Skip to content

Going National

In the clearest sign yet that he plans to try to succeed retiring Rep. Major Owens (D-N.Y.) next year, New York state Sen. Carl Andrews (D) has signed Washington, D.C.-based Fraioli and Associates as a campaign fundraising consultant.

Led by veteran Democratic strategist Michael Fraioli, the firm has been raising money and providing strategy for Democratic candidates and causes since 1987. Andrews is Fraioli’s first client for the 2006 cycle who is not an incumbent.

Andrews is one of half a dozen Brooklyn Democrats considering the race to replace Owens, who has served in Congress since 1983. Andrews has yet to formally declare his candidacy, but he has set up a federal fundraising committee.

The only candidate who has formally entered the race so far is the Congressman’s son, Chris Owens, an HMO administrator and former local school board member.

Dan, Dan the Republican Man. Dan Ronayne, a veteran of President Bush’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee, has taken over as communications adviser for the Senate Republican Conference.

Ronayne was a regional spokesman for the Bush campaign in 2004 and the RNC before then. He also worked as a spokesman for the state House Republican Caucus in his native Maryland and as a spokesman for the Tennessee Republican Party.

GOP Firm Grows. Eskew Strategy Group, a year-old firm headed by Republican consultant Tucker Eskew, has announced two new senior hires: senior adviser Kara Kennedy and vice president Todd Irons.

Kennedy was an aide to then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and later was communications director and chief of staff to then-Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.). She joined the Petrizzo Group, a lobbying firm, before its merger last year with the firm Bergner Bockorny.

Irons has been a legislative adviser to then-Rep. Dan Miller (R-Fla.), a communications and Congressional affairs staffer at the Republican National Committee. More recently, he has served as an account manager at the public relations firm Porter/Novelli and as managing director of Qorvis Communications.

Eskew was formerly deputy assistant to the president in the administration of the current President Bush, as well as

senior advisor to his re-election campaign. The Eskew Strategy Group handles strategic communications on policy issues.

Derek and the Dominos. The new regime at the Maryland Democratic Party has installed Capitol Hill and campaign veteran Derek Walker as its new communications director.

Walker, who spent years working in various capacities for Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), comes to the state party from the Hawthorn Group, an Alexandria, Va.-based public affairs firm, where he was a vice president. Prior to that, Walker was campaign manager for Terry Lierman, the Democratic nominee in Maryland’s 8th district in 2000 — who is now chairman of the state party.

Lierman, a wealthy businessman, is working full time at the party as chairman and CEO. The state party’s former executive director, Josh White, has moved over to become political director.

Steve Jost, a Capitol Hill and political veteran who is currently chief of staff to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), is pulling double duty as the committee’s finance director.

In Graves Condition. Greg Graves, a veteran Republican operative in the Southwest, has left his post as executive director of the New Mexico Republican Party.

According to Joe Monahan, the top political blogger in the Land of Enchantment, Graves is leaving to form an Albuquerque-based lobbying and consulting firm with Robin Dozier Otten, secretary of the state Department of Human Services under then-New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (R), and Jack Swickard, a public relations pro in Roswell, N.M.

Marta Kramer, who was Graves’ deputy at the state party, is expected to replace him, at least on an interim basis.

The Ties That Bind. Although he recently severed ties with two veteran Republican strategists with close ties to New York Gov. George Pataki (R), Stephen Minarik III, the new chairman of the Empire State GOP, has just hired another former Pataki adviser as a consultant for the state party.

According to a report in the Albany Times Union this week, Minarik has hired Patrick McCarthy, a former executive director of the state party, to do grass-roots organizing and outreach. McCarthy held a number of positions in the Pataki administration and is now a lobbyist in the Albany firm owned by Patricia Lynch, a one-time top aide to state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D).

New York, New York. From this week’s Crain’s New York Business comes word of three new hires in Empire State politics:

• Charles O’Byrne is the new director of press operations for state Senate Democrats. O’Byrne has already been working for state Senate Minority Leader David Paterson (D) since last August as a senior policy counsel.

• Lori Hall Armstrong, formerly chief of staff for New York City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, has been named campaign manager of Moskowitz’s campaign for Manhattan borough president. Moskowitz is one of several Democrats running to replace term-limited C. Virginia Fields (D), who is running for mayor.

• Speaking of Fields, she has hired Nick Charles as press secretary for her mayoral campaign. Charles has worked for Fields in the borough president’s office. No word on whether his wife’s name is Nora.

Going Solo. Defeated Congressional candidate Brian Hamel has decided to launch a a consulting business and to join a financial services firm.

Hamel Enterprises will use the experience he gained running the Loring Development Authority to focus his business on helping clients with base closure issues, economic development and legislative matters.

The Republican ran against Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) last year but lost by 18 points in the historically swing 2nd district.

Second Time’s a Charm. Ellen Moran will rejoin EMILY’s List as executive director next month.

Moran served as the group’s first director when the organization began raising money to help elect Democratic women who support abortion rights to local, state and federal offices.

Most recently, she managed the Wal-Mart corporate accountability campaign for the AFL-CIO. She took a leave of absence from the union last year to manage the Democratic National Committee’s independent expenditure campaign.

Has your campaign hired a new press secretary, finance director or consultant? Does your consulting firm have a new partner? Does your union have a new political director? Are you leaving Capitol Hill to start a consulting business of your own? We want to know about these and other developments in the political industry. Send all information for Shop Talk to

Recent Stories

Total eclipse of the Hart (and Russell buildings) — Congressional Hits and Misses

House plans to send Mayorkas impeachment articles to Senate on Tuesday

Harris sticks with Agriculture spending, Amodei likely to head DHS panel

Editor’s Note: What passes for normal in Congress

House approves surveillance authority reauthorization bill

White House rattles its saber with warnings to Iran, China about attacking US allies