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Former NRCC Communications Director Carl Forti — who also ran the independent expenditure operation for the committee in 2006 — founded the public affairs firm Black Rock Group. He also serves as political director for the well-funded conservative group American Crossroads, where he works with Jonathan Collegio, a 2006 NRCC press secretary who serves as spokesman for the third-party group.
Former committee Press Director Alex Burgos is the spokesman for the Senate campaign of former Florida Speaker Marco Rubio (R). Burgos’ wife, Joanna, is a spokeswoman at the NRCC, where she works alongside Brian O. Walsh, who serves as political director of the committee and worked on incumbent retention for a time during the 2006 cycle.
Forti and other former NRCC staffers said this week that they never thought they’d be on the giving end, rather than receiving end, of a wave election so soon after the drubbing they took in 2006.
“It reinforces the longtime belief that anything can happen in politics,” he said.
Forti said he hears many of the same arguments from Democrats that he remembers making when he was working to hold the House majority.
“I’ve been there when you have all the money in the world and you just can’t stop the slide,” he said. “I don’t know if you ever have sympathy. You can sympathize with being in that position, but I don’t feel bad.”
Some former 2006 committee staffers are further removed from the day-to-day politics of the 2010 cycle.
Longtime NRCC General Counsel Don McGahn left the committee in 2008 to become a commissioner with the Federal Election Commission.
2006 NRCC Controller Christopher Ward is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last month to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars during his time at the committee.
One former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aide who keeps in touch with several 2006 NRCC staffers said he’s noticed a “cockiness” in his former adversaries in recent months. But the aide said he’s also sensed a bit of concern, especially in the past few weeks.
“Some of them see things are starting to come back down,” the former DCCC aide said. “They see the benchmark polling too. It’s starting to slip away. ... If they could change the date of the election, they would, and would have held it last week.”