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Crist Hires Ex-Schumer Chief of Staff to Run Media Campaign

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist announced late Friday afternoon that he has hired Josh Isay, a former chief of staff to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), to serve as the lead media consultant for his Independent Florida Senate campaign.

After leaving Schumer’s staff, Isay went on to start the media firm that has morphed into SKD Knickerbocker, which has helped elect dozens of Democrats and several high-profile Independents such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.). SKD Knickerbocker has also worked on the campaigns of several Democratic presidential nominees and was one of the direct-mail firms for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Crist is all but certain to face Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) and former state Speaker Marco Rubio (R) in the general election.

Meek’s camp brushed off the announcement of Isay’s hiring Friday afternoon with one aide pointing out that it shouldn’t be interpreted as any indication of where Schumer stands on the Senate contest. The aide said Schumer is hosting a fundraiser for Meek later this month in New York.

Crist had used the Stevens & Schriefer Group, a Republican firm, for media until he exited the GOP primary and decided to run as an Independent.

One Florida Republican Party operative said Friday that it’s no surprise Crist would use a media consultant who has spent most of his career helping Democrats.

When it comes to Crist, “there’s been a clear pattern of parting with the Republican ideals he campaigned on when he was campaigning for governor,” the operative said.

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