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Shop Talk: Special Teams for Illinois Special Election

Democratic consultants flocked to the hottest House primary in the country: the race to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.

Each of the four top-tier candidates — Alderman Anthony Beale, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson and Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly — has assembled a team for the Feb. 26 primary. Given the district’s partisan composition, the Democratic nominee will almost certainly succeed Jackson. Toi Hutchinson had also assembled a team of top operatives, but she dropped out of the race Sunday and endorsed Kelly.

Beale’s team:

Media and direct mail: Chris Sautter of Sautter Communications

Pollster: Mike McKeon of McKeon and Associates.

Local consultant and direct mail: Delmarie Cobb of Publicity Works

Kelly’s team:

Campaign manager: Jon Blair

Direct mail: Adnaan Muslim and Mark Bergman of Mission Control

Pollster: Jason McGrath of GBA Strategies

Research: Edward Chapman of Spiros Consulting

Media: Eric Adelstein, Ann Liston and Kory Kozolsky of Adelstein Liston

Halvorson’s team:

Halvorson’s spokesman, Sean T. Howard, described the team as “a very small, home-grown staff” of “neighbors and close friends.”

Her primary adviser is Lauren Peters, a principle at Uptown Consulting with experience working on local Chicago races and the Senate campaign of Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

“Debbie had all the noted consultants working her congressional run for re-election in 2010,” Howard said. “She’s chosen Lauren as her lone consultant.”

Hutchinson’s team:

Polling: Jill Normington of Normington, Petts and Associates

Direct mail: Terry Walsh and Pete Giangreco of The Strategy Group

Media: Ken Snyder and Terrie Pickerill of SP Media Group

New media: Mark Nevins, Allison Osborne and Aaron Hunter of the Dover Group

Research: Will Caskey of Third Coast

Go West, Young Nat!

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Nat Sillin will move to San Francisco to work in public affairs for Visa, he told CQ Roll Call, focusing on financial literacy and education.

Sillin was a spokesman for former Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-N.Y., and Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo. The NRCC will split his portfolio between two of its current press secretaries, Ian Prior and Katie Prill.

Additionally, the committee recently hired former Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott P. Brown’s communications director, Alleigh Marré, to cover Western and Great Plains desks in its communications department.

Harpootlian Heads for the Exit

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian will not seek re-election this year. Harpootlian is well-known for his colorful and controversial quotes in the press.

The party’s first vice chairman, Jaime Harrison, will run to succeed him, according to the Columbia Free-Times. Harrison told the paper he would “reorganize the state party infrastructure internally.”

Harrison is currently a principal at the Podesta Group and is a native of Orangeburg, S.C. He is also a former aide to Assistant House Minority Leader James E. Clyburn, D-S.C.

Bold Change

Progressive Change Campaign Committee press secretary Neil Sroka left his post to be the communications director at Democracy for America.

Matt Wall, currently a press aide for the group, will take over his role.

GOP Groups Go Digital

Eric Wilson starts Tuesday as the new digital director for American Action Network, the American Action Forum and the Congressional Leadership Fund. He leaves his role as lead client strategist at Engage, a Republican digital firm.

To the Moon-ey!

Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney stepped down from his position earlier this month.

The state GOP is in rough shape, but Mooney noted in a letter to the state party’s central committee that he leaves the party in a “strong financial position,” according to a Washington Post report.

Mooney is a potential challenger to Rep. John Delaney, D-Md. He eyed the seat during the 2012 cycle but deferred to his former boss, ex-Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., to run.

Swept A-SWAY

Democratic operative Jennifer Burton has launched a new strategic communications and multimedia production company named SWAY.

Prior to this, Burton served as a partner at Envision Communications. Her 2012 clients included the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, NARAL and several state and federal races.

She is an alumna of Murphy Putnam Media, Doak Carrier O’Donnell & Associates and former Rep. Richard Gephardt’s office.

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