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White House press aide Ben Finkenbinder is leaving to join President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in Chicago as a regional press secretary, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reported.
Finkenbinder is best known by reporters for his role, along with Katie Hogan, in helping to wrangle the press pool on trips. Hogan also has moved to Chicago to work for the campaign. Together, they earned the nickname “FinkenHogan.”
Finkenbinder, one of the president’s frequent golfing buddies, joined Obama’s 2008 campaign right out of college and handled media clips. He rose through the ranks at the White House to become associate director of press advance and press pool wrangler.
Other former White House press staffers have already joined the campaign, including press secretary Ben LaBolt and Hogan, who is deputy press secretary.
Northwest Passage to Congress
Montana Republican Steve Daines, who is running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), has his campaign team in place. Managing the campaign will be Zach Lahn, who served as deputy campaign manager last cycle for Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
Daines has also hired Bob Moore for polling and the Strategy Group’s Rex Elsass for media.
In neighboring Washington state, Republican John Koster made it official last week that he is running for Congress again after losing by 2 points last cycle to Rep. Rick Larsen (D).
Koster has signed up Allied Communication Strategies, a full-service consulting firm in the state led by Tom McCabe, Brian Minnich, Erin Shannon and Bob Wickers.
Wickers is also co-founder and president of Dresner Wickers Barber Sanders and was a top consultant on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Resolute and Expanding
Resolute Consulting, a national public affairs and strategic communications firm, has hired two consultants in the last month and opened a new office in Detroit.
Democratic consultant Jason Ellenburg was hired as vice president and will manage the firm’s new Detroit office. Working for Resolute and its sister company, Central Strategies, a full-service political consulting firm, he will help Michigan-based clients with campaign management, field and communications consulting.
Ellenburg, a Central Michigan University grad who worked for National Journal 10 years ago, managed Rep. John Dingell’s (D-Mich.) campaign last cycle and Sen. Carl Levin’s (D-Mich.) re-election bid in 2008.
Resolute also recently brought on Jordan Stark as vice president to manage the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. Stark was communications director for former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and worked on then-Rep. George Nethercutt’s (R) 2004 challenge to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
Resolute now has offices in Chicago, Washington, Detroit and Columbus, Ohio.
New Firm, Big Client
Republican consultants Shawn Reinschmiedt and Dan Comstock recently formed M Street Insight, a bicoastal-based opposition research firm.
The firm has already signed on presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), RealClearPolitics first reported.
Both consultants worked on Meg Whitman’s California gubernatorial campaign last year, as well as for the Republican National Committee in the 2008 cycle. Reinschmiedt served as RNC research director that cycle, and Comstock provided research for both the RNC and Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign.
Comstock will work from San Diego, and Reinschmiedt will be based in Washington, D.C., RCP reported.
Things Change, People Change
Nashville-based Democratic media firm Fletcher Rowley has undergone some changes this year. Mark Riddle departed, the firm moved to a new office in Nashville, it’s expanding its in-house capabilities, and it hired three new operatives.
Vice President Doug Dodson joined the firm in February. He previously served as political director at Joe Slade White & Co. Communications and was campaign manager for then-Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry’s re-election in 2006.
Jason Russell was brought in as a producer, and Lindsey Herren returned as director of operations and client services.
The firm is currently building a studio in its new space to shoot ads and conduct media training. It’s also building a sound booth and expanding its in-house video editing capabilities.
Another Tark the Shark
With former Chairman Mark Amodei running for Congress, the Nevada Republican Party elected Amy Tarkanian to lead the party through 2012.
Tarkanian, wife of former Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian and daughter-in-law of famed former University of Nevada, Las Vegas, basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, said she isn’t trading on the family name.
“I want people to get to know me as Amy, not just the wife of Danny, although I love him,” Tarkanian said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Tarkanian was later asked whether she could perform her duties with young children at home. After listing female politicians in the state who have done it, she said, “Would you tell them to stay home?”
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