Former Rep. Larry LaRocco (D-Idaho) is running for Senate next year, and his campaign is off and running with a full team of Democratic consultants. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) has yet to reveal his 2008 plans, but LaRocco is in regardless. [IMGCAP(1)]
Lake Research Partners, with Celinda Lake and LRP Vice President Joshua Ulibarri advising, is LaRocco’s pollster. Lake in the previous cycle handled polling for now-Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and now-Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.).
Fenn Communications, with Peter Fenn advising, is LaRocco’s media consultant. According to the Democrat’s campaign, Fenn has extensive knowledge of Idaho politics and has won races there in the past.
Maverick Strategies and Mail is handling direct mail. The firm, headed by Kristian Denny Todd and Jessica Vanden Berg, worked on now-Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-Va.) campaign in the previous cycle.
Progressive Capitol is directing fundraising for LaRocco’s upstart bid. The national firm, run by Kim Taylor, Jennifer Medley and Jillian Cooney, helped keep the coffers full for Webb and now-Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.).
Because he is a former Member who worked as a Washington, D.C., lobbyist following his legislative career, some Democrats believe LaRocco will not have any problems raising the funds he needs to compete in ultra-Republican Idaho.
Finally, LaRocco has signed Robin Pressman Consulting and Yuhas Consulting Group to handle micro-targeting. Robin Pressman and Ben Yuhas worked with Idaho-based Copernicus Analytics in the previous cycle to provide micro-targeting to the state Democratic Party.
LaRocco in 2006 lost his bid for lieutenant governor by 20 points to then-acting Gov. Jim Risch (R), who has said he will run for Senate if Craig retires.
Six for the Third Way. The Third Way, the two-year-old research and communications nonprofit that principally advises Democrats on matters of national security, economic policy and social issues, is planning to expand its work with the House of Representatives.
Third Way, whose six founding co-chairmen are Democratic Senators, is prepared to announce that six House Members also will serve as co-chairmen. They are: Reps. Jane Harman (Calif.), Ellen Tauscher (Calif.), Joe Crowley (N.Y.), Artur Davis (Ala.), Melissa Bean (Ill.) and Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.).
“They are all deeply committed to a new American politics that transcends the old debates and seeks new ideas,” Third Way President Jonathan Cowan said in a statement. “They represent very different regions of the country but they are unified in the belief that we must be tough and smart in national security, modernize government to meet the new economic rules of the 21st century and create new common ground approaches to potentially divisive cultural issues.”
Long on Talent. Former Rep. Jill Long Thompson (D-Ind.), a candidate for Indiana governor, has begun filling out her team of campaign consultants, including Dewey Square Group’s Jill Alper, who has been brought on as a senior adviser.
Handling polling is Benenson Strategy Group’s Pete Brodnitz, while direct-mail duties went to Mission Control’s Amy Pritchard and Ed Peavey.
Chris Sautter of Sautter Communications is Thompson’s media strategist, while Blue State Digital is directing Web and Internet strategy.
Thompson is one of several candidates who could wind up competing for the Democratic nomination and the right to take on Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who announced last weekend that he intends to seek re-election.
Focus West, Young Man. Paul Lindsay hasn’t left D.C. for the West, but he did exit Rep. Charles Boustany’s (R-La.) office this week for a gig with the Republican National Committee, where he now serves as regional press secretary for Western states.
Lindsay had served as Boustany’s press secretary since March 2006, and before that he served the Louisiana Republican as a deputy press secretary and a staff assistant.
Your Way Right Away. BKG Strategies LLC, a Republican consulting firm, has launched in Sacramento, Calif., with partners Mark Bogetich, Lawrence Green and Michael Kahoe. The firm also features GOP consultant Joe Shumate as a member of its team.
Bogetich, highly regarded in Republican circles, is an opposition research consultant who has managed throughout his career to keep his name below the radar. Recently in business for himself, he previously was partners in the now-defunct firm Command Focus with Rob Stutzman and Dan Schnur.
Stutzman currently runs the Sacramento office of DC Navigators and previously was California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) communications director. Schnur in 2000 was a top adviser to Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign.
Rounding out BKG Strategies are Green, who handles government affairs consulting and regulatory and legislative analysis; Kahoe, who specializes in regulatory strategy and fiscal and economic-impact analysis; and Shumate.
Shumate, who has consulted most recently for the California Chamber of Commerce and the business advocacy group’s independent expenditure campaign efforts, has worked on several ballot initiatives in the proposition-happy Golden State, though he might be most heralded for advising then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s successful 1996 re-election bid.
Shumate’s résumé also includes directing then-California Gov. Pete Wilson’s (R) 1991 redistricting effort and working for Wilson in 1992 and 1993 as deputy chief of staff.
If You Build it, They Will Come. The Wyoming Democratic Party, intent on capitalizing on the two-term success of Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) in a majority Republican state, recently stocked up on staff and unveiled new leadership.
John Millin, the new party chairman, previously served as the the party’s secretary and treasurer.
New Executive Director Brandon Owens spent the previous cycle coordinating Democratic campaigns in another Republican bastion: Alabama.
New Field Director Tom Schwarz, meanwhile, worked in 2006 on successful legislative campaigns in Montana, where Democrats in that center-right state gained both at the state and federal level.
Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.