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Shop Talk: New Shops in Works as Consulting Firm Folds

MSHC Partners, a Washington, D.C.-based Democratic consulting firm, is closing after 21 years in business. Chairman Hal Malchow is taking off to “write a bunch of books,” as he told Roll Call, while other executives are branching off to form new companies.

President Amy Niles Gonzalez, Adam Ruff and Emily Williams will be starting a new venture focused on interactive media, which the trio worked on at MSHC. MSHC partners Trish Hoppey and Dean Levitan are opening a firm focused on direct mail and analytics. More details on the new firms will be available soon.

MSHC focused on fundraising when it opened in 1989 but expanded to include persuasion mail, analytics, microtargeting and interactive media. The firm worked on behalf of Democratic candidates, including direct mail for now-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid and now-Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) in 2008, as well as for state parties, labor unions and other progressive groups. 

If It’s Not Broke. Heading into another favorable cycle after picking up six Democratic seats this month, the National Republican Senatorial Committee will look largely the same. NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) was re-elected Tuesday to a second term, and some top-level staff will also stay on board. 

Executive Director Rob Jesmer, Finance Director Dorinda Moss and Communications Director Brian Walsh will remain in their positions for the 2012 cycle.

Walsh and Jesmer joined the NRSC after the 2008 elections, when Cornyn was first elected chairman. Walsh had been communications director in Cornyn’s personal office, and Jesmer managed Cornyn’s re-election campaign that year. Moss had been a fundraiser for GOP causes and candidates before Cornyn chose her two years ago.

In contrast, staffing at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee remains in flux as party leaders continue to search for someone to take over for outgoing Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.), who is up for re-election in 2012.

A State Party in Need of a Boost. The Florida Democratic Party will be under new leadership come January, when the state executive committee will elect a new chairman to take the reins for the 2012 presidential election cycle.

Chairwoman Karen Thurman formally announced her resignation Friday, leaving after more than five years at the helm and with two years left in her term. The party is coming off major losses in the 2010 cycle — including all the statewide offices, as well as House, Senate and state legislative seats.

The leading candidate to complete Thurman’s term is former state Sen. Rod Smith, according to a Democratic strategist in the state, who noted that Smith has the backing of Sen. Bill Nelson (D). Multiple publications have quoted Smith as saying he is leaning toward running, and no other major challengers have stepped forward.

“It’s looking increasingly likely that he will be the next party chair,” the strategist said.

Smith was the running mate of losing gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink, and in 2006 he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He did not return a phone message left at his law firm, Avera & Smith.

The executive committee has some 200 people and is made up of statewide elected officials, Members of Congress, Democratic National Committee members, state legislative leader appointees and representatives from each of the state’s 67 counties.

Florida is expected to gain two Congressional districts next year after reapportionment, further increasing its influence in the next presidential election.

Soldier On.
Jon Soltz, founder of and a member of the Army Reserves, will ship out to Iraq for Operation New Dawn, he told supporters in an e-mail on Veterans Day. Vice Chairman Ashwin Madia, best known for his run for Congress in Minnesota in 2008, will take charge of the group until Soltz returns in January 2012. strives to elect veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Madia became nationally known when he ran to replace retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad (R) in the Minneapolis suburbs in 2008. A second-generation Indian-American and a veteran of the Iraq War, Madia attracted widespread support from the Indian community and veterans, including getting VoteVets’ endorsement.

After he lost to Rep. Erik Paulsen (R), then a state Representative, Madia went back to practicing law and joined VoteVets as vice chairman. The interim chairman said he hopes to carry on Soltz’s work. 

“I’m looking forward to a really exciting year of hard work,” he wrote in an e-mail. “ will continue doing exactly what it has been — representing the progressive veterans voice on all issues that touch our veterans and troops, and holding politicians accountable. Jon Soltz set up something great, and we’re ready to stay as active as always in his absence.”

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