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Shop Talk: Taking It to the Next Level

Democratic operatives Mark Warren and Jennifer May recently launched a fundraising firm called Next Level Partners.

Its client list already includes a dozen House campaigns, including challengers and incumbents such as Kate Marshall, currently running in Nevada’s 2nd district special election, and Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), who won a special election earlier this year.

Last cycle, Warren served as director of candidate services at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, working closely with its Frontline and Red to Blue program to develop their fundraising.

Warren previously managed former Rep. John Adler’s (D-N.J.) 2008 campaign and ran a campaign for former Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.).

May also worked on the 2008 Adler campaign as finance director and then served as finance director for former Rep. Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.), who lost despite raising more than $3 million following his March 2009 special election.

Bridge to 2012

Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century has hired Matt Thornton as senior communications adviser and Ike Blake as director of media production.

“I’m thrilled to add two all stars like Matt and Ike to the American Bridge team,” American Bridge President Rodell Mollineau said. “With Matt’s communications skills and Ike’s technical and creative abilities, American Bridge will be even better equipped to shape the political debate and hold Republicans accountable.”

A research and communications organization founded by Media Matters President David Brock, it’s among a series of new political action committees to launch this year. It aims to serve as a hub for opposition research, tracking footage and instant response operations for other Democratic independent expenditure groups.

Thornton, a Kansas native and University of Pennsylvania grad, started this week after most recently serving as communications director for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). He was previously communications director for former Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio) and has campaign experience in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and West Virginia.

Blake, who starts later this month, joined American Bridge after 11 years as chief video editor and senior producer for the Senate Democratic Caucus. He’ll handle video editing, creative production and video asset management.

New Mile-High Office

Democratic consultant Tyler Chafee is joining Strategies 360, a Seattle-based public relations and government affairs firm.

Chafee will run the firm’s new Denver office, the latest addition to Strategies 360’s quickly growing stable of locations. Most recently, Chafee worked on public policy and economic issues at RBI Strategies and Research, and he’s run several statewide candidate campaigns and ballot initiatives. He previously served as a political analyst for the Service Employees International Union in Washington, D.C., overseeing multimillion-dollar independent expenditure campaigns.

“We are thrilled to be expanding into Colorado. This is an important state and growing market, and many of our clients with interests across the West will benefit from adding our services here,” said Strategies 360 CEO Ron Dotzauer, a longtime top Democratic operative in Washington state.

The Denver Post reported that Courtney Law, communications director for Colorado state House Democrats, is also joining the firm in Denver. She will work on the Colorado effort of Know Your Care, Protect Your Care, the national campaign to defend President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Moving On up

Polling and strategy firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner elevated four veteran staff members to new leadership positions. Andrew Baumann, Melissa Egelsky and Drew Lieberman were named vice presidents, and Adam Slater was appointed as director of research operations.

Baumann, with the firm since 2007, directed its polling for Democracy Corps, the nonprofit effort founded by Stan Greenberg, the CEO of GQR, and James Carville that provides strategic research and analysis to progressive groups and leaders. Baumann now specializes in campaigns and political issues, and he works with candidates at all levels.

Lieberman has been at GQR since 2006, after spending several election cycles managing Congressional campaigns and working at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He works with issue advocacy organizations, corporations and foundations, and he also conducts the Los Angeles Times-University of Southern California poll.

Egelsky started at GQR as an intern in 1998, and she now handles research and strategic advice for issue organizations, advocacy groups and domestic political campaigns. Slater has been at GQR since 2007, and he will now oversee domestic and international research and manage all field operations.

“They are tested and experienced,” Greenberg said in a statement. “All are a representation of our firm’s growth.”

Campaign Trail Update

Montana state Rep. Franke Wilmer, a Democrat running for the state’s open House seat, announced Thursday that she has hired Anna Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner as her campaign’s pollster.

“Her firm has a reputation for being among the [industry’s] top firms,” Wilmer said in a statement. “I believe it is important to work with talented people that share my beliefs in strengthening the middle class, protecting social security, and empowering unions.”

Also running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), who is running for Senate, is Republican businessman Steve Daines and Democrats including state Sen. Kim Gillan and Missoula City Councilman Dave Strohmaier.

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