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Washington State Democrats Look for New Leader

A former aide to Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., made a splashy pitch last week to Evergreen State Democrats to be their new state party chairwoman.

On Nov. 7, former Jefferson County Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Biery announced her candidacy to succeed state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz, who recently resigned.

“She is a good candidate, but there are rumblings that others may jump [into the race] as well,” a Washington state Democratic operative said.

Biery used her announcement to advocate for a focus on state politics and to criticize Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.

“Her actions and decisions led to the government shutdown and harsh consequences for families and businesses across her District and our entire state,” Biery said in a release. “It’s time to hold Cathy and irresponsible right-wing state legislators responsible for the policies they advocate.” McMorris Rodgers is one of the Evergreen State’s most prominent national Republicans.

Biery said her “top priorities” as chairwoman would be to win control of the state Senate. She went on to take a shot at Democratic state Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, calling him a “turncoat.”

While the Democrats hold a literal majority in the chamber, Republicans control the Senate because Tom and another Democrat threw their support to the state’s GOP caucus earlier this year.

Six Democrats and four Republicans represent Washington state in the House, and Democrats control both Senate seats.

State party leadership elections are scheduled for Feb. 1, when Pelz is scheduled to leave office.

Hired Grounds

Ready for Hillary, a super PAC that supports Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, has hired Democratic operative Jessica Grounds to run its “Women’s Office.”

“Ready for Hillary is placing a significant emphasis on outreach to women activists, community leaders, celebrities and public officials,” a news release stated. “The women’s office, which will be directed by Grounds and advised by key women leaders, will lead the way in maximizing the enthusiasm among women for a potential Hillary run.”

Grounds worked for Clinton’s 2008 Iowa campaign and for a handful of female Democratic members of Congress. Most recently, she served as the executive director of Running Start, an organization that supports young women in politics.

Clinton supporters started Ready for Hillary to implement a campaign infrastructure if the former secretary of State runs for president in 2016. Clinton is not affiliated with the super PAC.

RNC Hires More State Directors

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced last week “a second wave of state directors” were hired to partner with GOP state parties, according to a news release.

The new state directors are Mike Shirley in Alaska, Bobby Talbot in Arkansas, Brian Barrett in Georgia, Tony Esposito in Illinois, David Chesley in New Hampshire, Jim Thompson in New York and Hope Walker in South Carolina.

Christie Aide Joins N.H. GOP

Granite State Republicans hired a new executive director, Matt Mowers, and state field director, Bobby Collins.

Mowers is the outgoing regional political director for Gov. Chris Christie’s, R-N.J., re-election campaign.

“Matt Mowers and Bobby Collins are extremely talented political operatives who will continue to build and expand our strong party infrastructure,” state GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Horn said in a statement.

GOP Pressured Chairman to Resign

In New Mexico, a candidate for Senate resigned from his post as county chairman because state party operatives were concerned his leadership role gave him an unfair advantage in the GOP race, according to The Santa Fe Reporter.

Last week, Doña Ana County Republican Chairman David Clements resigned in a letter to state GOP Chairman John Billingsley. Clements announced his challenge to Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., last month. Earlier this year, Clements was part of a faction of Ron Paul supporters who “took control over the county party,” according to the paper.

Las Cruces marks the seat in Doña Ana County, which borders Texas and Mexico, near El Paso. The race against Udall is currently rated Safe Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Vermont Picks New GOP Chairman

Vermont Republicans elected former state Rep. David Sunderland as their new state chairman over the weekend. Outgoing Chairman Jack Lindley is on the mend after he was hospitalized for an undisclosed illness. He opted against another tour of duty with the state party, but he was well enough to attend the Saturday meeting.

Simpson Fundraising Aide Departs

Kendra Waitley recently left her position as Rep. Mike Simpson’s finance director, per the Idaho Statesman.

Simpson’s fundraising is not struggling: He raised $437,000 in the third quarter.

Simpson has a serious primary challenge on his hands from attorney Bryan Smith, who boasts support from the Club for Growth. Whoever wins the primary will almost certainly hold Idaho’s 2nd District for the GOP.

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