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Shop Talk: Leading the War Against Wilson

Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-S.C.) likely opponent, 2008 Democratic nominee Rob Miller, has a completely new consulting team in place this cycle after holding the Congressman to his lowest winning percentage yet last year.

[IMGCAP(1)]Both Wilson and Miller have raised at least $1.5 million each since the Republican shouted “You lie!— during President Barack Obama’s joint address to Congress last week. Following the outburst, the race has become a top-tier endeavor for consultants on both campaigns.

This time around, Miller has tapped Peter Cari and Maura Dougherty of Envision Communications to do his media, Jeff Liszt of Anzalone Liszt to be his pollster and Emily Parcell of MSHC to be his mail consultant, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Miller had a completely different stable of consultants in 2008, when he lost to Wilson by 8 points. Miller used Lachlan McIntosh as his general consultant, Bryan Dooley of Hamilton Campaigns for polling and opposition research, Morton Brilliant of The Strategy Group for his direct mail and Howard Mead as his media consultant for that bid.

Wilson, on the other hand, has been with at least one of his consultants since the very beginning. Wilson has worked with GOP pollster Whit Ayres of Ayres, McHenry and Associates since 1982, when the Congressman was working on the campaign of his predecessor, Rep. Floyd Spence (R-S.C.). According to Ayres, Wilson “took a chance— on a political science professor and asked Ayres to poll for Spence.

“I polled my very first poll for Floyd Spence in 1982,— Ayres said. “And Joe has been an encourager and supporter of my polling work ever since.—

Wilson’s consulting team has been working overtime and hired an extra hand to help deal with the response in the wake of the Congressman’s outburst. Brian Donahue of Jamestown and Associates has worked primarily as his media consultant since last cycle, but lately he has been doing some communications strategy and produced three online videos so far for Wilson’s campaign.

“This has been an all-hands-on-deck environment, and the team has meshed

very well to establish a unified and consistent response,— Donahue said.

After last week’s brouhaha, Wilson’s

team also brought on new-media consultant David All to work with Wesley Donehue on online strategy for the South Carolina lawmaker.

Linked In With Lentz. State Rep. Bryan Lentz (D) announced his consulting team that will guide his bid to win Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D-Pa.) seat.

Sestak is running for Senate in 2010, and the race to succeed him is expected to be highly competitive. Lentz, the only announced Democratic candidate in the race, announced he has hired Neil Oxman of the Campaign Group to do his media. The same firm advised Sestak on his media strategy during his 2006 and 2008 bids.

Pollster Jef Pollock of Global Strategy Group and Andrew Kennedy of Kennedy Communications have also signed on to his campaign. Both consultants worked with Lentz in previous cycles.

A Big Patton on the Back. Democratic campaign compliance software giant NGP Software Inc. announced this week that it has acquired Patton Technologies, which is best known for its fundraising software used by 28 state Democratic parties.

NGP is used by more than 75 percent of Democrats in Congress, plus every major Democratic campaign committee. With the acquisition of Patton Technologies, NGP boasts it now has more than 1,000 clients in every state.

Also according to a press release from NGP, Patton clients will now be able to use their fundraising and compliance software, including the contribution Web package, broadcast e-mail and personal fundraising pages.

NRCC’s 10 for 2010. The National Republican Congressional Committee reports that it is fully staffed in its press department, which is led by Communications Director Ken Spain and Deputy Communications Director Paul Lindsay.

The committee picked up Tom Erickson as its Midwest regional press secretary this month. The former flack for then-Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-Minn.) 2008 re-election campaign and subsequent recount has joined Joanna Burgos, Tory Mazzola and Andy Seré in the regional press shop.

Greg Blair is deputy press secretary, while Lisa Boothe is an assistant press secretary and Genny Carter is a press assistant. John Thompson will serve as director of radio and TV for the 2010 cycle.

Reiding Up. Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak announced he has hired John Reid as vice president of his new firm, Potomac Strategy Group.

Reid, a former TV news reporter and anchor in Richmond, Va., most recently served as editorial director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and before that was communications director for then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.).

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