Skip to content

Shop Talk: Special Spokesmen

Shop Talk previously featured the consulting teams for the candidates running in the Sept. 13 special election in Nevada’s 2nd district, but since then, the campaigns have both hired communications directors.

Peter DeMarco is serving as chief spokesman for former Nevada GOP Chairman Mark Amodei. For the past four years, DeMarco has worked in corporate communications, and before that, he spent more than five years on the staff of two Republican state Senators in Sacramento.

DeMarco got his start as a press aide to then-California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) in the early 1990s, then served as press secretary for then-Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) and later did a stint as deputy national communications director for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2000 presidential campaign.

Nevada Treasurer Kate Marshall’s (D) spokesman is James Hallinan, who is a veteran of New Mexico Democratic politics. Before striking out on his own, Hallinan was communications director for the state party and served as a deputy spokesman on former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish’s gubernatorial campaign last year.

He previously served as communications director in the lieutenant governor’s office and deputy press secretary to then-Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez (D), who is now running for New Mexico’s open 1st district seat. He also did press on the final stretch of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign in New Mexico.

No Relation to Yogi

Ami Bera, a physician who challenged Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) last year, is running again and keeping much of the same consulting team he used last cycle.

Now running in a newly drawn and more competitive district, Bera has signed on Lisa Grove for polling, Adelstein Liston for media and Marty Stone for phones. New to the team is direct-mail firm the Pivot Group, one of the offshoots from the disbanded MSHC Partners.

In an interview, Bera — who ran in one of only a handful of districts Democrats hoped to pick up last year — said he ran the wrong field campaign and should have focused more on decline-to-state voters. Going forward, while redistricting is making headlines now in California, Bera said the real story is the state moving to a “jungle” primary system, which will add a wrinkle to campaign strategies.

New GOP Firm in Aloha State

The Hawaii Republican Party announced last month that Executive Director Dylan Nonaka left to launch his own political and public affairs firm, the Kahua Group.

It’s a full-service consulting firm offering general campaign strategy and planning, voter identification, message development, building new media and Web campaigns, graphic design, fundraising, campaign budgeting and direct-mail design and program management.

The former Marine Corps sergeant joined the state party in May 2010, shortly after managing former Rep. Charles Djou’s successful special election campaign for Congress. Before the five-month campaign started, Nonaka had served for more than a year as Djou’s chief of staff on the Honolulu City Council.

Nonaka is also a former chairman of the Hawaii County Republican Party and later worked for three years as a community liaison for then-Gov. Linda Lingle (R), who is now considering a Senate bid.

Engaging, Not Just Advertising

SocialVibe, a digital advertising company, recently launched a political advertising offering that tailors its engagement ads for the needs of campaigns and political action committees.

The engagement ad model combines the presentation of persuasive messaging with the ability to gather voter and activist information.

“Campaigns that insist on reaching out to voters only through traditional means will find themselves left on the sidelines in 2012. Print mailings, robocalls, and even TV advertising will all take a back seat to digital advertising this election season,” SocialVibe CEO Jay Samit said in a statement. “By bringing the model to the political landscape, campaigns and voters alike can get the true value out of political advertising within social environments like Facebook.”

More Work at FEC

The Federal Election Commission named Alec Palmer as the agency’s new staff director. Palmer also will continue to serve as the FEC chief information officer.

“The Commission is grateful for his many years of service so far and is confident in his ability to continue to positively affect the Agency’s mission in areas of disclosure, compliance, and educational outreach as our permanent Staff Director,” FEC Chairwoman Cynthia Bauerly said.

Palmer has served as CIO since 2003, a role in which he created new information technology and helped the agency move toward development of new website tools, such as campaign finance maps, real-time disclosure of independent expenditures and publishing of enforcement case files from the past 35 years.

As staff director, Palmer serves as the chief administration and management officer for more than 350 employees and six commissioners.

Submit campaign staffing news and tips to Shop Talk here.

Recent Stories

Democrats decry ‘very, very harmful’ riders in Legislative Branch bill

Biden welcomes Kenya’s Ruto with talk of business deals and 1,000 candles

Noncitizen voting bill advances as Republicans continue messaging push

At the Races: Don’t call him the next Mitch

Norfolk Southern agrees to $1B in settlements for East Palestine

Justice Department seeks to break up concert giant Live Nation