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October 1, 2014

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April 5, 2013

Rand Paul Gets Presidential Profile Treatment From CBN

Rand Paul Gets Presidential Profile Treatment From CBN

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Host David Brody explained at the outset of his Christian Broadcasting Network show that he doesn’t usually spend an entire half-hour on a single subject, but that Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul merited a closer look  — and that’s exactly what Paul got.

“The Special Rand Paul Edition of The Brody File,” as Brody described it, has the look and feel of the kind of profiles that are given to serious presidential candidates — including questions about Paul’s favorite bands, an interview with his wife, Kelly, and b-roll of the couple bird-watching near their Kentucky home.

The topics centered on Paul’s religious faith as well as his plans for a possible White House bid in 2016. Paul said he hasn’t yet decided whether to run for president, but he reaffirmed his desire to still be in politics three years from now.

“I think I’m in a position to be part of the solution to help the country grow again and to find its way. I do want to be part of that,” Paul said. “We don’t have an answer yet on whether that means I’ll do it still as a senator for Kentucky or whether it might be running for president. I haven’t sorted that out yet.” Full story

February 26, 2013

Shop Talk: RNC Names Mike Shields as New Chief of Staff

Shop Talk: RNC Names Mike Shields as New Chief of Staff

Shields has a new gig at the RNC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican National Committee named Mike Shields, a longtime House GOP operative, as its new chief of staff on Tuesday.

“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,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

Last cycle, Shields served as political director of the National Republican Congressional Committee — an entity housed in the same building as the RNC. In 2010, Shields ran the NRCC’s independent expenditure arm.

Shields was also one of the final contenders to be National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director.

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

Politico first reported the Shields news.

February 25, 2013

Shop Talk: Manchin Picks New Chief of Staff

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia announced Monday he has tapped Hayden Rogers to be his new chief of staff. Rogers was a candidate for Congress in 2012 and previously served as chief of staff to former Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C..

Rogers, an affable, garrulous 42-year-old, hewed an independent profile on the campaign trail, running for North Carolina’s 11th District. He appears to be a good fit for Manchin, one of the Democratic senators most comfortable bucking his party.

“I’m thrilled by the opportunity,” Rogers said in short interview with CQ Roll Call. He called Manchin “pragmatic, practical in his thinking” and someone who is good at “building consensus to get things done.”

Manchin praised Rogers in a statement.

“Hayden brings to our office a unique range of talents and a commonsense, solutions-driven approach that I truly admire,” he said. “He embodies the values important to West Virginians and has the knowledge, experience and expertise to lead our team effectively.”

Rogers, a graduate of Princeton University, officially started his new position last week.

January 29, 2013

Shop Talk: NRSC Announces Senior Staff

Shop Talk: NRSC Announces Senior Staff

Dayspring, left, the new National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director, formerly worked for Cantor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced its senior staff Tuesday, rounding out an overhaul of leadership for the new cycle as the party aims to win the majority in 2014.

Serving under NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas and NRSC Executive Director Rob Collins, who was hired in December, are an array of operatives with both campaign and Capitol Hill experience.

Brad Dayspring, a former top aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is taking over as communications director. Dayspring replaces Brian Walsh, who served at the NRSC during the past two cycles and has helped out during the transition. Walsh is in the process of opening his own consulting firm. Full story

January 12, 2013

Shop Talk: Markey Hires Benzing as Campaign Manager

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey is staffing up in anticipation of a Senate special election and has hired Sarah Benzing as his campaign manager.

Benzing ran Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown’s successful re-election campaign in 2012 and New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s race in 2011.

“Sarah is the best choice to lead this campaign of big issues and ideas,” Markey said in a statement. “Her proven track-record managing grassroots campaigns shows she has the leadership, know-how and passion to lead this campaign to victory.” Full story

January 9, 2013

Shop Talk: DCCC Rounds Out Senior Staff, Including Many Returning Aides

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will announce more senior staff hires  Wednesday — a roster that includes many returning aides from the 2012 cycle.

House Democrats beat expectations to pick up eight seats in the past election. This cycle, the DCCC is attempting to net a gain of 17 more seats in order to regain the majority. That’s a difficult task because Republicans in many key states redrew the lines to the GOP’s favor during redistricting ahead of the 2012 elections.

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York announced three top staffers for the 2014 cycle in November, including Kelly Ward as executive director. The following staffers are being announced Wednesday, according to a copy of the announcement obtained by CQ Roll Call: Full story

December 20, 2012

Shop Talk: NRCC Fills Out Senior Leadership Team

The National Republican Congressional Committee has staffed up its senior team for the 2014 midterm election cycle.

NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon previously hired Liesl Hickey to run the committee as executive director. The new senior team, being announced Thursday, includes a few familiar names as well as some new ones.

Here are the new hires, along with their official biographies, as provided by the committee:

  • Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel Jessica Furst’s “role at the NRCC is elevating after serving as General Counsel this past cycle. Jessica previously worked as an associate in Foley & Larder LLP’s Washington office in the Political Law Practice Group, where she represented various U.S. House and Senate candidates and national party committees. Prior to that experience, Jessica served as Communications Director to Congresswoman Katherine Harris’ successful 2004 Congressional campaign. Jessica also regularly appears as a panelist on the Hannity show on FOX News.”
  • Political Director Rob Simms “is a veteran political operative and brings a wealth of valuable experience to our political division. Most recently, Rob has been a senior consultant at Red Maverick Media. Before that, he was chief of staff to Rep. Bill Shuster and president of Persuasion Public Strategies, a political consulting firm. Rob was Georgia’s deputy secretary of state from 2007 until 2009. His vast experience spans from congressional to senatorial to gubernatorial campaigns.”
  • Communications Director Andrea Bozek ”got her start at NRCC during the 2006 cycle. She later worked as a research analysis and regional coordinator on John McCain’s presidential campaign, was press secretary for Congressman Tom Reynolds and served as communications director for Chris Lee’s campaign and official office. A Buffalo native, Andrea returned to the NRCC in 2011 as a regional press secretary and rose to Deputy Communications Director.” Full story

December 17, 2012

South Carolina: Haley’s Senate Appointment of Scott Draws Wide Praise

South Carolina: Haleys Senate Appointment of Scott Draws Wide Praise

Scott will succeed DeMint in the Senate in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley, flanked by the Palmetto State’s GOP congressional delegation, officially appointed Republican Rep. Tim Scott to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint on Monday.

“It is a great day in South Carolina,” Haley said at a news conference at the state capitol in Columbia. “It is a historic day in South Carolina.”

Scott is expected to be sworn into the Senate when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3. He will run in a November 2014 special election to fill out the remainder of DeMint’s current term, which runs through 2016. His appointment means that the chamber will once again have African-American representation. The last black senator was Illinois Democrat Roland Burris, an appointee who served from 2009 to 2010. Scott will be the first black GOP senator from the South since 1881.

“This man loves South Carolina and he is very aware that what he does and every vote he makes affects South Carolina and affects our country,” Haley added. “And so it was with that that I knew that he was the right person. I have no doubt that he will fly through 2014.”

Full story

November 26, 2012

North Carolina: Shuler to Run Government Affairs for Energy Giant

North Carolina: Shuler to Run Government Affairs for Energy Giant

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the country, announced Monday that retiring Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., will be a senior vice president for federal government affairs for the behemoth utility.

The company said Shuler will work on building the D.C.-based federal affairs team and help inform employees about federal issues.

“Though I will be leaving public office, my family and I remain committed to public service,” Shuler said in a statement. “As a private citizen, I will also continue to promote deficit reduction efforts, increasing domestic energy production to put our country on a path to energy security and breaking through the hyper-partisan gridlock that plagues our great nation.”

November 15, 2012

Israel Taps Ward as New DCCC Executive Director

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York announced Thursday that he has picked Kelly Ward as the committee’s executive director for the 2014 cycle.

Ward served as the DCCC’s political director during the 2012 cycle and as a DCCC regional political director during the 2010 cycle.

“I couldn’t be happier or prouder that Kelly Ward will be our new Executive Director,” Israel said in a statement. “Kelly brings the right mix of smart political instincts and experienced leadership to aggressively take on this Tea Party Republican majority.”

Ward will succeed current Executive Director Robby Mook, who is moving on to run Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign in Virginia. Full story

Top DCCC Aide to Run McAuliffe’s Gubernatorial Bid

Top DCCC Aide to Run McAuliffes Gubernatorial Bid

Mook, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's executive director, is moving on to work McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Robby Mook is headed across the Potomac to work on former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s nascent Virginia gubernatorial campaign, according to a CNN report.

Mook has been on the political scene for the past decade.

Mook ran the DCCC’s independent expenditure arm in 2010 and has worked for a who’s who of high profile Democratic campaigns. He also has Old Dominion experience; he managed a successful 2005 state delegate campaign.

 

November 7, 2012

Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly, Ron Barber to Confront Jared Lee Loughner at Sentencing

When Jared Lee Loughner appears in court Thursday for his sentencing, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) will be there to see it. Giffords’s husband, Mark Kelly, plans to directly address the man who seriously injured his wife and killed six people, ABC News reported Wednesday evening.

Others survivors expected to speak include Rep. Ron Barber, who was an aide to Giffords and replaced her in the House, and former Giffords aide Pam Simon.

KPHO in Phoenix reported that shooting survivor Mavy Stoddard also plans to be among those to confront Loughner, who reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in August that spared him the death penalty. He is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.

September 13, 2012

Kentucky: Mitch McConnell Hires Jesse Benton as 2014 Campaign Manager

Kentucky: Mitch McConnell Hires Jesse Benton as 2014 Campaign Manager

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) today announced he has hired Jesse Benton to manage his 2014 campaign.

Benton, who has deep ties to the tea party movement in Kentucky and around the country, led Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) White House bid and managed now-Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) general election campaign in 2010.

If McConnell accrues any political vulnerability on his right flank in Kentucky — and Bluegrass State GOP political operatives believe he doesn’t have much right now — having Benton as his top campaign aide is likely to help significantly reduce the threat of a serious primary challenge. But the move does more than just help in the primary. Full story

July 19, 2012

New Hampshire: Tim Pawlenty to Fundraise in August

New Hampshire: Tim Pawlenty to Fundraise in August

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Barring any unforeseen schedule changes or major Romney campaign decisions, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will head to Manchester for the state GOP Ice Cream Social on Aug. 11.

It is an interesting selection of a headliner. Pawlenty is at the center of speculation to be presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president. Only about two weeks ago, fellow VP contender Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) also traveled to New Hampshire for a state party event.

By all accounts, New Hampshire will be a central battleground in the presidential race in the fall.

According to the state GOP Facebook invite, tickets for the Pawlenty event will cost $20.12.

June 9, 2012

The 2012 Campaign Through the Eyes of ‘Walmart Moms’

Forget Seamus, the Ryan budget or even the “War on Women.” Undecided female voters didn’t even mention some of the 2012 cycle’s most-hyped news topics in a pair of  focus groups on Wednesday evening.

Walmart sponsored the 90-minute focus groups, which were organized by a bipartisan team of pollsters: Margie Omero of Momentum Analysis and Alex Bratty of Public Opinion Strategies. Moderators questioned two groups of “Walmart Moms” — self-described undecided voters who shop at the store at least one a month — in Richmond, Va., and Las Vegas.

It’s a surprisingly rare opportunity for inside-the-Beltway reporters to hear out undecided female voters at length. Even on the campaign trail, interviews often last a few minutes with the most quotable participants. Nonetheless, these women are exactly the fought-over voters for whom campaigns clamor in the final weeks of an election.

Full story

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