Shop Talk: No More Half-Nelson

Posted July 16, 2012 at 4:40pm

After raising half of what his opponent did in the second quarter, Rep. Connie Mack IV (R) has hired veteran Washington, D.C., fundraisers in an effort to bolster his Senate prospects.

Mack is hoping to capitalize on recent polls that have shown him running competitive with Sen. Bill Nelson (D). According to Republican sources, Mack, at the urging of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has hired well-known fundraisers Jim McCray to handle his national fundraising and Michael Gula and Jonathan Graham of the Gula Graham Group to run his political action committee fundraising.

Among its other Congressional clients, Gula Graham has long been retained by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to run his PAC fundraising. McCray has worked on multiple GOP presidential campaigns.

Chicago Bullish

President Barack Obama’s campaign recently made two new additions to its national communications staff. Joining the campaign are Rachel Racusen as deputy national communications director and Adam Fetcher as deputy national press secretary, Roll Call confirmed.

As Politico first reported, Racusen will manage the campaign’s general communications efforts while Fetcher will serve as a daily contact for national reporters.

Racusen, a Union College graduate, was most recently a vice president at SKDKnickerbocker in the firm’s public affairs and crisis communications practice. Previously, she was director of public affairs for Federal Emergency Management Agency, communications director for the House Education and Workforce Committee under then-Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) and a press person on several federal campaigns.

Fetcher served as press secretary for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and before that worked in the public affairs office of the Department of Homeland Security. The Carleton College graduate was a field organizer on Obama’s 2008 campaign before serving as a special assistant on the transition team.

Bolstering Boston

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign added two operatives to its communications team.

As the Washington Post first reported, the campaign hired Danny Diaz and Kevin Sheridan as senior advisers. Diaz, co-founder of the public affairs firm FP1 Strategies, is a former communications director of the Republican National Committee and served as deputy communications director for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign. Diaz was a deputy press secretary at the National Republican Congressional Committee in the 2002 cycle and was Southwest regional press secretary on President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign.

Sheridan has served as a senior vice president at Edelman for the past six years. He was previously a press director at the State Department and was an RNC spokesman for more than three years before that.

Conventional Wisdom

Both parties’ convention teams recently announced the addition of political professionals to help direct convention operations.

The Democratic National Convention announced its press relations team, while the Republican National Convention’s arrangements committee recently welcomed four political operatives to the convention leadership team. At the Democrats’ Charlotte, N.C., convention, Kristie Greco, a veteran of the office of Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (S.C.), will serve as chief communications officer. Alex Glass, who worked for Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) for more than 10 years both on campaigns and Capitol Hill, was named director of press relations.

Joanne Peters, a Capitol Hill veteran, has served as convention press secretary since last July. The deputy press secretaries are Ryan Daniels, Samuel Lau and Jasmine Mora. Lisa Paul is press relations assistant, and Richard Ruffner is assistant to the chief communications officer.

As for Republicans in Tampa, Fla., Todd Cranney, a deputy political director on the Mitt Romney campaign, was named director of delegate outreach. Cranney was western regional political director of Romney’s 2008 campaign and political director on Meg Whitman’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign in California.

Tony Feather, a Missouri-based consultant who was political director on President George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign, will serve as director of whip operations. Jim Dyke, founder and president at JDA Frontline and veteran of four presidential campaigns, will serve as a senior adviser and support convention communications. And Anne Hathaway, a former Republican National Committee chief of staff, will serve as convention program director.

This and That

There are a few other bits of news in the political industry.

• Val Demings, the former Orlando police chief and a top Democratic recruit, recently added Lisa Carter as communications director. Demings is challenging freshman Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.). According to her online résumé, Carter most recently served as campaign manager of a House race in Indiana.

• The Seattle-based Strategies 360 recently added a 12th office in its ninth Western state. The public affairs firm hired political veteran Bradley Mayer to oversee its newest office in Las Vegas. Mayer oversaw campaigns as well as government and public affairs when he ran the political consulting firm iPolitical, including managing Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s campaign.

• Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg wrote a new book called “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!” It was published on July 10, according to The co-founders of Democracy Corps are also penning an e-newsletter titled “The Carville-Greenberg Memo.”

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