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Shop Talk: Tessa Gould Managing a Tough Race

Tessa Gould will manage the Senate campaign of former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp.

Gould was chief of staff to former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) and most recently served as associate development director for the University of South Dakota Foundation. She is a native of Jamestown, N.D., which is about 90 minutes west of Fargo.

Heitkamp is running against Rep. Rick Berg (R) for the seat of retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D). This is a top pickup opportunity for Republicans.

Santorum Gets a New Voice

Fresh off three victories last week in the GOP race for the presidential nomination, former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) hired Alice Stewart to serve as national press secretary, ABC News reported.

Stewart previously served as press secretary on Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) presidential campaign, as well as for former Arkansas GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 campaign. Last cycle, Stewart worked for Huckabee’s political action committee with Hogan Gidley, who now serves as Santorum’s communications director.

Setting Up the Spiker

The Iowa Republican State Central Committee elected A.J. Spiker on Saturday to take over as state party chairman, the Des Moines Register reported.

Spiker sits on the 17-member central committee and had served as co-chairman of Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) presidential campaign in Iowa. He received nine votes to win the election over state party Co-Chairman Bill Schickel and Polk County party Co-Chairman Dave Funk.

Spiker will serve out the remaining year of former Chairman Matt Strawn’s term. Strawn resigned amid criticism of the handling of last month’s caucus results but said in a video announcement then  that the party is in good shape.

Shugar on Top

Julie Shugar was named director of media operations and Thomas Maxwell was named director of financial services and administration for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

Shugar served as media center director for the 2004 and 2008 GOP conventions and worked in a supporting role for media operations at the 1996 and 2000 conventions. She is a former assistant House clerk, worked in the political division of the Republican National Committee and was an appointee at the Health and Human Services Department under President George H.W. Bush.

Maxwell is the principal of MAXimum Compliance, a full-service campaign finance consulting firm. He previously served as a reports analyst at the Federal Election Commission and as the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s FEC director.

It’s On With Vaughn

Traffic engineer Ken Vaughn has rounded out his Republican primary campaign in the race for the 11th district seat currently held by Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly (D).

Matt Mackowiak of Potomac Strategy Group is serving as the general consultant; Brad Todd and Wes Anderson of OnMessage Inc. are handling media and polling; Dan Hazelwood of Targeted Creative is handling direct mail; and Rob Nelson is the campaign’s fundraising consultant. The campaign also recently announced the hiring of Chris Farmer as deputy campaign manager.

Roll Call previously reported that the other Republican in the race, Chris Perkins, a retired U.S. Special Forces colonel, had hired a pollster with the same name — Chris Perkins of WPA Opinion Research. Perkins also added the Strategy Group for media and the Prosper Group for general consulting.

Connolly is favored to hold his Northern Virginia district, which got safer for him in redistricting.

Getting a Stake

National research and strategy firm Hamilton Campaigns announced that Bryan Dooley, vice president of strategy, and Erica Rickel, vice president of operations, have become the firm’s newest shareholders. Dave Beattie is president of the firm.

Dooley has been with the firm since 2002 and has handled independent expenditures in more than 30 states for the national Democratic campaign committees. Rickel joined the firm after the 2004 elections and has helped coordinate research for organizations including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Baughman’s ‘Bhutto’

PBS is offering an encore showing next month of “Bhutto,” Democratic consultant Duane Baughman’s feature-length documentary that follows the life and legacy of Benazir Bhutto, the first Muslim woman to lead an Islamic nation, Pakistan.

“The story of Benazir Bhutto’s life and the legacy she left behind is an inspiring, barrier-breaking one for women in South Asia and worldwide,” Baughman said in a statement. “I’m honored to be able to tell her heroic story and hopeful it will continue to motivate women and girls everywhere.”

The film, which was a 2010 selection at the Sundance Film Festival, will air March 8 at 10 p.m.

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