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Kilgore Puts Campaign Team in Place for ’05 Run

Jerry Kilgore, the Virginia attorney general and presumptive Republican nominee for governor in 2005, has unveiled his team of top campaign strategists for his gubernatorial bid, which will officially begin when he files the necessary paperwork with the State Board of Elections on Jan. 3.

Ken Hutcheson, president of Old Dominion Strategies LLC, will serve as the campaign manager.

Hutcheson has worked in every Virginia election cycle for the past 10 years, including five statewide campaigns. His experience includes serving as political director to now-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) in 2000, as campaign manager for Kilgore’s 2001 attorney general campaign, as campaign manager for GOP Sen. John Warner’s 2002 re-election and, most recently, as executive director of President Bush’s re-election campaign in Virginia. Hutcheson has also served as executive director of the Virginians for Jerry Kilgore Political Action Committee since early 2002.

Ray Allen Jr., president of Allen Consulting LLC, will serve as general consultant. Allen has served in consulting and management roles for George Allen, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Rep.-elect Thelma Drake (R-Va.) and the New Majority PAC. Allen was also the general consultant to Kilgore’s attorney general campaign and has been a consultant to the Virginians for Jerry Kilgore PAC since 2003.

Scott Howell, president of Dallas-based Scott Howell & Co., will serve as the campaign’s media strategist. Howell’s most recent winning clients include Sens.-elect John Thune (R-S.D.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), and Sens. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Jim Talent (R-Mo.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). In addition, Howell was a member of Bush’s re-election media team, producing many of the campaign’s television ads.

John McLaughlin, CEO of McLaughlin & Associates, will serve as pollster. McLaughlin’s Virginia clients have included Allen, Gilmore, Warner, Cantor, Drake, Rep. Tom Davis (R) and the 2001 Kilgore campaign. He has also done work for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and for Conservative Party candidates in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Tom Benedetti and Abby Farris will oversee the fundraising operation. Their fundraising firm says it has raised more money collectively in Virginia for political clients than any other fundraising operation to date. Their client list includes Gilmore, Allen, Bush, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Ron Butler and Ray Allen will serve as direct-mail consultants. Their firm, Creative Direct LLC, has been involved in the past six election cycles in Virginia. In addition to a host of Virginia Republican clients — including Rep. Frank Wolf and all the others already mentioned — the firm has helped elect Thune, Talent, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sens.-elect Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), Montana Gov. Judy Martz (R), and Missouri Gov.-elect Matt Blunt (R). The firm also raised money for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

“This group of proven campaign veterans is the most talented team ever assembled for a Virginia statewide campaign and will play a vital role in communicating my positive, reform agenda to the people of Virginia,” Kilgore said in a statement. “This gubernatorial strategy team understands what it takes to win and I look forward to working with these immensely dedicated and successful professionals in 2005.”

Magazine Going Dark. A dark day for California political junkies and policy wonks: California Journal, a must-read monthly magazine devoted to Golden State politics and public policy, will suspend publication following its January issue.

California Journal first began publishing in 1970.

The magazine, whose editors and advisers include top national journalists and well-known political consultants from both parties, has been unable to secure the long-term funding commitments its leaders felt was necessary to sustain regular publication. Less than half of the publication’s $850,000 annual budget comes from subscribers and advertisers.

“This is a decision taken with great regret,” said Lou Cannon, the veteran California political observer, Ronald Reagan biographer and former Washington Post reporter who is president and CEO of the magazine. “In these times of excessive partisanship, it’s a shame to lose a valued, nonpartisan, journalistic voice.”

For the past year, California Journal has been owned and published by the nonprofit California Journal Foundation, which acquired it from State Net, a private Sacramento company that also published political and policy briefings from every state capital. The California Journal Foundation will remain in existence so that there is a vehicle to restart the magazine in case new funding materializes.

Vice Squad. The Maryland Republican Party has a new first vice chairman: Erik Robey, who is an aide to Anne Arundel County Councilman Ron Dillon Jr. (R).

Robey succeeds Louis Pope, who stepped down this summer to become a Republican National Committeeman.

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