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Envision Victory

Tuesday was a good night for Envision Communications, the Democratic media consulting firm founded by veteran strategists Jennifer Burton, Peter Cari and Maura Dougherty that launched at the beginning of this cycle.

[IMGCAP(1)]Envision’s candidate in the competitive Democratic primary in New Mexico’s open 1st district, former Albuquerque City Councilor Martin Heinrich, defeated three other candidates and now moves on to face Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White (R) in what should be a highly charged general election battle.

Heinrich won by a nearly 2-1 margin, securing 43.4 percent of the vote in a low-turnout contest, compared with 24.6 percent for former New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron and 23.6 percent for ex-state Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Rep. Heather Wilson (R) decided to retire from the Democratic-leaning 1st district to run for Senate.

In California’s Republican-leaning

26th district, Envision’s candidate, businessman Russ Warner, held off 2006 Democratic nominee Cynthia Matthews, 67.5 percent to 32.5 percent.

Warner faces an uphill climb in November against incumbent Rep. David Dreier (R).

Earlier this year, Envision candidate John Boccieri, a state Senator, won the Democratic primary in Ohio’s open 16th district. Democrats are high on Boccieri’s chances in the general election against state Sen. Kirk Schuring (R). Rep. Ralph Regula (R) is retiring.

McCain’s Team at the RNC. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), expected to raise far less campaign cash than presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), is relying heavily on the Republican National Committee, which this week announced the hiring of nine state directors — many of them former staffers on former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s (R) failed White House bid.

“In this exciting election year, it is of the utmost importance to have qualified, experienced, and dedicated individuals on the ground, driving Senator McCain’s positive message and energizing voters to elect Republican candidates up and down the ballot in November,” RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement.

Among those hired were:

• Juston Johnson as Wisconsin Victory director. Johnson most recently served a political director for the Wisconsin GOP.

• Matt Mason as Ohio Victory director. Mason most recently served as a regional political director for Giuliani.

• Molly Donlin as Arkansas Victory director. Donlin recently served as Giuliani’s central Florida field director.

• Robert Bozzuto as Pennsylvania Victory director. Bozzuto previously served as a legislative aide to then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

• Alexis Valdez as New Mexico Victory director. Valdez previously served as campaign finance director for Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), who decided not to run for re-election this year.

• Ben Gilman as Maine Victory director. Gilman is a former aide to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

• Chris Gulugian-Taylor as Washington Victory director. Gulugian-Taylor previously served as Giuliani’s regional political director for Western states.

• James Garcia as Colorado Victory director. Garcia previously served as a field director for Giuliani in Iowa and Florida. He also logged time on the Congressional campaigns of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and former Rep. Shelley Sekula Gibbs (R-Texas).

• Jessica Patterson as Nevada Victory director. Patterson recently served in Giuliani’s campaign as regional political director for California.

A Campaign Team Is Nye. Glenn Nye (D), the young foreign service officer who is challenging Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Va.), has put together his consultant team.

Tom King, a veteran Democratic strategist whose current list of clients include Reps. David Obey (D-Wis.) and Paul Hodes (D-N.H.), and Gerry Connolly (D), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman looking to replace Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), will serve as general consultant and media consultant. King recently guided a Democratic state Senator to victory in a Republican-leaning district that overlaps with Drake’s Congressional district.

Jill Normington of Bennett, Petts & Normington is Nye’s pollster. Alan Moore of the Mack Crounse Group is the direct-mail consultant. Jim Cunningham of Cunningham Harris & Associates is the national fundraiser.

The Blaine of Their Existence. Former state Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Republican running to replace retiring Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R) in Missouri’s GOP-leaning 9th district, has hired a campaign team.

Jerry Dowell, who served as Hulshof’s political director from 1999 to 2001, will serve as campaign manager.

Randall Gutermuth, of the Alexandria, Va.-based American Viewpoint, will serve as one of Luetkemeyer’s campaign advisers. Gutermuth also advises the Republican National Committee and Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential team, and he previously served in a similar capacity for then-Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.), House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.).

John Thompson, of the Springfield, Mo.-based Thompson Communications, will serve as Luetkemeyer’s media consultant. Thompson has previously advised Hulshof and Blunt.

David Barklage will serve as a senior campaign consultant. Barklage previously consulted for the late Rep. Bill Emerson (R-Mo.) as well as other Missouri Congressional candidates.

Building the GOP. Tayt Brooks has been hired as executive director of the Vermont Republican Party, replacing Alden Guptill, who is departing to become deputy regional campaign manager for New England for McCain.

Brooks, 33, has served as the government affairs director for the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern Vermont since 2003. He is scheduled to begin his new job on Tuesday.

Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

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