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Shop Talk: In the Hole for Hodes

Now that he’s officially the only candidate running for Senate in New Hampshire, Rep. Paul Hodes has begun to put together his campaign team. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter announced this week that she would not run for retiring Sen. Judd Gregg’s (R) seat, clearing the Democratic field for Hodes.

[IMGCAP(1)]Valerie Martin will serve as Hodes’ campaign manager. Martin managed then-Rep. Tom Allen’s (D) failed Maine Senate bid in 2008, after working in campaign finance for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.).

Diana Rogalle, a principal for the Ashmead Group, will be the national fundraiser for Hodes’ Senate campaign. A former finance director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the 2002 cycle, Rogalle advised now-Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-Colo.) successful election in 2008.

Hodes will retain many of his consultants from his 2006 and 2008 House bids. Tom King will do media, Ed Peavy and Adnaan Muslim of Mission Control will do his direct mail and John Anzalone will perform polling for Hodes’ first statewide bid.

Damien Departs the DNC. Deputy Communications Director Damien LaVera is departing the Democratic National Committee for a job in the Obama administration. LaVera will be the director of public affairs at the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Nuclear proliferation is far from a foreign topic for LaVera, who co-wrote a book on the issue before his time at the DNC. He starts next week at the Department of Energy.

LaVera was the last holdover at the DNC communications shop from former Chairman Howard Dean’s tenure. He began as a deputy press secretary for the committee in 2005.

In other DNC press shop news, Hari Sevugan joined the committee as national press secretary where he will be helping out with rapid response. Sevugan was most recently on the campaign of President Barack Obama.

Windy City to Washington. Chicago-based media firm Adelstein Liston has tapped Raghu Devaguptapu to head its Washington, D.C., office.

A former political director at the Democratic Governors Association and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, Devaguptapu most recently managed the independent expenditure and issue advocacy program for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Devaguptapu is the firm’s first full-time employee in the firm’s D.C. office. His hire marks an effort by partners Eric Adelstein and Ann Liston to expand their national presence as they work with more candidates outside of Illinois.

For the 2010 cycle, the firm has signed Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias’ Senate bid, plus the re-election campaigns of Democratic Reps. Melissa Bean (Ill.), Debbie Halvorson (Ill.), Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.) and Harry Mitchell (Ariz.).

The Steele Team. The Republican National Committee named its first two staffers under new Chairman Michael Steele. The hires couldn’t come soon enough for Steele, who has had a tumultuous first six weeks at the helm of the committee battling GOP figureheads.

Steele announced that Ken McKay will serve as his chief of staff. McKay managed Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri’s (R) campaigns in 2002 and 2006, plus served as the GOP governor’s chief of staff in the intermittent years. He most recently worked at a private practice law firm.

Trevor Francis will be the new communications director at the RNC. Francis is a managing director ar Burson-Marstellar and was a press secretary for the Commerce secretary in the early years of President George W. Bush’s administration.

When Steele took the reins of the RNC at the end of January, he asked every staffer for their resignation in an effort to reorganize the committee. More hires are expected to come in the next couple weeks as Steele beefs up the staff once again.

Great Balsera of Fire. Investment banker Emanuel Pleitez (D) has tapped Balsera Communications to advise him on his media and political strategy in the special election to fill Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ House seat. Pleitez is an outsider candidate, with the battle between state Sen. Gil Cedillo (D) and state Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu (D) taking center stage.

According to a bilingual press release from the firm, Balsera Communications specializes in the Hispanic market — a majority constituency in California’s 32nd district. The firm worked with President Barack Obama’s campaign on Spanish-language advertising and Hispanic voter outreach.

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