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Shop Talk: How Democrats Spend Off Years

For the second-straight off year, a group of Democratic consultants formed a team to participate in the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

Team Mission Control went all out for the 39th annual seven-day, 472-mile trek from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River, with members sporting matching jerseys. Ed Peavy, the founding partner of Mission Control, a top Democratic direct-mail firm based in Connecticut, was the team leader and was joined by his Mission Control partner Maren Hesla, Anzalone Liszt partner John Anzalone and media consultant Martin Hamburger.

Peavy, Anzalone and Hamburger also rode together in 2009, when they were joined by Ann Liston of Adelstein Liston and Amy Pritchard of Mission Control. “We sleep in tents each night serviced by an outfitter called Pork Belly Venture,” Anzalone said in a midride email to Roll Call last week. “It is just a great experience. Tuesday we rode 102 miles in searing heat. Yesterday the heat index was higher here (111) than Death Valley (107). Today we are dealing with 10-15 mph winds, but at least we have cloud coverage. It is a total blast. Tough but fun, and great company.”

Staffing Up for the Re-Elect

The Democratic National Committee announced several new hires for its communications and research teams for the 2012 presidential cycle.

First reported by Politico, the DNC announced that Melanie Roussell has replaced Hari Sevugan as national press secretary. Most recently at Housing and Urban Development, Roussell, who started Monday, was southern regional communications director for Obama for America in 2008. She will also help direct the committee’s rapid response unit.

Ellen Qualls, a former senior adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and senior aide to then-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D), joined this week as director of surrogate and allied group outreach. Qualls was a fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics during the spring semester and had been running her own consulting firm, Qualls Communications. Deputy director of surrogate and allied group outreach is Rob O’Donnell, who returns to the DNC from the Justice Department. O’Donnell, who starts next week, was previously a radio booker for the DNC.

Tony Carrk has joined the DNC research team from the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Now the director of rapid response research, Carrk previously worked in research for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and on campaigns for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Terry McAuliffe. Nick Hackworth, previously DNC deputy director of research, was named director of strategic planning for research, in which he will oversee long-term and strategic political research with an eye toward the Republican presidential candidates.

Jordan Takes Off in Florida

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith announced Monday that Brannon Jordan is taking over as communications director for the 2012 cycle, when the GOP will hold its national convention in Tampa.

Jordan, a former deputy communications director at the Democratic Governors Association, replaces Eric Jotkoff, who announced Friday he was stepping down after three years with the party. Jotkoff said he is going to “relax and recharge” before announcing his future plans.

“Brannon will be a tremendous asset to our already strong team,” Smith said. “A Florida native, she is a seasoned and talented communicator who stands ready to hold Republicans accountable while promoting our party’s focus on restoring the economy and creating jobs.”

Before joining the DGA, Jordan served in the press offices of then-Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who ran for governor last year, and 2006 Florida gubernatorial nominee Jim Davis.

With the Republican National Convention in town next year, Jordan’s new job will have added significance in the party’s ability to combat the GOP’s messaging.

Santorum Adds Policy Wonk

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) named Jennifer Vesey Rossman senior policy adviser for health care and entitlement reform for his presidential campaign.

The Iowa native previously worked for Santorum for three years as legislative assistant for health policy and as director of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy. Rossman, a graduate of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa, has served as a consultant for medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers since 2007.

Ready and Willing

The Maryland Republican Party named state Del. Justin Ready as interim executive director while undergoing a search for a full-time executive director.

Ready held the same position from April 2008 to July 2009 and also has experience as a General Assembly staffer. He was elected to the state House in 2010.

Outgoing Executive Director Kim Jorns was hired for the same position in her home state of Michigan. Jorns previously served as finance director at both the Virginia and Wisconsin state parties.

Hauser Joins Labor Group

The AFL-CIO announced last week that Jeff Hauser will lead the labor union’s political media work heading into the 2012 elections. Hauser spent almost a decade working in various posts throughout the progressive movement, including director of media relations for
Political Action, executive director at Majority Action and at Accountability Now and campaign manager for Dennis Shulman’s  2008 bid for Congress in New Jersey.

Hauser got his start in politics with Wesley Clark’s 2004 presidential campaign before serving as political director of the National Jewish Democratic Council and deputy campaign manager of the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

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