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Brewing Up a Congressional Campaign

As she traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to drum up support from elected officials, GOP leaders and interest groups, Republican Marilyn Brewer, a candidate in the not-yet-scheduled special election to replace Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), can boast of having a full team of consultants.

Brewer, a former state Assemblywoman, has tapped Harvey Englander, a Los Angeles-based strategist who handles both Republicans and Democrats, as her general strategist. He will also handle the campaign’s direct mail.

Tom Hammond, of Alexandria, Va.-based Hammond and Associates, is the political action committee fundraiser, and Steve Kinney, of the Los Angeles office of Public Opinion Strategies, is the pollster.

Peggy Goldwater Clay, a California GOP activist and daughter of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), will handle Brewer’s local fundraising. Frank Caterinicchio is handling targeted strategies, and Betty Presley is the campaign treasurer.

The special election to replace Cox will be scheduled after the Senate confirms his nomination to be chairman of

the Securities and Exchange Commission. Brewer is one of two leading Republicans in the Orange County race so far; state Sen. John Campbell is the other.

The Grass(roots) Is Growing. Grassroots Solutions, a multifaceted consulting firm, has added two seasoned operatives to its Washington, D.C., office, David Boundy and JoDee Winterhof.

Boundy was the deputy political director of the AFL-CIO and worked in the Department of Labor under then-President Bill Clinton. He also worked for Clinton’s 1992 campaign and served as a political consultant in Boston.

Winterhof served as political director of America Coming Together during the 2004 cycle and has also worked for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the White House Project, EMILY’s List and the Clinton administration.

Tarrant Goes to Norway. Vermont business executive Richard Tarrant (R) is moving closer and closer to entering the open Senate race next year.

The IDX Systems co-founder has retained the political strategic services of Dave Carney, the Rutland Herald reported.

A Carney firm, Norway Hill Associates of New Hampshire, has registered the Web site

Carney was a top political aide to then-President George H.W. Bush.

Tarrant has formed an exploratory committee but has not officially entered the contest. He said he could spend more than $1 million of his own money to defeat Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the leading candidate in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.).

In a recent letter to the Federal Election Commission, Tarrant said he expects to exceed the “threshold” amount — which last cycle in Vermont was $74,620 — by $500,000 in both the primary and general.

Wired. Andrew Rasiej (D), an unconventional candidate for the No. 2 job in New York City government, has tapped two seasoned Washington, D.C., hands to guide his campaign for New York City public advocate.

Dan Gerstein is serving as general consultant, and Jay Strell is the communications director.

Gerstein, a former journalist, spent many years working for Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and recently moved to New York to launch his own consulting firm.

Strell is a former communications director, regional director and consultant for Rock the Vote, the voter-education organization for young people. He also served as a spokesman during the Clinton administration at the State Department and the United Nations, and was the communications director for the unsuccessful Maryland Congressional campaign of Kennedy family scion Mark Shriver (D).

Rasiej, founder of the Irving Plaza nightclub in New York and a one-time technology adviser to former President Bill Clinton and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), is making his call for universal Wi-Fi access in the city the centerpiece of his campaign. He is taking on the incumbent public advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, and others in the September Democratic primary.

Krinke and Yecke Staff Up. Two of the five Republicans vying for the right to seek the 6th district seat being vacated by Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.) have begun forming their teams, according to the newsletter Politics in Minnesota.

Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah has signed on as campaign manager for state Rep. Phil Krinke, while local attorney Ryan Griffin, who lost a state House race last year, was tapped for political director, and former state Sen. Linda Runbeck serves as finance director.

Meanwhile, former Minnesota Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke hired former College Republicans Chairman Jake Grassel to be her finance director.

Quarterbacking for Dollars. Former vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp (R) and former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) have agreed to take their plays from “coach” Keith Butler (R).

Butler, a minister who is seeking the Republican nod to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), has tapped the two GOP stalwarts and football standouts to head his national finance committee. Butler was a Michigan leader of former Rep. Kemp’s (N.Y.) 1988 presidential bid.

Rustlin’ Up Votes for Democrats. Dennis McDonald, a Melville rancher, was elected chairman of the Montana Democratic Party last week.

McDonald was supported by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), but it took two rounds of balloting to earn him the 77 votes (one more than he needed) to win and he was not granted his choice of vice chairwoman, the Missoulian reported.

Failed Congressional candidate Tracy Velazquez was elected vice chairwoman.

McDonald replaces Bob Ream, who has led the party since 1997.

The paper described McDonald as a “newcomer to the inside of Montana politics” and noted that he originally said he would not pose for photos with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who was in town to speak at the party’s big Saturday night dinner.

The rancher-attorney relented and ultimately praised Dean.

Not as Glamorous as TV. Amanda McGill has been named communications director of the Nebraska Democratic Party. The former Lincoln, Neb., television reporter covered last year’s presidential primaries for KCAU in Sioux City, Iowa.

NOW and Again. The National Organization of Women re-elected Kim Gandy as president earlier this month.

Olga Vives was named executive vice president, Melody Drnach becomes action vice president and Latifa Lyles now serves as membership vice president.

Muy Bueno. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials re-elected John Bueno, head of the Pontiac, Mich., city council, as its president last month.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion was named vice president; Maria Calix, head of the Centinela Valley Union school board in Lennox, Calif., was named secretary; and Texas state Rep. Pete Gallego was named treasurer.

Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.