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Shop Talk: Happy Days Are Here for Cunningham Campaign Team

Former North Carolina state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) has announced the team he has hired to run his effort to defeat Sen. Richard Burr (R) in November.

[IMGCAP(1)]Campaign Manager Rick Fromberg most recently helped now-Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.) defeat then-Rep. Thelma Drake (R) in an upset victory in 2008.

Political Director Conen Morgan is an alumnus of the North Carolina Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign in 2008, as well as former vice chairman of the Wake County Democratic Party.

Deputy Political Director Will Cubbison has previously worked for the Service Employees International Union and was chairman of the Labor Caucus for the state’s Young Democrats.

Communications Director Angela Guyadeen previously served as a regional press secretary for then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) 2008 presidential campaign, and has also served as spokeswoman for Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) and the state Democratic Party in New Mexico.

Finance Director John Gardner had the same role for the North Carolina state party, while Deputy Finance Director Crystal Perkins has raised money for many candidates in the Lone Star State.

Senior Advisor Morgan Jackson of Nexus Strategies is also on board with Cunningham’s campaign.

Cunningham has also hired pollster John Anzalone, who aided now-Sen. Kay Hagan’s (D-N.C.) 2008 victory; Pete Giangreco of the Strategy Group for direct mail; Jen Mueller of Benchmark Strategies for fundraising; and Larry Huynh of Trilogy Interactive for new media. Steve Murphy and Mark Putnam have also signed on to the campaign to do media.

The New Trilogy. Three new media firms that together represent 22 Senate Democrats and five former presidential campaigns have merged to become Trilogy Interactive.

The new online communications and strategy shop for Democrats was put together by partners Brent Blackaby and Larry Huynh of Blackrock Associates, Stacey Bashara and Randy Stearns of Articulated Man, and Josh Ross of Mayfield Strategy, according to a news release.

Blackaby and Huynh are alumni of the Draft Wes Clark movement in 2003. They founded the San Francisco-based firm Blackrock Associates, which has done online consulting for Democratic Sens. Jim Webb (Va.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (Vt.), as well as Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and many more.

Ross served on the senior staff for Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) 2004 presidential campaign, where he was in charge of all online strategy and operations. Mayfield Strategy also advised Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, according to online finance records.

Articulated Man, based in Chicago, has helped candidates all over the country with its online strategy. According to campaign finance records, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) as well as Vice President Joseph Biden’s presidential campaign have used its services.

Hultgren and Bear It. State Sen. Randy Hultgren (R) enlisted the help of a top-tier consulting team to pull off his upset of a political dynasty last week. Hultgren defeated attorney Ethan Hastert, the son of former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), in the Feb. 2 primary in the 14th district.

Hultgren tapped Jon Seaton of East Meridian Strategies to be his general consultant, Brian Tringali of the Tarrance Group to do his polling, and Mike McElwain to do his media, according to a source familiar with the arrangement.

Hultgren campaign manager John Cooney is a former top aide for former Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.).

Three Pats on the Back. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party looked across the river for their next spokesman. The party picked Patrick McKenna to be their communications director for the rest of the cycle in the Keystone State, where another Pat – former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) ‘ is running for the GOP’s Senate nomination and will face either Sen. Arlen Specter (D) or Rep. Joe Sestak (D).

McKenna worked on Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez’s (N.J.) first Senate campaign in 2006 and worked on then-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s (D) failed 2009 re-election bid.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan (R) also has his campaign team in place for his bid to win Sestak’s southeastern Pennsylvania seat. The group includes many operatives who worked with him on his gubernatorial bid before he switched races to run for Congress last year.

Meehan adviser Vince Galko has previously served as executive director of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and was campaign manager for Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta’s (R) 2008 bid against Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.).

Campaign manager Bryan Kendro is a former top aide to Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) and served as a field coordinator for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Communications Director Pete Peterson has held a similar role for candidates all over southeastern Pennsylvania, including the GOP nominee in the 7th district in 2008, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Williams.

Finance Director Caitlin Ganley is the former political director for Arena Strategies in Philadelphia. Meehan’s other finance director, Shannon Meadors Oscar, is a former Congressional legislative staffer who worked in both the House and the Senate. Andrew Theodore will take on the job of spearheading fundraising in Washington, D.C.

Pollster Tony Fabrizio, new media consultant Mindy Finn and media consultant Mike Hudome are also aboard the Meehan campaign team.

Hudome, Galko, Fabrizio and Finn were also signed on to work for Meehan’s gubernatorial campaign, which he ended in September to run for Congress instead.

Van Down by the River. California Assemblyman Van Tran (R), who is challenging Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D), has hired Jeff Roe of Axiom Strategies to be his general consultant, as well as a few other hands to help with his bid.

Phyllis Schneider and Associates will be Tran’s Southern California fundraiser, while Gula Graham Group will handle the Republican’s fundraising in Washington, D.C.

Chip Englander with Mercury Public Affairs will handle Tran’s polling, and Rory Luepton has been brought on as political director.

Going for a Hickenlooper. Much of the staff that helped elect Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) in the 2008 cycle has signed on to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s (D) bid for governor, according to a report in the Denver Post.

A former head of the state party, Mike Melanson, will be Hickenlooper’s manager. Udall’s finance director, Hollie Velasquez-Horvath, will serve in the same role for the gubernatorial candidate. The newspaper also reported that Udall’s deputy campaign manager Ben Davis and senior adviser Alan Salazar will hold the same titles in the Hickenlooper campaign.

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