Skip to content

Shop Talk: Firewall

The four Congressional campaign committees have settled on who will direct their independent expenditure efforts — a personnel decision made all the more important because these individuals must operate behind a firewall and are prohibited by law from involving the rest of their respective committees when deciding where and how to spend precious resources.

[IMGCAP(1)]On the Democratic side, where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are loaded with cash and positioned to spend freely, deciding where and when to run TV and radio ads, where and when to drop mail, and where and when to poll and employ phone banks should be fun.

Jon Vogel is directing the DCCC’s independent expenditure effort. He was political director at the DCCC this cycle before moving over to the other side of the firewall. Vogel is a former finance director for both Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and former Rep. Mike Forbes (D-N.Y.). In the previous cycle, he was the DCCC’s Northeast regional political director.

Jim Jordan is directing the DSCC’s independent expenditure effort. Jordan has served in multiple capacities at the DSCC over the years, including executive director, political director and communications director. He managed Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) 2004 presidential campaign early in that race.

On the Republican side, the directors of the independent expenditure programs for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee are going to have to make some tough choices when it comes to which candidates get IE money and which candidates don’t.

Making those decisions at the NRCC will be Clinton Key and Evan Kozlow.

Key is the former executive director of the Republican Governors Association and a former aide to ex-Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R) — NRCC Chairman Tom Cole represents the Sooner State’s 4th district.

Kozlow, who joined the NRCC this cycle as deputy executive director, in 2006 managed state Sen. Tom Kean Jr.’s (R) unsuccessful New Jersey Senate bid. Kozlow also previously managed campaigns for Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) and New Jersey GOP gubernatorial nominee Bret Schundler.

Kozlow is still serving as the NRCC’s deputy executive director.

At the NRSC, Sam Van Voorhis will head the IE program.

Van Voorhis is a direct-mail consultant for NextWave Communications and has been associated in the past with Majority Strategies. In his capacity as head of the NRSC’s IE program, Van Voorhis will supervise work conducted by the polling firms Public Opinion Strategies and the Tarrance Group, as well as by the media firms McAuliffe Message Media and Weeks & Co.

Haro-ing Experience. Steve Haro has been hired as Western regional political director at the DCCC and will also serve as the DCCC’s Hispanic outreach coordinator. The hire was first reported Wednesday on

Haro comes to the DCCC from the office of Rep. Xavier Beccera (D-Calif.), where he served as a communications aide.

Caddo Institute. Caddo Parish District Attorney Paul Carmouche, vying for the Democratic nomination in Louisiana’s open 4th district, has settled on a campaign team.

Advising Carmouche on media is the Nashville-based Fletcher Rowley Chao Riddle Inc., a firm that has specialized of late in aiding Democrats running in Republican-leaning districts.

Carmouche’s direct-mail consultant is local: Ourso Beychok Johnson Inc. of Baton Rouge. The Louisiana Democrat’s pollster, however, is based in Maitland, Fla.: Jim Kitchens of the Kitchens Group.

Serving as the campaign manager is Greg Richardson; Amy Foster is the finance director.

Werner Kan-Do. Joe Werner, the former executive director of the South Carolina Democratic Party, is returning home to Pennsylvania to run Rep. Paul Kanjorski’s (D) re-election campaign in the 11th district.

Kanjorski is running against Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R), whom he defeated handily in 2002. A recent Republican poll showed Barletta with a slight edge.

Polls Apart. Jeff Stonecash, a political science professor at Syracuse University who doubles as a pollster, announced last week that he had shut down his campus-based polling operation at the request of university officials.

“I think it’s a very legitimate issue to ask whether a professor can do polling for candidates using university resources,” Stonecash told the Syracuse Post Standard.

The university had come under criticism from the campaign of Dan Maffei, the likely Democratic nominee in the Syracuse-based 25th district, after Stonecash conducted a poll recently for Dale Sweetland, the presumptive Republican nominee in the race.

Mike Whyland, a Maffei spokesman, told the Post Standard that the campaign had complained to university officials about the polling operation and about using the “good name of the university to promote a partisan operation.”

Stonecash had been conducting polls at Syracuse — paying students an hourly wage to interview voters by phone — for two dozen years. His clients included Democrats and Republicans.

In response, Sweetland wrote a stinging letter to Maffei, chiding him for attacking a campaign vendor instead of discussing the issues of concern to 25th district voters. He said Maffei’s action “represents the tactics of Washington insiders; the tactics being those of personal destruction so as to achieve your own goals.”

“I find it incredibly presumptuous and arrogant of you to inject yourself in the setting of university policy,” Sweetland wrote.

Schneider Goes to Town. Jon Schneider, who has served in top positions with Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) both in the district and on Capitol Hill since Bishop was first elected in 2002, recently left the Congressman’s office to become deputy supervisor in the town of Brookhaven, the largest town in Bishop’s Long Island district.

In that capacity, Schneider is serving as a top aide to Brookhaven Supervisor Brian Foley (D). He previously worked for the Sierra Club and was a press secretary for Rep. Steven Rothman (D-N.J.).

A Field Blooms. Former Congressional aide Bob Blumenfield won the Democratic nomination to California’s 40th state Assembly district on June 3, putting him in the driver’s seat to win the overwhelmingly Democratic legislative seat outright in November.

Blumenfield, who won a four-way primary with 53 percent of the vote, previously served as Rep. Howard Berman’s (D-Calif.) political adviser and district director, and before that he served as the Congressman’s legislative director on Capitol Hill.

Blumenfield also previously served as an aide to then-Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) and worked as the government affairs director for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

Nathan L. Gonzales and Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

Submit campaign staffing news and tips to Shop Talk

Recent Stories

Judge denies Menendez bid to toss searches in bribery case

US asks Supreme Court to stop Texas immigration law

Capitol Lens | Before sunset

Responding to US, France enshrines abortion access in constitution

‘One existential threat’: In shift, Biden gives Trump a tongue-lashing

Supreme Court tosses Colorado’s decision to bar Trump from ballot