Skip to content

Shop Talk: Markey Staffs Up for Senate Campaign

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey is staffing up in anticipation of a Senate special election and has hired Sarah Benzing as his campaign manager and fundraisers Colleen Coffey and Michael Pratt.

Benzing ran Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s successful re-election campaign in 2012 and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s race in 2011.

Coffey and Pratt were instrumental in Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s massively successful fundraising operation in her victory over Republican Scott P. Brown in Massachusetts two months ago.

A special election will be officially called by Gov. Deval Patrick after Sen. John Kerry’s expected confirmation as secretary of State.

Return of the Jedi

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced its senior staff hires last week, a roster that includes many veterans of the 2012 cycle.

The new hires include Chief Financial Officer Jackie Forte-Mackay (her 10th cycle at the committee), Chief Operating Officer Hayley Dierker, Chief Administrative Officer Lila Rose, Political Director Brian Zuzenak, Campaign and Candidates Recruitment Director Ian Russell, Director of Member Services Charles Benton, Research Director and Strategic Communications Adviser Adam Broder (his fourth cycle at the committee), National Press Secretary and Senior Communications Director Emily Bittner (who is leaving Sen. Joe Manchin III’s office), Candidate Fundraising Director Nicole Eynard, National Finance Director Stella Ross, Digital Director Brandon English (his second cycle with the committee) and Director of Direct Marketing Joe Cross.

Kelly Ward was previously announced as the committee’s executive director. Others already announced also include Deputy Executive Director and Communications Director Jesse Ferguson and Deputy Executive Director for Finance Missy Kurek.

RGA’s New Hope

Phil Cox was named the executive director of the Republican Governors Association last week.

According to an RGA statement, Cox’s 2010 work with the association was integral to Republican gubernatorial victories in Pennsylvania and Florida.

“Phil Cox has the talent and experience to continue the RGA’s growth as the most effective and impactful political committee in the country,” said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the current RGA chairman. Politico first reported the news.

RGA Political Director Josh Robinson is leaving the group to re-join RedPrint Strategy as a partner. Robinson founded the firm with Casey Phillips, who was recently profiled in CQ Roll Call.

DSCC Empire Strikes Back

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced its 2014 staff assignments last week.

Matt Canter, who served as communications director last cycle, was promoted to deputy executive director. The committee added two additional communications staffers: Justin Barasky as national press secretary and Regan Page as deputy press secretary.

Returning staff include Executive Director Guy Cecil, Research Director Patrick McHugh, Finance Director Angelique Cannon, Digital Director Jason Rosenbaum, Chief Operating Officer Karen Hancox and Chief Technology Officer Jude Meche, who has served as the IT director since 2005.

Christie Roberts returns to the DSCC as deputy research director after serving last cycle as the research director for Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester’s re-election.

Achim Bergmann Baby

Achim Bergmann and Alex Zwerdling recently launched a new direct-mail and online communications firm called Bergmann Zwerdling Direct. “We’re a couple of recovering campaign managers who just want to win,” they wrote in a press release.

Bergmann has worked for the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Governors Association and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Zwerdling is a former political director for House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and a veteran of the DCCC’s 2008 independent expenditure arm.

A New FLOTUS Operandi

SKDKnickerbocker has hired Olivia Alair, who was first lady Michelle Obama’s press secretary during the 2012 campaign. She will work in the company’s public affairs and crisis communications division.

Joshua Miller, Shira Toeplitz and Kyle Trygstad contributed to this report. Please send news of developments in the political industry to

Recent Stories

Supreme Court airs concerns over Oregon city’s homelessness law

Supreme Court to decide if government can regulate ‘ghost guns’

Voters got first true 2024 week with Trump on trial, Biden on the trail

Supreme Court to hear oral arguments on abortion and Trump

House passes $95.3B aid package for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan

Senate sends surveillance reauthorization bill to Biden’s desk