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Shop Talk: Indiana Republicans Fill Out Staff With Operatives

Gary Fabiano/Sipa Press
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (left) will exit, and Biden spokesman Jay Carney will step up to the podium.

New Chairman Eric Holcomb is filling out his staff at the Indiana Republican Party. In addition to promoting former Gov. Mitch Daniels aide and Deputy Executive Director Justin Garrett to executive director, Holcomb has hired Sarah Potasnik as finance director and Pete Seat as communications director.

Potasnik and Seat are Hoosier State natives. Potasnik left the Indiana Chamber of Commerce to become the state party’s deputy finance director in February 2010. Seat previously worked as communications director for now-Sen. Dan Coats’ 2010 campaign and as assistant deputy press secretary under President George W. Bush.

Garrett’s hire created a stir when it was announced in January. Many observers saw the hire of a close Daniels aide as a sign that the governor would not run for president, but Daniels still hasn’t made a decision.

Back to the Windy City

Jake Braun, the former director of White House and public liaison in the office of the secretary of Homeland Security, will get back to campaigns in a new Chicago-based job through Resolute Consulting.

In addition to working for Resolute, Braun will be in charge of its sister company, Central Strategies, a political consulting firm. Braun has plenty of campaign experience to build on: In addition to working as national deputy field director on President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, he worked on the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and has been a consultant for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.

Podium Specialists

Jay Carney, the former Time magazine bureau chief who has been press secretary to Vice President Joseph Biden, will formally replace Robert Gibbs as White House press secretary Monday. Gibbs said in a press briefing that this is his last week at the podium before becoming an independent adviser helping with the president’s re-election campaign.

Hawkeye State Hires

The Republican Party of Iowa is transitioning to new staff following the 2010 cycle. Under Chairman Matt Strawn, the state party will serve as a referee of sorts in the Hawkeye State’s first-in-the-nation Republican presidential caucus. 

Chad Olsen was hired as executive director to replace Jim Anderson. During the 2010 election cycle, Olsen managed the party’s voter contact program. In the 2008 cycle, he started as state director for former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson’s short-lived presidential campaign and then transitioned to the state party after Thompson dropped out. 

New Communications Director Casey Mills is a veteran of Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Senate office and 2010 re-election campaign.

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