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Elwyn’s Elves

Newly minted Congressional candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg (D) has already assembled part of his campaign team in his bid for Minnesota’s 6th district seat.

Bob Doyle of Sutter’s Mill Fundraising and Strategy in Washington, D.C., has been hired as general consultant. He will head up Washington-based fundraising and outreach for the former state Transportation commissioner.

Duane Baughman of Baughman Company will handle mail and serve as creative director.

Pollster Alan Secrest of Cooper and Secrest Associates has signed on as well. Secrest’s firm has piled up more than 300 Congressional wins in its long history, including boosting freshman Reps. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) to victory last year.

On Tuesday, Tinklenberg became the first Democrat to enter the race to succeed Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.), who is running for the Senate, in the Republican-leaning district.

Blitz-Krieg. As first reported this week by Politicker, The New York Observer’s Web site on New York politics: Lenore Blitz, a consultant working for Gotham

mayoral candidate C. Virginia Fields (D), does not appear to have much faith that Fields is going to advance to the November general election.

In an ad posted on, Blitz writes: “Seeking an intern to work full-time at a consulting firm and assigned to work with a client who is a New York City Mayoral candidate, the only female running in the Democratic primary.

“This internship will be terrific experience and a great resume-builder. You will work closely with both the candidate and the senior woman political consultant, founder and president of the firm.

“Length of internship would ideally be through September 20, 2005. Will consider a shorter internship for undergraduate student who needs to return to school at the end of August.”

That Sept. 20 date is curious. That’s just a week after the Democratic primary, and a runoff between the top two finishers will be held on Sept. 27 if no one gets 40 percent of the vote in the primary. Fields, the Manhattan borough president, is currently running second in the polls.

Kids’ Stuff. This has to go down as one of the coolest jobs ever for a political operative.

Tom Downey, a Denver-based lawyer and former top aide to now-Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) who also represented state House Democrats in their successful lawsuit to overturn a GOP-led re-redistricting, has been named executive director of the Denver Children’s Museum.

Kelly Green. The latest Democratic entrant to the open Minnesota Senate race, shopping mall developer Kelly Doran, has begun forming a team since his June 5 kickoff at one of his construction sites.

John Wodele, the former spokesman to then-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (I) who made the Washington rounds with Doran last month and helped with his successful campaign launch, has signed on as chief of staff and campaign manager.

Tonya Tennesen was named communications director. A former press secretary for retiring Sen. Mark Dayton (D), Tennesen left the state Democratic Party’s press shop to work for Doran. And Olin Moore, a former aide to Rep. Martin Sabo (D-Minn.), was named finance director, the Politics in Minnesota newsletter reported last week.

Coincidentally, last year Moore worked on the failed 6th district campaign of child safety advocate Patty Wetterling — who is also seeking the Democratic Senate nod this year.

Doran has already launched a Web site and gotten favorable oddsmaking from the pundits at Politics in Minnesota. They deemed him the first “normal” guy in the race and opined that he “could ignite the populist roots of Minnesota” like the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D) and Ventura before him.

The newsletter notes that Kennedy, the assumed GOP Senate nominee, was also a “normal” guy when he knocked of then-Rep. David Minge (D) in 1998. “Minge was a normal guy when he ran and won in 1994.”

Horse Trading. Gopher State Republicans dismissed the suggestion of their titular head, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), not to switch horses in mid-stream. They ousted Chairman Ron Eibensteiner last weekend and installed Ron Carey, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

Eibensteiner served six years, was a close ally of the governor’s and is credited with turning Minnesota into a battleground state. But party activists were dissatisfied with his management style, his support of some controversial Pawlenty proposals and the party’s losses in the 2004 elections, the paper added.

Carey, the party’s secretary-treasurer, said he will be a volunteer, part-time chairman.

Washington County Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek also ran but dropped out to support Carey when it became clear he would not win enough votes Saturday.

50 states, $500,000. The Democratic National Committee has exceeded its first goal of raising $500,000 to launch its “50 state strategy” and hired the program’s first operatives.

“The Democratic Party is committed to winning elections at every level in every region of the country, and we’re getting started right now with a massive effort to fund organizers on the ground in every state,” the party’s Web log reads.

“The ultimate goal? An active, effective group of Democrats organized in every single precinct in the country.”

The operatives are chosen by the state parties, trained through DNC seminars and charged with recruiting and training local helpers, who in turn will recruit and train more grass-roots volunteers.

So far, the initiative has led to the hiring of Debrin Jenkins and Tyler Oyler in West Virginia.

Jenkins is a former state Health and Human Services Department employee who became a union organizer for public employees and a lobbyist for women and children’s issues. More recently, she opened a small consulting company that spearheaded the state’s Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts last year.

Oyler was a high school volunteer for then-Vice President Al Gore’s unsuccessful 2000 presidential campaign. He went on to work with Young Democrats of America and the West Virginia Young Democrats. Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

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