Shop Talk: Republican Group Starts Women’s Outreach Series

Ellmers is scheduled to participate in a women's outreach town hall this month in Charlotte. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Ellmers is scheduled to participate in a women's outreach town hall this month in Charlotte. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted September 15, 2014 at 3:27pm

Main Street Advocacy, a group that seeks to promote moderate Republican ideas, will launch a nationwide initiative later this month to bring more women into the political process.  

“Women2Women” kicks off Sept. 25 in Charlotte. GOP Reps. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina and Susan W. Brooks of Indiana are expected to attend the discussion of issues that women say drive them to the ballot box.  

The idea is the brainchild of Sarah Chamberlain, the group’s chief operating officer, who grew frustrated over the past two cycles when Republican candidates’ comments on social issues helped squander GOP pickup opportunities — hindering the party’s past efforts for Senate control. Remarks on rape from former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin and former Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock in 2012 — who both lost their Senate races — sullied the GOP’s image among women and likely hurt the party’s chances in other states.  

Chamberlain said the forums will focus on the pocketbook issues she says poll well among women between the ages of 35 and 50.  

“Women across the country like it when we come in and talk to them about their issues,” Chamberlain said in an interview. “And it’s saving money for the kids’ colleges, retirement, energy costs — things like that. … We are not touching the third rail, and they know that going in. We’re not here to talk about the social issues.”  

The group will host two more Women2Women town halls, Oct. 3 in Tucson, Ariz., and Oct. 13 in Jamestown, N.Y.  

All three are areas with women on the ballot in significant federal races. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is up for re-election in North Carolina, retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally is running in the Tucson-based 2nd District, and Rep. Tom Reed faces a female Democratic opponent in New York’s 23rd District.  

Future events are being planned in Sacramento, Calif., and West Virginia.  

“It’s an evening for women to talk with them and talk about what’s on their mind,” Chamberlain said. “And because this is educational, it’s really not partisan.”  

Main Street Advocacy is the issue advocacy arm of the Republican Main Street Partnership, the super PAC led by former Ohio Rep. Steven C. LaTourette that seeks to boost moderate Republicans over tea party-backed conservative candidates.  

NRCC Hires Creative Director for Independent Expenditure Arm
The National Republican Congressional Committee has brought on Nick Marcelli to serve as creative director of its independent expenditure arm.  

Marcelli came to the committee after a stint as deputy digital director for former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor — who resigned from Congress in August after losing his Virginia seat in a GOP primary.  

Marcelli will work alongside NRCC IE Digital Director Chris Georgia to execute the committee’s paid digital strategy. That includes landing pages  with interactive features on Democratic candidates.  

Democratic Polling Firm Adds New Partner
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a Democratic polling firm, promoted James Morris to partner last week.  

Morris joined the firm in 2010, leading its London office since it opened. Aside from corporate clients such as Starbucks and Virgin Media, the London office also does work for the U.K. Labour Party.  

“James’ integrity, professionalism and drive to reach smart strategic insights has allowed him to move seamlessly from C-suites to President’s offices and make a difference,” said Stan Greenberg, the founder and CEO of the firm. “He’s won their respect and as partner, he will help this firm continue to aspire to make history and help great companies.”  

Digital Consulting Firm Expands Headed into Midterms
IMGE, a GOP digital and online consulting group, hired seven new employees just as the cycle transitioned to general election mode.  

The firm’s clients include the National Republican Congressional Committee, Virginia GOP Senate nominee Ed Gillespie and the Republican Governors Association, among others.  

The new hires include:

  • Matt Manda, IMGE’s new communications director, who joined the firm after a stint as communications director for Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan.
  • Audrey Savins, who joins the firm as account manager for political affairs.
  • Matt Capristo, IMGE’s new online advertising manager, who heads to the firm from Targeted Victory, which helped craft the digital strategy for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.
  • Dave Sours, the firm’s new digital strategist for political clients.
  • Gabe Egan, who joined the firm’s digital advertising team for political clients.
  • Josh Mahan, who assumed a role as a creative associate at the firm.
  • Sarah Heidlberg, who takes on a role as a corporate client manager.

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An earlier version of this story misstated Marcelli’s duties with the NRCC.