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O Tenenbaum

Editor’s Note: With Congress in recess and Roll Call only publishing on Mondays for the next few weeks, the Politics section’s weekly columns will appear on a rotating basis. Shop Talk appears today, Under the Radar will be published on Aug. 9 and Players will appear in the Aug. 16 edition. The regular line-up of Politics columns will resume in September.

O Tenenbaum. Former South Carolina Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum, the highly touted Democratic Senate nominee in the Palmetto State, has shaken up her campaign leadership with just three months to go before the election.

Tenenbaum late last week parted company with her campaign manager, Carol Butler, in a decision that campaign aides called mutual and amicable.

Butler is a highly regarded operative who is best known for managing Debbie Stabenow’s (D-Mich.) successful Senate run in 2000. Stabenow, then a House Member, beat a sitting incumbent, Spence Abraham (R).

Kay Packett, who had been serving as a spokeswoman for the Tenenbaum campaign, is taking over as interim campaign manager.

Clark Bar High. With the party establishment in Washington, D.C., and Buffalo lining up behind his principal Democratic primary opponent, House candidate Paul Clark (D) has turned to veteran political operative Chris Lapetina to serve as a consultant in his run for New York’s 27th district.

Lapetina has long experience in both the Empire State and D.C. He cut his political teeth with former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) and has worked for an array of national Democratic candidates and causes.

The frequent TV talking head is also a foreign policy adviser to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. His job is to help open some doors in national Democratic corridors for Clark.

Clark, the town supervisor in the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca, faces an uphill battle in the Sept. 14 primary to determine who Democrats will run to replace retiring Rep. Jack Quinn (R). State Assemblyman Brian Higgins has most of the Democratic establishment behind him, along with organized labor.

But Clark is personally wealthy and has already sunk more than $200,000 into the campaign, putting him ahead of Higgins in cash on hand, according to the most recent quarterly filings.

Three other candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination. Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples will be the Republican nominee.

Goodman, Good Mail. Former Colorado state Sen. Stan Matsunaka (D) has hired a relatively new firm to handle his direct mail in his rematch with Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R).

Matsunaka has hired David Goodman, a Maryland-based consultant, to handle his fundraising mailers. Matsunaka has worked principally in Maryland, as a legislative aide and campaign operative to Free State politicians. He has several clients for his new direct-mail business, but Matsunaka is the first running on the Congressional level.

Two years ago, Matsunaka lost a bitter open-seat race to Musgrave by 13 points after being highly touted by national Democratic leaders. He is getting far less attention this cycle after jumping into the race fairly late, but seems determined to pound Musgrave for being the chief sponsor of the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. As a result, the race could get some play this fall.

Salvage Job. Just a few days ago, New York Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV (D) made official, through paperwork and without comment, what everyone had already suspected: He would not seek a rematch with veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel (D) this year.

Now Powell is fighting for his political life, and he has turned to veteran New York Democratic operative Hank Sheinkopf for help. Sheinkopf will serve as an adviser to Powell’s Assembly re-election campaign, Crain’s Insider recently reported.

It has been a rough several months for Powell. First, he was accused of providing liquor to an underage legislative intern in Albany. Then he was accused of sexual assault. Powell has denied both charges.

He faces two primary challengers for his re-election campaign, with one, retired New York firefighter Eddie Baca, given a decent chance.

Powell, son of the late legendary Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, has long hungered for the seat his father once held. As a young city councilman, he challenged Rangel in 1994, only to lose badly. Ironically, Rangel ended the elder Powell’s long political career in a 1970 Democratic primary.

Rangel is now a shoo-in to win a 17th term.

A New Sheaff in Town. Bob Bruce, the Democrat seeking to challenge Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-N.H.), last week named Matthew Sheaff to be his communications director.

Sheaff served most recently as the New Hampshire chairman of Students for Gephardt, a group supporting Rep. Richard Gephardt’s (D-Mo.) erstwhile presidential candidacy. Prior to that he was part of then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D) Senate Campaign in 2002. He has also worked for Massachusetts state Rep. Thomas Petrolati (D).

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