Shop Talk: Campaign Hand to Private Sector; DGA’s New Faces

Posted December 8, 2010 at 6:45pm

Democratic Governors Association Chairman Martin O’Malley named Colm O’Comartun, his longtime aide in the Maryland governor’s office, as executive director of the DGA. O’Comartun takes over for Nathan Daschle, who is leaving after more than five years at the DGA to start a new firm with DGA Political Director Ray Glendening.

“Colm is one of the most skilled and loyal public servants I’ve ever worked with,” O’Malley said in a statement. “He’s a strong fundraiser, excellent organizer and talented communicator.”

O’Malley, who had asked Daschle to stay on for another cycle, also praised Daschle, saying he “took the DGA to new heights, created an institution that had an impact on more than 50 races over the course of his tenure and stood out among political leaders in this country.”

Two Decades and Done

Democratic consultants Steve Murphy and Mark Putnam are heading in new directions after 20 years together, including 13 years as partners at Murphy Putnam Media.

Putnam Partners will differ from Putnam’s last firm in two ways: more aggressive use of new media and more work with issue advocacy and nonprofits to help even out the boom-and-bust of the political calendar.

Joining Putnam as partners are two Murphy Putnam colleagues, Philip de Vellis and Jim Duffy.

Murphy will join forces with Jon Vogel, outgoing executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to a report in the Washington Post. Murphy and Vogel are “good friends,” according to one insider, and have worked together on special elections and other overlapping campaigns.

Spain Off the Campaign

Ken Spain is leaving the National Republican Congressional Committee after nearly four years to serve as vice president of public affairs and communications at Private Equity Growth Capital Council.

The highly praised Spain served as communications director during the 2010 election cycle, when Republicans netted 63 House seats. In the 2008 cycle, Spain served as national press secretary.

A top candidate to replace Spain is NRCC Deputy Communications Director Paul Lindsay. A replacement is expected to be announced in the next week.

Pressing On

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal was again chosen as chairman of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a group dedicated to electing and supporting Democratic state legislators.

Gronstal became chairman of the DLCC in 2007 after Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald stepped down to run for Congress. He served previously as the group’s vice chairman and finance chairman.

Gronstal came to the Iowa House in 1983 and to the Iowa Senate in 1985. He was introduced to the DLCC after he became Minority Leader in 1996 and went to Kansas City for a DLCC training seminar.

In addition to strategically funding campaigns for state legislatures, the DLCC also provides technical assistance for candidates, Gronstal said.

“Being at the forefront of nimble and strategic and modern campaigns, I think some people would be surprised at the level of sophistication of legislative campaigns,” Gronstal said. The DLCC offers candidates support in targeting voters, for example, or in finding someone to design their websites. In 2011, it will be mindful of redistricting efforts.

Gronstal wasn’t the only officer the group’s board of directors chose at its December meeting. Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford will be vice chairman, New Hampshire state Sen. Sylvia Larsen will be the board secretary, Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Gerber will be treasurer and Virginia House Democratic leader Del. Ward Armstrong will be finance chairman.

Better Than Main Street

Joe Maloney left the Dewey Square Group to join the Locust Street Group as a partner.

Named after a street in Des Moines, the Locust Street Group has five full-time staffers in Washington, D.C.

Maloney said he’s looking forward to a new challenge. “It’s an opportunity for firms and organizations here in town to actually go back into states and into districts and find real people who want to get involved in important issues in the 112th Congress,” he said.

At the Dewey Square Group since 2006, Maloney contracted with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm this fall. Previously, Maloney worked  for the Law Media Group, Sen. John Kerry’s campaign during the Iowa caucus in 2004 and as director of a coalition based in Connecticut. A Massachusetts native and Dickinson College alum, Maloney started his career in former Florida Rep. Peter Deutsch’s office.

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