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Shop Talk: Joel Sawyer to Donehue Direct

Republican strategist Joel Sawyer, who just finished a stint as manager of Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign in South Carolina, is joining Donehue Direct as senior vice president.

The firm, led by CEO Wesley Donehue, announced the move Monday morning, calling it the merging of two of South Carolina’s “top up-and-coming political and communications talents.”

“Donehue Direct has already established a brand as being the premier Internet, social media, and political consulting firm in South Carolina,” Donehue said in a statement. “Joel is going to help take this company to the next level in terms of growing our brand and expanding our presence across the region.”

Sawyer began his career as a reporter for the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. He then served in South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R) office for more than six years, including as communications director. He later became executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party.

Donehue Direct is a political consulting and technology firm with operations in Columbia and Charleston, S.C., and San Francisco. It runs campaign and Internet operations for candidates running for offices ranging from city council and state legislature to Senator and governor.

Follow the Star

Ayres, McHenry & Associates is now North Star Opinion Research, a name designed to convey “the stalwart counsel on which our clients depend and our future is based,” the Republican strategy and polling firm announced in an email Monday.

The firm still consists of principals Whit Ayres, Jon McHenry and Dan Judy and co-founder Cheryl Glenn, but they decided on an entire name change instead of simply adding more surnames.

“The contributions of Dan Judy as our third principal — from consulting directly with clients to giving speeches and presentations for the firm — meant that it was time for a final name change; one that would position us for anticipated client growth and future team members,” according to the statement.

Senate Campaign Bits

Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D) is filling out the team that will run his campaign for Arizona’s open Senate seat.

Carmona’s campaign manager is Alexis Tameron, a former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Harry Mitchell; his communications director is Andy Barr, who most recently held the same position at the Arizona Democratic Party after four years as a reporter at Politico and The Hill; and his finance director is Andy Darkins, who held the same role for West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) last year. …

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) filled three key positions on his Senate campaign against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D).

Joe Aquilino, who had been running multiple facets of the campaign, was named political director; Ray Yonkura was named campaign manager; and Travis Considine is communications director.

Yonkura is taking leave from his job as chief of staff in the office of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), where he’s served for the past six years. Considine most recently served as communications director in the office of Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.). …

Aaron Murphy left his post in the office of Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) last month to serve as communications director on the first-term Senator’s re-election campaign against Rep. Denny Rehberg (R).

Murphy has worked for Tester since July 2006, when he left his job as a top TV producer in Billings to join Tester’s campaign. Murphy worked in TV journalism for almost six years before making the jump to work in politics.

House Campaign Pieces

California Rep. Pete Stark, who is facing a Democratic primary challenge in a redrawn district, recently announced a series of high-profile endorsements, a retooled campaign website and his consulting team.

Leading his team is consultant Alex Tourk of Ground Floor Public Affairs. Stark’s pollster is John Fairbank of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates; his fundraiser is Michael Fraioli of Fraioli & Associates; Trilogy Interactive is handling Web strategy; and Jason Teramoto is field director. …

Michigan Rep. Gary Peters (D) has hired Brian Love as campaign manager.

Love most recently served as a field organizer for the Michigan state House Democratic Caucus, and he previously was urban and external affairs director for the Michigan state House. …

Former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D) hired Russell Griffin to direct field operations for her campaign in Connecticut’s open-seat 5th district race.

The veteran field director served in the same role for Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s re-election last year, former Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Jari Askins’ 2010 gubernatorial bid and Rep. Donna Edwards’ (D-Md.) 2008 primary victory over then-Rep. Albert Wynn.

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