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Shop Talk: Feast of the Epiphany

The Republican event and fundraising firm Epiphany Productions has opened a sister company, Comitatus Consulting, with the aim of helping Capitol Hill offices and not-for-profit groups to use technology and social networking.

[IMGCAP(1)]Jeramie Anderson, a veteran of the technology teams for the White House and Republican National Committee, will manage Comitatus’ technology as vice president. Epiphany Productions’ founding partner, Julie Wadler, and productions officer, Aaron Poe, will serve as partners for the new firm.

Wadler is also using her experience in the restaurant industry — she’s one of the owners of the Capitol Hill seafood restaurant Johnny’s Half Shell — to create a restaurant blog for Epiphany Productions’ Web site.

Because her production company does so many events, Wadler believes she was in a unique position to write honest reviews of venues for her clients and other restaurants. She will not be the only one penning the critiques, however. Wadler’s staff and acquaintances will also dissect event venues.

Elementary, My Dear Watson. The newest Democrat in the Senate, Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), has tapped Fran Katz Watson to be his new fundraiser.

Katz Watson has advised Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) as well as the Democratic National Committee.

After Specter announced two weeks ago that he was switching parties to run for re-election as a Democrat, many of his longtime consultants quit, including his polling firm and finance team.

Send Them PACking. The Federal Election Commission noted a 9 percent increase in the overall number of political action committees during 2008, according to an item in their monthly newsletter, the Record.

The number increased to of 4,611 federal registered PACs on Jan. 1, 2009. “Nonconnected PACs— — or those without sister organizations that pay for expenses — accounted for the largest increase at 23 percent.

The newsletter also noted that corporate PACs increased by less than 1 percent but still account for the most PACs overall.

Hark, the Herald Group Sings. Sean Donahue has joined the Herald Group as a senior vice president, according to a press release from the communications consulting firm. He will oversee the group’s developing new media strategies department.

Donahue most recently served as the global head of environmental marketing and communications at Dell. He was also director of public affairs at the Glover Park Group and director of technology and communications at Dittus Communications, according to the press release from Donahue’s new firm.

Georgia on Pollster’s Mind. Republican Wayne Mosley, running for the GOP nod in Rep. John Barrow’s (D-Ga.) district, has picked his pollster.

According to a source familiar with the agreement, Mosley has retained Robert Autry of Public Opinion Strategies for his first official bid for the seat.

Mosley was courted by the National Republican Congressional Committee to run in 2008, but he eventually declined. He has already filed his candidacy to run in 2010.

The RNC’s Recruits. The Republican National Committee has named several top staffers, including a top press aide and a finance director.

Robert Bickhart will be the committee’s finance director. The Keystone State fundraiser was former Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-Pa.) finance chairman and is the chairman and CEO of Capitol Resource Group.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele has tapped Kevin Igoe to be his deputy chief of staff. A former executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, Igoe was one of Steele’s top consultants who helped him get elected chairman earlier this year.

Gail Gitcho has already started as press secretary for the committee. She most recently worked with the national press on Republican Norm Coleman’s Minnesota Senate recount effort, following her work as a regional communications director for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential bid in 2008.

Even More New Partners. The newly formed Democratic consulting firm headed by former top Obama adviser Paul Tewes, New Partners Inc., has hired two more veterans of the president’s national campaign. Mike Dorsey and Ali Sutton will be working directly with Tewes and Tom McMahon.

Dorsey finished off the Obama campaign as state director for Montana but also served as Midwest political director and state director for Missouri, Rhode Island and western Pennsylvania during the Democratic primaries. He was deputy research director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during the 2004 cycle.

Sutton started working for Obama in Iowa in March 2007, following her work with the Hawkeye State Democratic Party in the 2006 cycle. Sutton continued with the Obama campaign in five more primary states before serving as the field director for Americans living abroad in the general election.

In related news, New Partners has opened its new office in Gallery Place.

Submit campaign staffing news and tips to Shop Talk here.

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