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Shop Talk: Passing the Tester

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who is locked in a competitive re-election race with Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), has added a new piece to his campaign team.

Max Croes, who has served as deputy press secretary to Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) for the past three years, has joined the campaign as deputy communications director. Croes, a veteran of campaigns in Alaska and Texas, joined Begich following the Senator’s 2008 election.

Aaron Murphy, previously a spokesman in Tester’s office, moved over to the campaign as communications director in January.

Race to Watch

North Dakota Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp (D) continues to construct a campaign team for her likely general election matchup with Rep. Rick Berg (R).

“While Heidi’s been going around the state, we’ve been building up our campaign team with some of the best people around,” Heitkamp campaign manager Tessa Gould said in a statement.

Heitkamp has signed on Gail Hand as communications director, Brandon Lorenz as press secretary, Mindi Grieve as political director and Emily Crerand as call time manager.

Hand, a University of North Dakota graduate, wrote for the Grand Forks Herald for almost two decades and had a column distributed nationally by Knight-Ridder. Hand left journalism to direct the North Dakota arm of the American Diabetes Association.

Lorenz, also a former journalist, served as communications director at the Nebraska Democratic Party for the past eight months. He previously served as communications director on a special election campaign for Milwaukee county executive and headed research and communications at the Wisconsin Democratic Party for the 2010 Senate race.

Grieve, a Wahpeton, N.D., native, is a North Dakota State graduate. She’s worked for the North Dakota Farmers Union, the National Farmers Union and most recently as a government relations specialist for the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

Another Catch for Bass

Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) hired an experienced grass-roots organizer to manage his re-election campaign.

Brad Blais, a New Hampshire native, began his career on former Sen. John Sununu’s (R-N.H.) 2008 re-election as an assistant to campaign manager Paul Collins, then served as Collins’ deputy campaign manager in 2010 on Sean Mahoney’s Congressional campaign in the 1st district.

Following the primary, Blais moved over to the 2nd district to join the Bass campaign as field director.

Blais and Collins founded CB Strategies, a political consulting firm, which Bass hired after 2010 to manage his grass-roots organizing efforts during the off year. Blais and Collins also recently served as consultants to former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign.

The campaign also recently hired BJ Perry to build the campaign’s grass-roots campaign and get-out-the-vote operation.

Victory Lap

John Rowley, of the Democratic media firm Fletcher/Rowley, highlighted candidate strength and his firm’s media strategy in helping propel Joyce Beatty to an upset Democratic primary victory last week in Ohio’s redrawn 3rd district.

Among Beatty’s opponents was former Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, who was seeking a comeback in a district that was built for Democrats.

“We were pleased to work with Joyce Beatty when she was the first woman to be selected as Ohio Democratic House Leader,” Rowley said in a statement. “She is now set to be the first African-
American to represent Columbus in Congress and would be one of the few African-
American members of Congress representing a white-majority district.”

As Rowley noted, the rest of Beatty’s team included campaign manager Greg Beswick, Beatty’s husband and key strategist Otto Beatty, Myers Research for polling, direct mail consultant Achim Bergmann of the Baughman Company, and Eryn Campbell and Zach Cummnings as fundraising consultants.

Reprieve From Partisanship

Tom Foley, former ambassador to Ireland and the 2010 GOP nominee for Connecticut governor, has founded the Connecticut Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.

The organization is also led by Ben Zimmer, a third-year law student at Yale University, a former consultant at
McKinsey & Co. and a member of President Barack Obama’s transition team. Its most recent papers have covered state job creation and pre-K-through-12 public education reform, and it recently hosted a forum on public school choice.

“The idea of the Institute is that in state government in general and Connecticut in particular there is insufficient non-partisan, research-based analysis of important policy issues,” Zimmer said in an email.

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