Skip to content

New Jersey Democrats Pick New Party Chairman | Shop Talk

New Jersey Democrats selected Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie as their new state party chairman last week.

Democrats viewed the selection as a compromise between dueling picks from the party’s gubernatorial nominee, Barbara Buono, and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney.

Traditionally, the gubernatorial nominee gets to select the new state chairman in an election year. Buono originally wanted state Rep. Jason O’Donnell to lead the party.

But Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez and others had differences with O’Donnell stemming from battles in the state Legislature.

The compromise settles one battle for the New Jersey Democratic Party, but another is on the horizon: the state’s Senate special election primary in August. Several top Democrats will face each other, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the race’s front-runner, and Democratic Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. and Rush D. Holt.

Book ’Em

Both Booker and Pallone expanded their campaign teams last week.

Booker hired a grass-roots organizing team led by two former strategists for President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign. The firm 270 Strategies, run by Mitch Stewart and Jeremy Bird, will help Booker organize and get out the vote in what’s expected to be a low-turnout Democratic primary in mid-August. Stewart served as Obama’s battleground states director last year, and Bird was national field director. The firm joins a Booker consulting team that already includes New Jersey-based Message & Media and the Benenson Strategy Group, which was Obama’s lead pollster.

Pallone announced his team on June 14, which includes Anzalone Liszt Research for polling, The Campaign Group, Inc. for media, Crossroads Campaign Solutions for field organizing, Sean Darcy of Round World Consulting as general consultant and Berger Hirschberg Strategies for finance.

Holt’s chief of staff, Chris Hartmann, announced to colleagues on Monday that he is leaving to be a vice president for congressional affairs at the National Association of Health Underwriters. Chris Gaston will be Holt’s new chief of staff.

Roskam Builds Political Operation

A top House Republican, Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, will expand his political operation in the coming weeks by dispatching his longtime top aide to the campaign trail.

Steven Moore, Roskam’s chief of staff for more than six years, confirmed to CQ Roll Call that he will leave Capitol Hill for a full-time position with the chief deputy whip’s political operation.

Moore will focus on helping rank-and-file members — many of whom are from safe GOP districts — with fundraising and the grass roots, while keeping an early eye on next year’s primaries.

Roskam’s campaign organization includes his re-election campaign and a political action committee, Republican Operation to Secure And Keep A Majority. Moore will work for both.

Daley Rundown

Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley rolled out his team to challenge Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary.

Sam Scott, the retired chairman and CEO of Corn Products, will be his campaign chairman.

Former Obama Midwest Finance Director Roz Skozen will be his finance consultant.

John Anzalone of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research will be his pollster.

Larry Grisolano of AKPD Message and Media will do his media.

Terry Walsh and Pete Giangreco of The Strategy Group will do strategy and direct mail.

Mark Skidmore and Lauren Miller of Bully Pulpit Interactive will do digital strategy.

Suddenly Susan

Former Mitt Romney campaign traveling press director Susan Hepworth began work earlier this month as the new Florida GOP press secretary and deputy communications director.

Hepworth is a former operative with the Republican National Committee and worked on the 2008 Romney campaign.

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

Recent Stories

Rule for debate on war supplemental heads to House floor

Democratic lawmaker takes the bait on Greene ‘troll’ amendment

Kansas Rep. Jake LaTurner won’t run for third term

At the Races: Impeachment impact

Capitol Lens | Striking a pose above the throes

Democrats prepare to ride to Johnson’s rescue, gingerly