impressed with Van’s political acumen during his tenure with the Democratic Party and know he will continue to be a tremendous asset to the party’s efforts to engage California’s voters and leaders,” said Art Torres, chairman of the California Democratic Party.

Derby Winner. Just up Interstate 5, the Oregon Democratic Party has hired a veteran operative to head its coordinated campaign.

The job will be filled by Kendra-Sue Derby, who is taking a leave of absence from her position as field operations director at the Alliance for Justice, based in Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining the alliance, Derby trained thousands of Democratic activists at the Ron Brown-Paul Tully Institute for Political Action and worked on a variety of Democratic campaigns.

She was also trip director for Robert Reich during his tenure as secretary of Labor and served as Congressional liaison for the Peace Corps.

Oregon is a major battleground in the presidential contest and is expected to see two competitive House races this year. In the Portland-area 1st district, Rep. David Wu (D) is facing a well-funded challenge from telecommunications consultant Goli Ameri (R). And in the Willamette Valley’s 5th district, Rep. Darlene Hooley (D) is trying to stave off lawyer and businessman Jim Zupancic (R).

Kelly (and the) Green. The Maryland Republican Party has hired Kelly Lungren as its new finance director.

Lungren replaces Erin Casey, who left in April to become director of special events for the National Republican Congressional Committee. She will work in tandem with Carmen Miller, who was hired away from the National Republican Senatorial Committee earlier this year to become the state GOP’s deputy finance director.

Lungren comes from the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, where as a state director she oversaw coalition efforts in Florida, Virginia and Oklahoma and worked her way to become chief fundraiser and lobbyist for the organization in Washington, D.C.

Lungren has also worked for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), both on his campaign and in his Capitol Hill and Oklahoma City offices. And she was director of scheduling for the Right to Work State Referendum Committee.

A Few Good Men. Former Navy fighter pilot Matt Aljanich, who is waging a long-shot bid for the Republican nomination in Colorado’s 3rd district, has named two retired Air Force brigadier generals to be the co-chairmen of his campaign.

Gen. Jim Hall, a World War II veteran, is an adviser on military affairs to Colorado Gov. Bill Owens (R). Gen. Steve Ritchie is a political veteran as well as a military veteran. He is serving as a consultant to brewing magnate Pete Coors’ Republican Senate campaign.

Adios, Ernesto. Ernesto Saldaña, longtime media director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, is leaving his post. He will become executive director of Public Allies-Los Angeles, a community leadership organization for young people that preaches diversity.

Larry Gonzalez, director of NALEO’s Washington, D.C., office, will become the organization’s principal media contact on most matters. Marcelo Gaete, senior director of programs in the Los Angeles office, will be the media contact for queries on the Latino vote.

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