Shop Talk: Ghosts of Consultants Past

Posted April 21, 2010 at 6:11pm

Mark Critz, the Democratic nominee in the May 18 special election to fill the late Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) seat, is using only one firm from the Congressman’s consulting team for his campaign despite being a top aide to Murtha.

[IMGCAP(1)]Murtha employed the talents of media consultant Ed Mitchell, who is well-known in the Keystone State for working with many of the longtime Members in the delegation, such as Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D). Mack Crounse Group did the mail for Murtha, while Bennett, Petts & Normington did polling for the late Congressman.

Critz, who often invokes the Congressman’s name in his television spots, has put together an almost completely new team for his special election bid. Although Kevin Mack of Mack Crounse Group is working on his mail, Murphy Putnam Media is doing television, Jef Pollock of Global Strategy Group is polling and LA Harris of LA Harris and Associates is doing fundraising consulting.

Holly Shulman has signed on to be Critz’s spokeswoman for the campaign. Shulman served as spokeswoman for Rick Noriega’s 2008 Senate bid in Texas, and her father, Rabbi Dennis Shulman, ran for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th district in the same cycle.

Critz’s GOP opponent, businessman Tim Burns, has brought in media consultant John Brabender, pollster Gene Ulm, and consultants Kent Gates and Mike DuHaime. Tad Rupp, a veteran of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-W.Va.) operation, is serving as campaign manager.

His Brother’s Keeper. It’s safe to say that Tennessee Republican Ron Kirkland has more consultants working on his behalf than any of the other candidates looking to succeed retiring Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) in 2010. Kirkland has hired Joel McElhannon of South Public Affairs Consulting to be his general consultant, as well as Jay Williams and Michael Clingaman of the Stoneridge Group and Jan van Lohuizen of Voter Consumer Research.

His brother has started an independent expenditure operation that is intended to support Ron Kirkland’s candidacy. Robert Kirkland has hired John McLaughlin at McLaughlin & Associates for polling, Terry Benham at the Political Firm for media and Brad Greer for general consulting for the IE.

Flowers Are Blumenthal. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the likely Democratic nominee for the Nutmeg State’s open Senate seat, has tapped Mindy Myers to run his campaign. According to several local news sources, Myers is taking a leave of absence from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-R.I.) office to help Blumenthal with his race.

Dear John. Pollster John Anzalone’s split from Rep. Artur Davis’ (D-Ala.) gubernatorial bid was well-publicized, given that the Democratic survey guru hails from the Cotton State. Davis and Anzalone’s firm reportedly went their separate ways because of ‘strategic differences,’ and the Congressman has since hired Dave Beattie of Hamilton Campaigns to do his polling.

But while Davis’ professional relationship may be splitsville with Anzalone, the Democratic pollster is not lacking clients these days. Not only does he boast business with the independent expenditure arm for almost every Democratic committee this cycle ‘ the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Governors Association ‘ he is working on 19 Members’ re-election campaigns and six House Democratic challenger races.

Anzalone is also working for three Senate candidates: Reps. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) and Charlie Melancon (D-La.) and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) in North Carolina.

Gonna Make This Gardner Grow. State Rep. Cory Gardner (R) has picked up a new campaign manager, Chris Hansen, who comes from working on businessman Dick Green’s (R) failed primary bid in Illinois’ 10th district. Gardner is one of a couple Republicans running in the GOP primary to challenge Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.) in November.

In addition to Hansen, Gardner has also picked up John Hishta and Ben Burger of SRCP Media, as well as Ward Baker of Majority Strategies for mail. Dave Sackett of the Tarrance Group will serve as his pollster.

Pulling Wooldridge Over Your Eyes. Former state Sen. Tim Wooldridge, one of a few Democrats running for retiring Rep. Marion Berry’s (D-Ark.) seat, has pulled together his consulting team for his bid. Wooldridge has hired David Browne for media, Kevin Geary for mail, Alan Secrest for polling and Sarah Willhelm Greathouse for fundraising.

See Jane Run With a New Manager. Former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) has switched up her campaign management for her Senate bid. She is running in a crowded primary to take on appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

Josh Penry, a former gubernatorial candidate and local elected official, will take over as campaign manager, and Rich Beeson will serve as a general consultant.

According to a release from the Norton campaign, outgoing campaign manager Norm Cummings has resigned his post but will continue to serve as a senior political adviser to the campaign.

EMILY’s New List. EMILY’s List has hired Jen Bluestein as its new communications director. Bluestein most recently worked at Teach for America as vice president of its Political Leadership Initiative. She has also served as press secretary for the New York City Department of Education and the New York State Democratic Committee, and she worked on Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s 2002 race and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s Massachusetts gubernatorial bid.

Emily Lockwood has been promoted to new media director. She joined the abortion-rights group in 2008 as Internet director after serving in the department of online organizing for now-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

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