Shop Talk: Taking a Bite of the Big Apple

Posted July 18, 2011 at 5:52pm

Democratic polling firm Anzalone Liszt Research is opening a New York City office, continuing the firm’s expansion since 2008.r

ALR partner Jeff Liszt will be opening the new office, through which the firm hopes to expand its nonprofit, philanthropic and issue advocacy practice. The firm has offices in Washington, D.C., where three associates have been added in three years, and Mobile, Ala., where partner John Anzalone is based.

In 2012, the firm will again be on the polling team for President Barack Obama’s campaign.

Liszt, a native of Charlottesville, Va., is a University of Chicago graduate, Ironman competitor and mandolin player. He has polled for the independent expenditure arms of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Governors Association.

Barrier Busting in Utah

The Utah Democratic Party elected Jim Dabakis as chairman by a wide margin Saturday. Dabakis is believed to be the first openly gay major-party leader in the state.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Dabakis is an art dealer and co-founder of both Utah Pride Center and Equality Utah.

“I visited all 29 counties during the last five months, and people were very interested in what kind of a job I would do and what my experience was,” Dabakis said. “The whole gay thing just simply did not surface as an issue. People are broad-minded in Utah, and they want to know if you can do the job or not.”

Dabakis defeated political activist and middle school teacher Robert Comstock. He replaces outgoing Chairman Wayne Holland Jr.

Blue and Red Make Purple

GOP operative Rob Collins and Democratic operative Jim Jordan are joining  the public affairs firm Purple Strategies.

Collins, 36, last year left his position as a top aide to now-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to serve as executive director of the American Action Network. Jordan, 50, is a former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Purple Strategies is led by bipartisan partners Alex Castellanos, Steve McMahon, Bruce Haynes and John Donovan.

Politico first reported the moves.

Win, Lose or Ty

Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century hired Ty Matsdorf to serve as its war room director and senior adviser, overseeing and executing its campaign and state-based communications.

Matsdorf is a campaign and Capitol Hill veteran, most recently serving as communications director in the office of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Before joining Blumenthal’s 2010 campaign, Matsdorf was communications director for Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

“I’m thrilled Ty is joining American Bridge’s already strong communications team,” American Bridge 21st Century President Rodell Mollineau said. “Having worked with him in the Senate, I know he has the skills, experience and strategic instincts to lead our campaign communications efforts.”

Matsdorf joins Campaign Director Bradley Beychok and Research Director Shauna Daly on the senior staff. The organization provides opposition research, tracking footage and instant-response operations to Democratic independent expenditure groups.

Bachmann’s Eds

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) announced the senior staff of her presidential campaign, including some who have been previously reported.

Veteran strategist Ed Rollins, who was White House political director for President Ronald Reagan, is serving as campaign manager. Ed Goeas, president of the Tarrance Group and a pollster for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign, will serve as Bachmann’s pollster and strategist.

Deputy campaign manager David Polyansky is a veteran of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 campaign, as is press secretary Alice Stewart, who served in the same role for Huckabee. Senior policy adviser Brett O’Donnell served as director of messaging on the McCain campaign.

Keith Nahigian is the senior adviser for strategy and communications, veteran presidential campaign operative Bob Heckman is senior adviser for coalitions, and McCain campaign veteran Becki Donatelli is social media adviser. Mary Heitman and Jody Thomas are serving as national finance directors.

More Presidential Help

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign recently announced the hiring of Mark McIntosh as policy director.

McIntosh was an environmental attorney in President George W. Bush’s White House, serving as deputy general counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality and as senior operations officer for the Pew Environment Group. Most recently, he served as counsel at Boyden Gray & Associates.

“He will be a tremendous asset in helping to shape the campaign and lead Jon Huntsman to victory,” campaign manager Susie Wiles said in a statement.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney named Brian Ballard Florida finance co-chairman for his presidential campaign.

Ballard served in the same position for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign and for the Republican National Committee. In the late 1980s Ballard served as chief of staff for then-Florida Gov. Bob Martinez.

“Brian’s level of talent, expertise and enthusiasm characterizes what is needed to beat President [Barack] Obama in Florida,” Romney said in a statement.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) recently expanded the Iowa team for his presidential campaign.

The new additions include Steven Munoz, who will implement his Ames straw poll strategy. New field representatives are Betsy DeFord, Jake Braunger, Zack Garrison and Johnny Sublett.

“I am looking forward to working with them as we build the infrastructure and relationships necessary to win the First-in-the-Nation Caucus this February,” Santorum said in a statement.

Lorenz to Lincoln

Nebraska Democratic Party Executive Director Jim Rogers announced appointing communications consultant and former journalist Brandon Lorenz as communications director. The state is home to one of the top Senate races of the cycle, with Sen. Ben Nelson (D) facing a difficult path to re-election.

“I look forward to shining a spotlight on the Senate candidates and their extreme attacks on Medicare and Social Security that put the health and financial well-being of thousands of Nebraska seniors at risk,” Lorenz said in a statement.

Lorenz, a Wisconsin native, most recently served as communications director on a special election campaign for Milwaukee county executive, a seat once held by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). Previously Lorenz worked for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, including working on research and communications for the 2010 Senate race. He also worked in the administration of former Gov. Jim Doyle (D).

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