Shop Talk: Top Democratic Consultant Moving Firm to D.C.

Posted December 15, 2010 at 6:23pm

Correction Appended

Democratic consultant Doug Hattaway told Roll Call he is moving his firm, Hattaway Communications, to Washington, D.C. The firm is moving from Boston into its new office Monday.

Hattaway most recently served as a senior communications adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. He previously worked for then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and served as Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign spokesman.

Hattaway has been building up the firm since mid-2008 and has a core group of nine employees. That includes recent hire Jenn Larsen, who is leaving the D.C. firm APCO Worldwide.

Hattaway Communications focuses on politics, government, advocacy and philanthropy work, Hattaway said. He will also do some Senate and presidential campaign work going forward.

Musical Chairs for GOP Chairmen

Chairmen and operatives running Republican state parties across the country are turning over, and in the case of chairmen, the changes could have implications in the January vote for who will lead the Republican National Committee.

Indiana GOP Chairman Murray Clark announced earlier this week that he and Executive Director Kevin Ober would step down at the end of the year. Clark, an attorney, has served as chairman since early 2006, and Ober came on in 2007. Communications Director Trevor Foughty is also leaving. Foughty will become communications director for Rep.-elect Todd Young in January. If a new chairman is elected by mid-January, he or she will have a vote in the RNC chairman’s race.

In North Dakota, Stan Stein was elected Republican Party chairman over the weekend. Stein follows Carma Hansen and Tony Clark, who stepped in to finish Gary Emineth’s term when he resigned over the summer. A farmer who was the party’s vice chairman, Stein has served as district chairman for 10 years. Shortly after his victory, Stein said he’ll lean on fellow RNC members from North Dakota when deciding whom to support for RNC chairman.

Several chairmen have already been re-elected: In Tennessee, Chris Devaney was elected to his second term as chairman earlier this month. A longtime political operative who lives in Chattanooga, Devaney was elected chairman in May 2009. Devaney has endorsed former RNC Co-chairwoman Ann Wagner in her bid to lead the national party.

In Arkansas, Chairman Doyle Webb, a former state Senator, was recently elected to a second term. Webb has not committed to supporting an RNC candidate.

Matt Strawn, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, announced he would run for re-election in January and that he would support fellow Iowan and former RNC political director Gentry Collins for chairman of the national party. His counterparts in New Hampshire and South Carolina, two other pivotal early primary states, are not seeking re-election.

Gopher State Nuggets

In Minnesota, Democratic operative Ken Martin is running for chairman of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, with Chairman Brian Melendez leaving in February after six years at the party. Martin most recently directed the successful recount effort for Gov.-elect Mark Dayton, a former Senator, and also led two DFL interest groups, the 2010 Fund and Win Minnesota, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Though they notched the gubernatorial victory, Democrats in the state were hit hard by losing the state Legislature and Rep. James Oberstar, who represents the state’s 8th district.

“We will have to prepare to make sure President Obama is re-elected and that we send Senator Amy Klobuchar back to Washington for a second term,” Martin wrote in a letter posted to his campaign’s Facebook page. The election is Feb. 5, and Martin is the only announced candidate so far.

On the Republican side, consultants Ben Golnik of Golnik Strategies and Gregg Peppin of P2B Strategies announced this week a strategic partnership to fill the void created with the influx of new state legislators in St. Paul. Golnik, who was a regional campaign chairman for Sen. John McCain in 2008, told Roll Call the team will focus on “public affairs, public relations and grass roots” work that is all of a sudden necessary in the state capital.

A similar St. Paul-based deal was announced last week between Goff & Howard, a public relations firm, and McClung Communications & Public Relations, headed by Brian McClung, the former spokesman to Pawlenty.

NRCC Gears Up for New Cycle

The National Republican Congressional Committee has named Mike Shields political director, Jenny Sheffield Drucker finance director and Paul Lindsay communications director. All three worked at the NRCC in the 2010 election cycle.

Trent Edwards, the field finance director in the last cycle, is leaving to serve as chief of staff for Rep.-elect Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), according to an insider. And the office of Speaker-designate John Boehner (Ohio) is expected to announce its hiring of NRCC Deputy Executive Director Johnny DeStefano in the coming days.

Lindsay served as deputy communications director last cycle under Ken Spain, who is leaving the committee to serve as vice president of the Private Equity Growth Capital Council. Shields, who ran the committee’s independent expenditure unit, replaces Brian O. Walsh. And Drucker, who served as deputy finance director, replaces Elizabeth Verrill, who is returning to her political and nonprofit fundraising company, EV Strategies, according to a source.

Tom Erickson, the NRCC’s Midwest regional press secretary in the last cycle, started as communications director for Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.).

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Correction: Dec. 16, 2010

The article misstated Tom Erickson’s employer. He was the NRCC’s Midwest regional press secretary.