Greg Stevens, RIP

Posted April 18, 2007 at 6:29pm

Greg Stevens, RIP. Luminary Republican media consultant Greg Stevens succumbed to brain cancer this week after two years of battling the disease.

The 58-year-old strategist was a founding partner of Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm, a GOP media firm, and was well-known over the years for his work on behalf of several Republican presidential, Senatorial and House candidates.[IMGCAP(1)]

“Greg was an incredible life force. He was brilliant. Courageous. Passionate. And no one had more integrity than Greg did. We’ve lost a great friend, mentor and partner,” said Stevens’ partners Rick Reed, Paul Curcio and Erik Potholm in a joint statement.

Stevens’ résumé includes a television spot credited with sinking then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis’ (D) presidential hopes in his 1988 race against then-Vice President George H.W. Bush. In the ad, Dukakis is seen riding a tank while wearing a helmet, and analysts believe it crystallized a view among voters that the Democrat was not fit to be commander in chief.

Twelve years later, in 2000, Stevens was working for the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R) and played a role in turning the relatively unknown Arizona lawmaker into a household name who nearly upset then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the Republican primaries.

Stevens once served as chief of staff to then-New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean (R), and as a media strategist he cut ads for several successful Republican candidates, including Sen. George Voinovich (Ohio), Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), Sen. Gordon Smith (Ore.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Rep. Tom Davis (Va.), among others.

Stevens is survived by his wife, Judi, and their three sons, Clark, Brent and Luke. He died Monday at his home in Maine. A funeral is scheduled for Saturday in Maine, with a memorial service in Alexandria, Va., set to be held sometime in the future.

In lieu of flowers, Stevens’ family requests that donations be sent to the Greg Stevens Scholarship Fund established in his honor at the University of Maine, his alma mater.

Talk About a Stealth Candidate. Admit it: You’re a political consultant, and more than a few times, you’ve wished you could maroon your candidate on an island somewhere so that he or she couldn’t screw up your perfect campaign strategy and blow the race.

Well, California Republican consultant Dave Gilliard will soon get to find out if running a race without a candidate actually works. His newest client, Marine Duncan D. Hunter (R), is scheduled to be deployed overseas on combat duty through a good portion of this cycle’s primary campaign period.

Hunter is running to replace his father, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), in the east San Diego County-area 52nd district.

He is set to leave for the Middle East sometime in the next eight weeks and to return either at the end of this year or early in 2008. The primary is scheduled for early June — only California’s presidential primary was moved to Feb. 5.

“It’s going to be a new challenge for us, but we think it will work out,” said Gilliard, who is based in Sacramento. “We don’t think it will be a major problem for the campaign.”

See You in St. Paul. Three Republican government affairs executives have formed GOP Convention Strategies, billed as a “one stop shop” for businesses and trade associations that need guidance in navigating the 2008 Republican presidential nominating convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.

The trio behind the new firm: Steve Knuth, president and CEO of Public Affairs Co.; Scott Cottington, a Minnesota-based Republican consultant; and Elizabeth Blosser, currently director of issue management at FLS Connect. The convention is scheduled to be held Sept. 1-4 at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy center.

Things to Do in Denver When You’re a Democrat. The Democratic National Committee has unveiled its senior leadership team for the party’s 2008 presidential nominating convention.

The team’s CEO is Leah Daughtry, currently the DNC chief of staff.

Rounding out the group, which will work to prepare and manage the convention, are Chief of Staff Peggy Cusack, currently managing director of Rendezvous Consulting Group; General Counsel Susana Carbajal, currently an attorney with Brown McCarroll LLP; Deputy CEO for Public Affairs Jenni Engebretsen, currently communications director for the Recording Industry Association of America; Deputy CEO for Intergovernmental Relations Sky Gallegos, a veteran campaign operative; Deputy CEO for Operations Cameron Moody, who has nearly 20 years of experience in project management; and Deputy CEO for Administration and Finance Jim McMullen, currently a principal with the Council for Excellence in Government.

The convention is scheduled to be held Aug. 25-28 in Denver.

Show Me a Party Operative. The Missouri Democratic Party has named Ken Franklin executive director.

Franklin had served since May 2005 as deputy legislative director to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, and before that he ran then-Gov. Bob Holden’s (D) St. Louis office.

Franklin also did stints as political director for Slay’s successful 2005 re-election campaign, as well as base vote director for then-Sen. Jean Carnahan (D-Mo.) in her 2002 loss to then-Rep. Jim Talent (R-Mo.).

Safe at Third. Speaking of Missouri, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) has joined Third Way as an honorary vice chairwoman. Third Way bills itself as a nonpartisan strategy center for progressives. It generally takes liberal positions on social issues while advocating for a strong national defense.

McCaskill, serving her first term in the Senate, ousted Talent in November.

Links to Chafee. Two of former Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s (R-R.I.) top operatives have joined forces to launch a Providence-based public affairs and political consulting firm.

Ian Lang, Chafee’s Senate campaign manager in 2006, and Catherine Taylor, his speechwriter, have formed Lang Taylor. The firm plans to focus on political candidates as well as nonprofit organizations and businesses.

Lang and Taylor have worked together before, previously joining forces on Christy Ferguson’s (R) 2002 Congressional campaign in Rhode Island, and before that on Chafee’s Providence office staff. Taylor also worked for Chafee’s father, the late Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.).