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Virginia Senate Race Also Pits Top Campaign Teams

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Other possible hires could include Larry Roberts, who left his role in the governor’s office in 2009 to become a senior adviser to Kaine at the DNC; Karl Struble and David Eichenbaum’s media firm; and veteran communications consultant Mo Elleithee.

Mike Henry, who managed Kaine’s 2005 campaign and ran the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s independent expenditures in 2006, could be brought back as well. Henry is now a senior director at the ONE Campaign.

“You probably can’t bring together a group who knows the state better,” said one Democratic operative with experience in the state. “In a presidential year with two fairly evenly matched candidates that are generally considered strong, the team can make a huge difference. And that’s a really strong team.”

Along with Mike Thomas, Allen has also brought on board several veterans of his past campaigns who have decades of combined experience in the state. Media consultants Dan Allen and Scott Howell are back, as are pollster John McLaughlin, fundraising team Benedetti & Farris, policy director Terri Hauser and adviser Boyd Marcus.

Like Thomas, Marcus is a veteran in the state whom most top Virginia GOP operatives are connected to in some way. Dan Allen, one of the former Senator’s most trusted advisers, stepped in late in the 2006 campaign to take over day-to-day operations from Wadhams.

Beyond the frontline consultants are unpaid and informal advisers to Allen, including Frank Atkinson of McGuireWoods Consulting, who held a senior role in Allen’s administration and is considered a top policy expert. Adviser Betsy Beamer was Allen’s finance director in his 1993 gubernatorial race and then appointed secretary of the Commonwealth in his administration.

Some fresh faces include Richard Crouse, the Allen campaign’s political director, and Katie Wright, communications director.

“The team looks a lot more like the successful races in 1993 and 2000 now than it did in 2006,” one GOP operative said.

“If they’re going to be successful, they need to run an issue-oriented, ideas-driven, forward-looking campaign, and get back to Allen’s strengths of retail politics and grass roots,” the source added.

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