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Meadow Lark

Lake Snell Perry Mermin and Associates, the Democratic polling firm, has bought out a rival, Decision Research.

Pollsters Bob Meadow and Heidi von Szeliski of Decision Research agreed to combine forces with the well-known Democratic firm, which is headed by Celinda Lake, beginning Wednesday. Decision Research will fold its San Diego and Washington, D.C., offices in with the larger firm.

In announcing the deal, Lake said: “With this acquisition, we will be the force for strategic advice, client service and cutting-edge innovation in polling for Democrats and progressive causes.”

Rev-ing Up.The Rev. Keith Butler (R) has signed John Brabender to do advertising work for his nascent Senate campaign in Michigan, the Cook Political Report reported this week.

Brabender, of GOP heavyweight firm Brabender-Cox, based in Pittsburgh, is also working on Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-Pa.) re-election campaign.

Alex Gage of TargetPoint Consulting will do polling for Butler — a former Detroit city councilman who is the only announced Republican challenger to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) — and Lance Tarrance, a founder of the Tarrance Group, will advise and strategize for Butler.

Beyer’s Market. Casey Beyer, a former Capitol Hill staffer, has been named California’s chief assistant secretary of state.

Beyer spent more than 10 years on Capitol Hill as chief of staff to then-Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) before heading up the government affairs division of First5 LA, a nonprofit that focuses on the importance of early education.

Mayor Domo. Three of the four Democratic candidates for mayor of New York have made significant personnel adjustments to their campaigns in recent days.

The most celebrated — frontrunner Fernando Ferrer’s decision to part company with longtime media consultant David Axelrod and communications director Chad Clanton — got the most ink (though no detailed explanation).

Also noteworthy was Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) decision to hire Mark Benoit as campaign manager. First reported on The New York Observer’s Politicker political Web log, Benoit’s hiring should dispel rumors that Weiner may drop out of the race, because it means that the Congressman is making an organizational push to ensure that he winds up on the Democratic primary ballot.

Benoit, who has been hanging his hat at the influential Ken Sunshine Consultants PR shop in Manhattan, was campaign manager to New York City Public

Advocate Betsy Gotbaum in her first run for the city’s number two office in 2001 (the Sunshine firm is so influential that it once reportedly turned down J. Lo as a client).

Meanwhile, according to the Politicker, another Democratic candidate for mayor, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, has officially cut ties with the Parkside Group, a plugged-in Democratic consulting firm and lobbying shop in New York and Albany.

With Mandy Grunwald already performing many of the general consulting functions that Parkside did for Miller’s earlier campaigns, Mark Guma will be handling the candidate’s direct mail fundraising.

Guma is a veteran of New York politics and is most closely associated with the campaigns of state Comptroller Alan Hevesi (D). He served as press secretary to Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) in her first run for Congress in 1988.

Back to Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president, Jen Bluestein will take over from Clanton as communications director. Bluestein also worked for Gotbaum in 2001, and for Newark mayoral candidate Cory Booker (D) and Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Robert Reich (D) in 2002. She had already been serving as an adviser to Ferrer’s campaign.

Seeking An Executive Director. Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Derek Wooley is leaving his post.

Wooley, who only took the job last March, said he wants to spend more time with his newborn son and pursue other opportunities.

Wooley will remain as a consultant to new Louisiana Democratic Party Chairman Jim Bernhard, The Associated Press reported.

Petel to the Metal. Direct-mail firm Winning Directions has hired Karen Petel as a vice president in its Washington office.

Petel served the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as deputy political and campaign director. During the 2004 cycle she also served the committee as a senior strategist for open-seat and challenger races.

Prior to that, Petel was a regional political director for EMILY’s List.

AtariDan Reaches Next Board. Dan Myers, who helped launch last summer, is leaving the firm and the site to pursue a doctorate of politics at Princeton University.

Ataridemocrats — named for the popular company that launched the ’80s video game craze — “tracks the leading edge of political communications” and helps consultants find “new ways and new ideas [on how] to get the word out,” the firm’s principal, Julian Mulvey, explained in a news release announcing Myers’ departure.

Political science programs “tend to lag 10 years behind politics,” Myers stated. “And politics lags 10 years behind commercial marketing. Ataridemocrat attempts to close those gaps.”

Mulvey, who helped political neophyte Capri Cafaro vault past an experienced five-person Democratic primary field to become Rep. Steve LaTourette’s (R-Ohio) challenger last year, just celebrated his first year in business for himself as

Gore Wins Webby. Former Vice President Al Gore will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Webby Awards in New York on June 6.

Weapons of Misdirection will be named best political Web site. The site,, is hosted by, which is a project of the Black Filmmaker Foundation.

Recipients are chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, an international organization that counts big names in television, music, fashion and the high-tech industry as members.

Comedian Rob Corddry of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” will host the ninth annual ceremony at Gotham Hall.

For more information on the awards, which recognize excellence in Web design and creativity, visit

Trippi[ng] for Democracy. The DC Democracy Fund has named S. Gina Trippi executive director.

Trippi previously acted as regional director for last year’s successful campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

The group aims to elect federal candidates who support Congressional voting rights for the District of Columbia. It also works against legislation it perceives as infringing on home rule.

Women Voters Forum. Women Vote USA and the Communications Consortium are presenting a colloquium on women voters Monday morning at the Hotel Washington.

Celinda Lake and Kellyanne Fitzpatrick Conway will present polling information. Well-known reporters, political consultants and academics will be on hand to discuss how to reach women voters and what messages work with them.

For more information, visit

Chris Cillizza and Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

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