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The Wild Bunch

Wildlife Action Fund — and Michael Powell, of Ford’s Senate campaign.

Just as the DWAF ran an independent expenditure campaign based on environmental advocacy to attack Pombo, Wild Bunch Consulting plans to farm itself out in a similar capacity to candidates and interest groups. [IMGCAP(1)]

“Part of what we hope to do is expand the environmental practice we’ve done previously,” Longabaugh said Wednesday. “I think one of the areas of expertise we bring to the table is the ability to run smart, integrated campaigns.”

Wild Bunch launched about 30 days ago, and, not surprisingly, its first two clients are the DWAF and the Democratic Leadership Council, whose new chairman is Ford.

Longabaugh and Kurtz have worked together for some time. Prior to founding Wild Bunch, Longabaugh served during the 2004 cycle as political director for the League of Conservation Voters before moving on to the same position at the DWAF in the previous cycle.

Kurtz served under Longabaugh as campaigns director at both organizations. Longabaugh and Powell worked together in 2000 on former Sen. Bill Bradley’s (D-N.J.) presidential campaign.

Motion to Suppress. William Schulz has been named vice president for communications at the American Association for Justice, the organization formerly known as the American Trial Lawyers Association.

Schulz comes from Amtrak, where he served as chief of corporate communications. He previously has served in the Department of Transportation and under former California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi (D), who was elected lieutenant governor in November.

Schulz replaces Chris Mather, who recently took a job as the political director for Change to Win, the collection of labor unions that broke away from the AFL-CIO in 2005.

The Roit Stuff. M+R Strategies has hired Lindsay Roitman, a Democratic operative who managed the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, the group behind an initiative passed by South Dakota voters in 2006 that overturned a limit on abortion that had been approved by that state Legislature and signed by Gov. Mike Rounds (R) last year.

Roitman is set to serve as vice president of M+R’s Seattle office and will lead the local Susan G. Komen for the Cure Community Challenge this summer. Susan G. Komen for the Cure, one of M+R’s clients, is focused on raising money for researching a cure for breast cancer.

Udall in the Family. Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has begun hiring campaign staff for his 2008 Senate bid, bringing on Mike Melanson as campaign manager and Jennifer Rokala as finance director.

Melanson is the former executive director of the Colorado Democratic Party, and joins the Udall campaign after a stint with Ikon Public Affairs, a bipartisan consulting firm. Rokala has managed Udall’s past two campaigns for re-election to the House and also served as the Congressman’s deputy chief of staff from 1999 to 2002.

Previously, Rokala was the finance director for the Democratic Governors Association (1997 to 1999) and deputy western states finance director for former President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign.

The Colorado Senate race is expected to be hotly contested on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) already has announced he is retiring next year upon the expiration of his second term, and Republicans are scrambling to find a worthy replacement.

They Like Mike. Attorney Mike Ciresi, a Democratic candidate for Senate in Minnesota next year, has begun assembling the campaign staff he hopes will help him defeat comedian Al Franken (D) in the primary and earn him the right to challenge Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) in 2008.

Kerry Greeley, who managed now-Rep. Tim Walz’s (D-Minn.) ousting of then-Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.) last year, has signed on as Ciresi’s state director. Also in Ciresi’s field operation is Allison Moen, who worked on former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s (D) presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, D.C.-based Democratic strategist Julia Piscitelli spent last week in Minnesota to handle communications for the launch of Ciresi’s campaign.

What Happens in Carson City Stays in Carson City. The Nevada Republican Party has elected Sue Lowden as its new chairwoman. Lowden, a television news anchor in Las Vegas from 1977 to 1987, served in the state Senate from 1992 to 1996 and has served on corporate boards since then.

Feeling Minnesota. Darren Bearson has been named executive director of the Minnesota Republican Party.

Bearson’s résumé includes several key positions in Washington, D.C., including White House liaison at the Department of Energy and associate White House political director, in which Bearson directed President Bush’s domestic agenda for several states, including Minnesota.

On Capitol Hill, Bearson served under former Rep. Bill Archer (R-Texas) and current Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.).

MacGillis DeGettes Going. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) is losing her communications director. Brandon MacGillis is taking a job with the National Environmental Trust, helping run their energy and climate media shop. His new gig begins on May 14.

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