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Shop Talk: Latina Leading Obama 2012

Katherine Archuleta has been named political director for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Currently chief of staff for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Archuleta becomes the first Latina to serve in this role on a major presidential campaign.

Archuleta served as an aide to former Denver Mayors John Hickenlooper and Federico Peña, and she was also an aide to Peña during his tenure in the mid-1990s at the departments of Transportation and Energy. Archuleta also previously worked as executive director at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation.

SoCal Shift Sparks New Firm

Englander Knabe & Allen, a Los Angeles-based government relations and communications firm, announced it is forming a full-service campaign consulting firm.

EKA Campaigns will operate as an independent entity. Along with issues campaigning, the firm will help candidates and committees create independent expenditure, public affairs and candidate campaigns.

Running the new firm is GOP consultant Chris Bryan, a veteran of campaigns for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Florida Rep. Clay Shaw, former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and the California Republican Party.

EKA Managing Partner Harvey Englander said the changing political landscape and redistricting gave the firm a window: “We looked at the current landscape of consultants and saw an opportunity to create something new.”

Espinoza Signs On

Ed Espinoza, the former Western states political director at the Democratic National Committee, joined direct-mail firm Mack Crounse Group and is also running his own general consulting shop, Espinoza Campaigns, in Austin, Texas.

In 2010, Espinoza was responsible for the DNC’s plan to mobilize Latinos in the Colorado primary for Sen. Michael Bennet and in the general election for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.). He also worked with the California and Texas state parties and was involved in Hawaii’s 1st district special election.

At Mack Crounse, Espinoza is continuing his focus on Latinos and the West. From his base in Austin, Espinoza is servicing clients across the Western region.

Kanevsky Joins Firm

Republican polling firm American Viewpoint recently hired David Kanevsky as research director.

Kanevsky, who served as campaign manager for Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) last year, is a former quantitative research manager at Glevum Associates, and in 2009 he polled in Iraq on behalf of the U.S. military. He was previously a senior project director at Public Opinion Strategies, where he worked on Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential polling team.

In 2010, American Viewpoint worked on the teams of GOP Sens. Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Johnny Isakson (Ga.), as well as freshman Reps. Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Austin Scott (Ga.) and Marlin Stutzman (Ind.).

Summers Splits Senate

Jon Summers left his post as communications director for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to serve as senior vice president for political consulting firm GMMB.

Summers had worked for Reid for the past five years. He worked on the re-election campaign before taking charge of Reid’s Senate communications operation and the Democrats’ “war room.”

Before joining Reid in 2006, Summers spent eight months as communications director for the Democratic Governors Association.

Staffing Up for State Races

The Republican State Leadership Committee announced last week that Matt Walter has been named political director.

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