Lending a Jo-Hand

Posted November 7, 2007 at 6:40pm

Former Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns (R), looking succeed retiring Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) in the Senate, has hired a team of consultants to advise his 2008 bid.

[IMGCAP(1)]Serving as campaign manager is Chris Peterson, who was Johanns’ communications director when he was governor.

Johanns’ finance director is Dean Dennhardt. Dennhardt served as finance director for Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) last year during his successful gubernatorial campaign, which included a come-from-behind victory in the GOP primary over then-Rep. Tom Osborne, the legendary former University of Nebraska football coach.

Brandon Winfrey, of the Washington, D.C.-based Winfrey & Co., is Johanns’ D.C. consultant.

To handle polling Johanns has brought on Glen Bolger of the D.C.-based firm Public Opinion Strategies; to advise him on media he has signed Hagel’s media consultant Doug McAuliffe. McAuliffe last cycle advised GOP Senate nominee Pete Ricketts, who lost to Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).

Johanns, who recently resigned as Agriculture secretary, is running against state Attorney General Jon Bruning in the May 2008 Republican primary, with the winner expected to be heavily favored in the general election.

Johanns’ consultant on his past gubernatorial victories, Bob Wickers of the San Francisco-based Dresner, Wickers & Associates, is advising Bruning. Wickers signed on to work for Bruning before Johanns announced for the seat.

Shaheen Hyers Campaign Manager. Former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) this week announced that she has hired Bill Hyers to serve as her campaign manager for her anticipated rematch next year with Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.).

Hyers comes to Shaheen’s campaign from the presidential team of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), where he served as a key aide, most recently in Nevada. Previously, Hyers ran Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) successful 2006 campaign and helped guide the spring Democratic primary victory of Philadelphia Mayor-elect Michael Nutter (D).

“Bill understands the kind of personal, grassroots campaign that I want to run,” Shaheen said in a statement. “He brings a great deal of experience, a successful track record and a true commitment to grassroots democracy.”

Don’t Treadwell on Them. Sandy Treadwell (R), the former New York secretary of state who is seeking to oust Gillibrand next year, has begun to staff up and hire consultants.

Treadwell has signed Dave Sackett of The Tarrance Group to be his pollster — though he said Wednesday that the campaign has yet to conduct a poll.

Earlier this year, Treadwell announced that he had inked Mike McElwain, a partner at Dawson McCarthy McElwain Media, to be his media consultant and do some general consulting work.

Bill McGahay, who served as executive director of the New York State Republican Committee when Treadwell was state GOP chairman, is the campaign manager.

Treadwell is favored over three other candidates to be the Republican standard-bearer against Gillibrand in the GOP-leaning upstate New York district.

Going Private. Dan Ronayne, deputy communications director at the Republican National Committee, is leaving his post to join Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter and Associates, a firm with offices in Washington, D.C., and New York that specializes in tailoring communications strategies for Fortune 100 companies.

Ronayne, a former spokesman for legislative Republicans in Maryland and for the Tennessee GOP, spent the previous cycle at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Borntrager to Run. Randy Borntrager is set to leave his job as director of strategic planning and communications for the Ohio Democratic Party and join Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy’s (D) campaign for the seat being vacated by Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio).

Borntrager will be Kilroy’s campaign manager and is scheduled to assume that position on Dec. 1.

Borntrager’s résumé includes a six-year stint for the Democratic polling firm Bannon Communications Research. The firm is based in D.C. and specializes on races in the Northeast.

Kilroy is slightly favored to flip the Columbus-area seat in the Democrats’ favor, though a top Republican, state Sen. Steve Stivers, just entered the race this week.

Running With Ryun. Jacqueline Harrison has landed in Kansas as former Rep. Jim Ryun’s (R) communications director as he seeks to win the 2nd district Republican nomination and get his old job back.

Harrison comes to Ryun’s team from the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), where she served as an aide in the communications office.

Ryun is running in the GOP primary against state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins, with the winner set to challenge Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) in the general election.

Meet Me in St. Paul — An Update. Twin Cities Strategies, a special events and consulting firm serving clients for the 2008 Republican National Convention, announced on Wednesday its partnership with Hoffman Communications, a Midwest-based events management and production company.

The TCS-Hoffman partnership will focus on providing corporations, trade associations and state Republican parties with one-stop shopping for all of their 2008 RNC Convention events, media, strategic consulting and public relations needs.

Josh Kurtz and Shira Toeplitz contributed to this report.

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