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Shop Talk: RNC Hires House Operatives for 2014 Cycle

The Republican National Committee made two major hires from the House GOP’s campaign operations last week in preparation for the 2014 midterm cycle.

Chris McNulty, a top aide at Speaker John A. Boehner’s political organization, will be the RNC’s new political director. Former National Republican Congressional Committee Political Director Mike Shields will serve as the committee’s new chief of staff.

The hires underscore the committee’s goals for 2014, a congressional elections cycle.

“I am confident that Chris’s enthusiasm, energy, extensive political background at the state level, specifically in the areas of grass-roots organization and ground game experience will prove invaluable as we move forward,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

Previously, McNulty served as executive director of Boehner’s political organization. He moved up the ranks of GOP politics in his native Ohio and was a regional political director at the RNC from 2006 to 2010.

“I think he will be one of the best political directors that the RNC will have ever had,” Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett told CQ Roll Call in a brief Sunday phone interview. “He understands the intersection of data and grass roots.”

Shields is a longtime GOP operative with extensive campaign and Capitol Hill experience.

“Mike brings a wealth of political experience with him to the RNC, having worked on the Hill and in the field, for national committees and at the state level,” Priebus said in a statement.

The RNC’s outgoing chief of staff, Jeff Larson, will continue as a senior adviser to the committee, according to a press release.

Life of the Parties

Talk about a status quo election. Several state parties re-elected their leadership this week:

• Colorado Republican Chairman Ryan Call survived what The Denver Post described as “an unexpectedly strong” challenge over the weekend from Douglas County GOP Chairman Mark Baisley. Call boasted support from party heavyweights, including Rep. Cory Gardner and state Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

• Colorado Democrats re-elected Rick Palacio as their state party chairman, according to The Denver Post. It was an uncontested race.

• Nevada Democrats unanimously re-elected Roberta Lange for a second term as their chairwoman. Lange subsequently announced that Zach Zaragoza would spend another term as executive director.

• But the California Republican Party — beleaguered by debt, infighting and infrastructure issues — elected a new chairman, former state Senate Minority Leader Jim Brulte, as their new leader. Brulte told the Sacramento Bee that he will focus on party fundraising, voter registration and turnout programs. He projected in January that it could take as many as six years to build an infrastructure.

Party faithful picked Harmeet Dhillon, a San Francisco attorney, to be the new vice chairman.

Pasi’s New Posse

GOP strategist Peter Pasi joined digital advertising firm Collective Political as vice president. Pasi will open the firm’s new Washington, D.C., office.

Pasi comes to Collective from GOP digital agency Emotive LLC, where he was an executive vice president. There, he worked with a number of digital campaigns including Rick Santorum’s presidential bid, those of Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and David Vitter, R-La., and also for American Crossroads and the Club for Growth.

A Hot Mess-ina

President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, has launched his new consulting firm, The Messina Group.

The new firm “will employ innovative strategies and techniques developed and utilized during the 2012 election, including the advances in technology and data — analytics that were integral to the campaign’s success,” according to a Feb. 27 news release.

The firm’s three principals — Messina, Ty Matsdorf and Tara Corrigan — are veterans of Obama’s presidential campaigns.

I Can Be Your Hero, Baby

GOP digital consultant Lyndsey Fifield will head to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as its new social media manager for its Hiring Our Heroes program. Fifield departs from CRAFT, a GOP political consulting firm.

David M. Drucker contributed to this report. Please send news of developments in the political industry to and follow us on Twitter @RCShopTalk.

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