Skip to content

Georgia Democrats Look for New Leader | Shop Talk

Georgia Democrats are hunting for a new state party chairman who can put behind them the financial and alleged personal legal problems that plagued their former leader, Michael Berlon.

In the past few weeks, a handful of Democrats announced their campaigns for the top job. But they all suffered recent electoral setbacks — a reflection of the party’s troubles statewide in Georgia. The contenders include:

• Former House Minority Leader DuBose Porter unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2010 and has strong ties to the Nunn family, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has solid support within the state committee, according to a Georgia Democratic insider.

• Former state Sen. Mary Squires unsuccessfully ran for insurance commissioner in 2010.

• Rockdale County Tax Commissioner R.J. Hadley is a grass-roots favorite and unsuccessfully ran for Senate in 2010.

• Former state Sen. Doug Stoner lost his seat recently after it was redrawn by the GOP-controlled legislature.

But the field is far from set and others could join the race, cautioned Georgia Democratic operatives. The election is scheduled for Aug. 31.

Are You Ready?

Amy Wills Gray started as Ready for Hillary’s new compliance director on Monday. She is a longtime political operative who has worked in Michigan politics and for Friends of Hillary from 1999 to 2005.

Ready for Hillary is a super PAC that has tasked itself with building a grass-roots infrastructure for Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs for president in 2016. Clinton is not affiliated with the super PAC.

Booker Hires Deputy Press Secretary

Newark Mayor Cory Booker hired another Obama 2012 operative for his Senate campaign.

Sarah Zukowski signed on as his deputy press secretary. Previously, she worked for the president’s re-election campaign in New Hampshire. A former staffer to former Sen. Chris Dodd, she also worked for the Glover Park Group.

Handel’s Handlers

Former Secretary of State Karen Handel announced a Senate campaign team last week :

• Chris LaCivita is a GOP consultant and former top operative at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

• Campaign manager Corry Bliss

• Treasurer Roger Santi

• Legal consultants Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP

• Pollster Whit Ayres of North Star Opinion Research

• Communications consultant Dan McLagan of Tactical Communications Solutions

• Finance consultant Ashlee Reid Morehouse

• Direct-mail consultant Ron Butler, Creative Direct

• Internet/social media consultant Vincent Harris of Harris Media LLC

• Scheduler Sarah Beth Kirbo

• Grass-roots Coordinator Tori Wester

Handel is seeking the GOP nomination to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Something Wilder

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer appointed state operative Andrew Wilder as her new official spokesman, according to the Arizona Republic.

Wilder served as the lead spokesman for another Republican, now-Sen. Jeff Flake, in his competitive 2012 Senate campaign. He succeeds outgoing Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson.

Taking the Bates

GOP direct-marketing firm SCM Associates, Inc. announced last week the promotion of Steve Bates to senior vice president.

Bates has been with the company since 1998, and his current clients include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Prosperity PAC.

Once Upon a Tim

The Florida GOP beefed up its staff recently with new hires:

• Deputy Executive Director for Political Strategy Tim Saler

• RNC State Director for Florida John Vinson

• Digital Strategy Director Andrew Abdel-Malik

The hires were made “in conjunction with the Republican National Committee,” according to a press release from the state party.

Please send news of developments in the political industry to and follow us on Twitter @RCShopTalk.

Recent Stories

Graves decides not to run after Louisiana district redrawn

Garland won’t face contempt of Congress charge over Biden audio

Hold on to your bats! — Congressional Hits and Misses

Editor’s Note: Mixing baseball and contempt

Supreme Court wipes out ban on ‘bump stock’ firearm attachments

Photos of the week ending June 14, 2024