Skip to content

Operative Transported to Administration

Maria Cino, a longtime GOP operative, was heading toward confirmation this week to be deputy secretary of Transportation.

Cino, who was nominated by President Bush earlier this year, won the backing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

If confirmed by the full Senate, as expected, Cino will leave her post as deputy chairwoman of the Republican National Committee to take up policy work at Transportation.

It would not be her first foray into policy: She was the Commerce Department’s United States and Foreign Commercial Service’s director during Bush’s first term — a position which also required Senate approval.

Cino is credited with helping orchestrate the 1994 GOP takeover of the House when she was executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

She also served as political director to Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.

Team Mfume Forming. Former Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) is beginning to put together a campaign team for his 2006 Senate run in the Free State.

Mfume has turned to Democratic strategist Joe Trippi as a general consultant for the early stages of his campaign — and maybe beyond. Trippi has worked for scores of Democrats during the past two decades, most recently as campaign manager for the 2004 presidential campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D).

“I like his thinking,” Mfume said in an interview.

Mfume has also named Eric Bryant the political director of the campaign. Bryant, who worked for Mfume when the former Congressman was president of the NAACP, is currently a statehouse lobbyist and lawyer in Annapolis for one of the most politically connected firms in the state. He was an intern in Mfume’s Congressional office when he was in college.

The Reiff Stuff. Jay Reiff has been hired to manage the Senate campaign of Pennsylvania Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D).

Reiff spearheaded both the successful campaigns of North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley (D) before becoming a special assistant to Tar Heel State Treasurer Richard Moore earlier this month.

Money Matters. Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) has put his 2006 re-election campaign finance team in place.

Pat Davison, a Billings, Mont., businessman, will lead the Senator’s state finance committee, while John Etchart, a partner in the Gallatin Group’s Helena office, was named state finance co-chairman.

Davison previously ran unsuccessfully for governor in Big Sky Country, and Etchart was state finance chairman for Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

Louisiana Lightnin’. Scott Arceneaux, who most recently was campaign manager for then-Rep. Chris John’s (D-La.) unsuccessful Senate bid last year, is headed north to be manager of Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan’s (D) gubernatorial bid in Maryland. Arceneaux is a veteran of politics in the Bayou State, having served as executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party and director of the state Democratic coordinated campaign that helped elect Kathleen Blanco governor in 2003.

Arceneaux, a protégé of James Carville, is relocating his family to the Washington, D.C., area and plans to stay after the 2006 election.

Duncan is battling Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley (D) for the right to challenge Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich next year.

Toiling in the Fields. Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, one of four Democrats vying to challenge New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) this fall, has finally hired a campaign manager. Fields has settled on Chung Seto, the former executive director, and one-time communications director, of the New York Democratic Party. She was also a leader in the state Democrats’ coordinated campaign in 2000.

Penny Lane. The Democratic Governors’ Association has named Penny Lee as its new executive director.

Lee leaves the office of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) to help the group wage 38 gubernatorial campaigns this year and next.

Prior to working for Rendell in various capacities, Lee directed the Democratic Business Council for the Democratic National Committee.

Snow(ling) Job. The National Association of Republican Campaign Professionals has named Jonathan Snowling its executive director.

Snowling previously oversaw the successful campaign of newly elected Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-Wash.). He also worked on then-Rep. John Thune’s (R-S.D.) narrowly defeated Senate campaign in 2002 and on state Sen. Larry Diedrich’s (R) unsuccessful bid to win the Mount Rushmore State’s lone House seat in a 2004 special election.

Training Day. 21st Century Democrats, a liberal group that helps candidates for public office at various levels of government, will hold its seventh annual campaign training seminar June 3-6 at American University in Washington, D.C.

Dating back to 1999, the sessions “leave graduates prepared to become a field director on a state legislative or Congressional race or an effective paid or volunteer organizer on any campaign,” the group said in its e-mail announcement.

Visit for more information. The registration deadline is May 16.

Please send news of developments in the political industry to

Recent Stories

Capitol Lens | Duck dodgers

Election year politics roil the EV transition

Thompson’s animal welfare, whole milk priorities in farm bill

Schumer plans vote on border security bill that GOP blocked

Republicans look to reverse rule based on gun law they backed

Eight questions for elections in five states on Tuesday