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In Trauner-ing

Entrepreneur Gary Trauner (D), hoping his 2008 bid for Wyoming’s at-large House seat will prove more fruitful than his close loss to Rep. Barbara Cubin (R) in 2006, has made some changes to his consulting team for his second go-round.

[IMGCAP(1)]Unlike in the previous cycle, when the then-first-time candidate’s advisers were made up almost completely of Wyoming-based Democratic consultants, Trauner’s team this time is stocked with Washington, D.C.-based strategists.

David Eichenbaum of Struble Eichenbaum is Trauner’s media consultant, Anna Bennett of Bennett, Petts and Normington is his pollster; and Joe Hansen of Ambrosino, Muir & Hansen is handling his direct mail.

Meanwhile, Trauner still on occasion will lean on general consultant Rich Lindsey, a Democratic strategist based in Laramie, Wyo. Lindsey is taking the role of informal adviser in this race, which will pit Trauner against the winner of the Aug. 19 GOP primary. Cubin is retiring.

Lindsey was Trauner’s lead consultant on almost all facets of the campaign last cycle and previously was responsible for helping to elect Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D), considered no small feat in solidly Republican Wyoming.

Trauner’s campaign manager in this year’s race is Adam Ruff. Ruff served as Trauner’s field director in the previous cycle.

On a Wing and a Prayer. Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Jim Ogonowski (R), who came unexpectedly close to winning an October special election in Massachusetts’ solidly Democratic 5th district, has kept his consulting team from that race together for another uphill climb — challenging Sen. John Kerry (D).

Then as now, Matthew Wylie of the Darien, Conn.-based Wylie Strategy Group is acting as general consultant and campaign manager, and Larry Weitzner of Jamestown Associates is Ogonowski’s media consultant. Jamestown has offices in Washington, Princeton, N.J., and Baton Rouge, La.

Also on board with Ogonowski for another run is pollster Rob Autry of Washington-based Public Opinion Strategies and communications consultant Alicia Preston of the Hampton, N.H.-based Preston Group.

Filling out Ogonowski’s team of advisers for his Senate bid are fundraising consultant Monica Notzon of the D.C.-based Bellwether Consulting Group and direct-mail consultant David Avella of Donatelli Avella.

Meanwhile, Barney Keller, Ogonowski’s press secretary during the 5th district special election campaign that saw the Republican lose by 5 points to now-Rep. Niki Tsongas (D), recently left the New Hampshire Republican Party to join the Massachusetts GOP.

Keller worked as press secretary for the Granite State Republican Party and will serve in a similar capacity at the Bay State GOP.

Giddy Up! Carrie Giddins, most recently the top spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party, has formed Giddy Up! Communications.

Giddins, who in the previous cycle worked as a strategist for EMILY’s List, will offer communications consulting services to Democratic political clients.

Giddins, based in Washington, D.C., has formed a strategic alliance with Craig Varoga and George Rakis of the Democratic consulting firm Independent Strategies, which also is based inside the Beltway.

Consulting Curtis. Curtis Ellis recently left Rep. Steve Kagen’s (D-Wis.) Congressional office to join The Campaign Network, a Democratic consulting firm with offices in Boston; Carrboro, N.C.; and Austin, Texas.

Ellis, who has set up shop in Boston, will work as a media consultant. The Campaign Network offers media, direct-mail and general consulting services.

Prior to joining Kagen’s office, where he served as communications director, Ellis held a similar position for Jack Davis (D), the western New York businessman who challenged Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) in the previous cycle in the Empire State’s 26th district. Before that, he worked for CNN host Lou Dobbs as a writer and producer.

Stark Choice for Bonoff. State Sen. Terri Bonoff (D), running for Congress in Minnesota’s 3rd district, has hired Franny Starkey as communications director.

Starkey comes joins Bonoff after serving as Iowa trip director and national scheduling director for Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) presidential campaign. In the previous cycle, Starkey served as director of scheduling and advance for now-Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-Minn.) successful campaign.

Bonoff is running for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad (R).

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