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Shop Talk: A Fine New Line

Ken Morley is opening Tightline Strategies, a full-service political and public affairs firm, with five other principals.

The new firm will provide strategic and management support to political and public policy campaigns nationwide, with offices in the Washington, D.C., area, St. Louis and Southern California.

As the Washington Post first reported last week, the group includes several former aides to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D). It also includes a handful of people formerly of Hilltop Public Solutions, including Morley, Marco Guido and Jack Cardetti. The other Tightline Strategies principals include Paul Dunn, Tracie Moore and Joe Cooper.

“In today’s highly-competitive political environment, seasoned veterans with expertise in helping guide winning campaigns across the finish line are more important than ever,” Morley said in an email announcing the new firm. “For years the members of this team have helped elect Democrats and guide organizations to victory from coast to coast.”

Business Approach to Politics

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced it has hired Scott Reed as senior political strategist and promoted Rob Engstrom to senior vice president of political affairs and federation relations.

Reed will lead the chamber’s national political strategy and advertising efforts, while Engstrom, as national political director, will run its day-to-day operations of political, grass-roots and election-related activities.

“Never has the voice of business been more important than in the upcoming election,” President Tom Donohue said in a statement. “With Scott and Rob leading a respected brand like the Chamber, we’re assured that our voice will be heard and voters will learn where candidates stand on issues impacting businesses.”

Reed served as executive director and chief operating officer of the Republican National Committee during the 1994 election cycle and was campaign manager for former Sen. Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. He’s currently chairman of consulting firm Chesapeake Enterprises.

Engstrom has been at the chamber since 2002. He previously served as director of political education at the RNC from 1998 to 2002.

More Austin Folk

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced new members of his presidential campaign’s policy and strategy team.

Senior advisers are two recent members of the governor’s office in Texas — Chip Roy, a former aide to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and most recently director of state-federal relations in the governor’s office, and Brandy Marty, policy director for Perry’s 2010 re-election campaign and most recently director of budget, planning and policy.

Perry’s new policy advisers are Victoria Coates, Sean Davis and Emily Domenech. Coates and Domenech worked for the past four years at the Department of Defense. Davis worked for three years as chief investigator and economic policy adviser to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and most recently as chief financial officer at the Daily Caller.

Preparing Beyond Iowa

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) added a new piece to her South Carolina team, bringing in Wesley Donehue as senior policy adviser and state communications director.

Donehue is CEO of Donehue Direct, a political Internet firm, which has an extensive list of clients that has included Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), more than two dozen South Carolina state legislators and the state Republican Party.

Donehue, who worked on Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) 2004 campaign, served this year as lead political and communications strategist for the state Senate GOP caucus.

He joins a South Carolina team that already includes senior adviser Ron Thomas and state director Sheri Few. Donehue also will assist Bachmann’s national new media strategy.

“We’re running in South Carolina to win, and I know Ron, Wesley, and Sheri will help me deliver my message of controlling spending, limiting government, and securing the border to the people of the Palmetto State,” Bachmann said.

Elsewhere in Palmetto State

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has expanded his South Carolina paid staff to include veteran activists and tea party leaders, his campaign announced Monday.

Joining state director Adam Waldeck and policy director Vince Haley to assist in the statewide effort are Ruth Sherlock and Leslie Gaines of Sherlock & Gaines Consulting Group. Sherlock has worked for the Republican National Committee and helped elect former Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-La.), while Gaines has raised money in the state for presidential and statewide candidates.

Gingrich also added a team of regional directors: state Rep. Joshua Putnam, political operative DeLinda Ridings, Myrtle Beach tea party leader Gerri McDaniel, tea party activist Chris Horne and tea party leader Joanne Jones.

Gingrich’s statewide headquarters in Greenville will hold an official opening Saturday.

Santorum’s Granite Counter

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) made two additions to his presidential staff in New Hampshire — state Rep. Regina Birdsell and Logan Chism.

Birdsell will manage operations at Santorum’s state headquarters, and Chism will serve as a field representative, directing grass-roots operations in Hillsborough and Cheshire counties.

“They will be a tremendous help to our grassroots campaign here in the state as Senator Santorum remains strongly committed to the First-in-the-Nation Primary,” Santorum state director Nick Pappas said in a statement.

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