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Shop Talk: Another Underdog for Gidley

Hogan Gidley, who served as communications director on former Sen. Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign, has a new gig.

Gidley is now spokesman for former Rep. Dave Weldon (R), who announced last week that he is joining Rep. Connie Mack IV and former Sen. George LeMieux in the Republican Senate primary in Florida.

Gidley made several appearances on MSNBC after Santorum’s exit from the race April 10. Before joining Santorum’s campaign last year, Gidley served as executive director of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s political action committee, as communications director for then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s (R-N.C.) re-election campaign in 2008 and executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party.  

Gidley told the Miami Herald: “We’re used to being the underdog, underfunded and discounted.”

Expanding the Map

Cesar Blanco has joined President Barack Obama’s campaign as Arizona state director, the Arizona Republic reported.

Since August, Blanco has served as western regional political director at the Democratic National Committee. He also has several years of Capitol Hill experience, including as chief of staff to two Texas Democrats, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez.

The Obama campaign is targeting Arizona, which has voted Democratic in just one presidential election since 1960.

Lowe to High

Democratic strategy and polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner named Kristi Lowe as vice president.

Lowe, who joined the firm in 2003, has conducted polling and focus groups and provided strategic advice for campaigns and issue groups in the United States and internationally.

Her international work has included helping Perry Christie return to the prime minister’s office in the Bahamas this month and working on behalf of Ireland’s Fine Gael party, whose leader was also elevated to the prime minster’s office earlier this year.

“Kristi’s promotion reflects her proven skill as a pollster and analyst, and her success in advising political campaigns and other clients on high-stakes projects,” GQR Executive Vice President Jeremy Rosner said in a statement.

Primary to Watch

Wisconsin Senate candidate Jeff Fitzgerald made some campaign staff adjustments following a strong showing at the state party convention and with just less than three months until the Republican primary.

The state Assembly Speaker announced that Steve Stanek, a businessman and friend to Fitzgerald, was hired as campaign manager and Brian Parnitzke was promoted from volunteer coordinator to field director. Stanek founded an environmental consulting firm in 1994 and became director of solid waste management for Alliance Federated Energy in 2010. Parnitzke is graduating from the University of Wisconsin this month with a bachelor’s in English.

“Between now and the middle of August my entire team will be reaching out to Republican activists throughout Wisconsin,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “I hope to build a strong conservative coalition that is dedicated to bringing our commonsense Wisconsin message to our nation’s capitol.”

Fitzgerald faces former Gov. Tommy Thompson, former Rep. Mark Neumann and hedge fund manager Eric Hovde in the primary.

Cahill to Priorities

Priorities USA, a Democratic-aligned super PAC, has brought on Mary Beth Cahill as a part-time consultant on strategy and spending.

“Mary Beth brings an enormous wealth of experience in national campaigns and we couldn’t be happier that she’s joining us,” senior strategist Bill Burton said in a statement. “As the election draws closer, her expertise in strategy and targeting will be invaluable in ensuring the President’s reelection.”

Cahill was hired last year as director of the United Auto Workers’ Washington, D.C., office and the UAW Community Action Program. Previously, Cahill was chief of staff to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), campaign director for the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and assistant to the president and director of the Office of Public Liaison during the Clinton administration. She was also executive director at EMILY’s List.

Another Hoosier State Winner

After winning the May 8 Republican primary in Indiana’s open 5th district, former U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks is expected to become the first Republican woman in more than 50 years to represent Indiana in Congress.

Leading her to victory over a crowded field, which included former Rep. David McIntosh, were general consultant Kevin Ober of Indiana-based Limestone Strategies, media consultant Rob Aho of BrabenderCox and pollster David Kanevsky of American Viewpoint.

The 5th, being vacated by retiring Rep. Dan Burton (R), is a safe Republican district. The Hoosier State could have two Republican women in Congress next year if ex-state Rep. Jackie Walorski is successful in winning the open 2nd district seat. Democrats are contesting that race, although it is an uphill battle for the party.

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