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Shop Talk: Lynda Tran Leaves OFA Behind to Talk Traffic Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration appointed Lynda Tran as communications director, she announced in an email Friday.

Tran had been national press secretary at Organizing for America, a spinoff organization from President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and an arm of the Democratic National Committee.

Tran, who gave birth to a daughter two months ago, told Roll Call that she starts June 6 and will be overseeing a shop of about 40 people. Her duties will include promoting the administration’s accomplishments — including the recent good news that traffic fatalities have hit a 60-year low — and managing crises as necessary.

“While I will deeply miss working with the incredible organizers and grassroots volunteers at OFA, I’m thrilled to join the Administration as part of an agency that touches the lives of hundreds of millions of American families every single day,” Tran wrote in an email.

Prior to joining OFA in January 2010, Tran served as communications director for then-Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who was serving a joint role as DNC chairman. She spent eight years before that as a spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union.

New Team for a New Cycle

Former Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who announced her campaign in March, has retooled her consulting team as she seeks her old seat against Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, a dentist who ousted her from office in 2010.

Handling media is Brandon Hall, who joined her during an interview with Roll Call last week in Washington, D.C. Her pollster is Jef Pollock of Global Strategy Group, Jasmine Zamani is her fundraiser and handling direct mail is Achim Bergmann, who served as Western regional director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006.

It is difficult to reach voters through traditional media in this expansive, northeastern Arizona district, Kirkpatrick said, so she wanted to try a new approach. “The message needed to be clearer, more focused” than in 2010, she said.

Pounder With Oppo Research

The Republican National Committee named Joe Pounder as research director and deputy communications director for the 2012 cycle. Pounder has been communications director for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and was deputy campaign manager on Rubio’s 2010 campaign. He previously served as rapid response director on the 2008 presidential campaigns of Republican Mitt Romney and later Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Schultz Moves to White House

Eric Schultz, former communications director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, joined the White House last week as an associate communications director.

Schultz confirmed to Roll Call that he will handle issues related to the Department of Justice and any Congressional oversight matters, especially as they relate to investigations launched by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). The Huffington Post first reported the news.

Before dealing with reporters during a tough 2010 cycle for the DSCC, Schultz spent the 2008 cycle handling communications for Democrat John Edwards’ presidential campaign and later for the campaign of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

Schultz, who started May 9, joins Kate Bedingfield and Sandra Abrevaya as the three new associate communications directors. The White House also recently announced that Josh Earnest was promoted to special assistant to the president and deputy press secretary.

Matt Canter replaced Schultz as DSCC communications director for the 2012 cycle, and Shripal Shah replaced Deirdre Murphy as press secretary.

Taking a Business Approach

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