Alex Zwerdling, political director for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Kate Chapek, a consultant who worked most recently for the now-defunct firm MSHC Partners, have joined the Democratic direct-mailing firm the Baughman Co. as principals.
Zwerdling, a Massachusetts native, worked as Hoyer’s political director during the 2010 election cycle.
“I ran the PAC and assisted Members with fundraising and staffing up,” he said. He also handled Hoyer’s campaign travel schedule, which he said included 85 districts. Zwerdling said he accompanied Hoyer on most of those trips.
In the cycle prior to that, Zwerdling led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm. He has worked on a number of Democratic Congressional campaigns, including those of Rep. André Carson (Ind.), former Rep. John Hall (N.Y.), Congressional candidate Jamie Wall (Wis.) and Senatorial candidate Inez Tenenbaum (S.C.).
Chapek, a Southern California native, worked for EMILY’s List, America Votes, Hillary Clinton for President and Change That Works. She managed the campaign of state Rep. Joan Buchanan (D) to replace then-Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D) in 2009. She said she’s excited to join a growing firm.
“I love doing mail. I love the creativity. I love the team here,” she said. “They’re just amazingly creative and strategic and smart.”
New Voice at DSCC
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hired Matt Canter as communications director for the 2012 election cycle. Canter told Roll Call that he will begin March 14.
Eric Schultz, who has served in that role since last cycle, is leaving for other opportunities. Canter is currently communications director for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and he previously held the same position for former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) and on the 2008 campaign of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
“Matt Canter knows how to win tough races,” Executive Director Guy Cecil said.
“He is one of the best communication professionals in the field, and he joins our team at a time where we have strong pickup opportunities across the country.”
Canter joins Cecil, Political Director Crystal King, Finance Director Angelique Cannon and Research Director Amy Gooden to form the committee’s senior staff.
Staffing Up for Special
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s 36th district special election campaign team is in place.
Steve Barkan and Parke Skelton of SG&A Campaigns are the Democrat’s general, mail and media consultants. The two have previously handled Los Angeles-area Democratic Reps. Judy Chu and Adam Schiff, as well as former Reps. Hilda Solis and Jane Harman, who vacated the coastal 36th district Monday.
Dan Chavez will serve as Bowen’s campaign manager and her field director is Lenny Young, who last year worked on Ami Bera’s unsuccessful challenge to Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif).
The Eighth Sign of the Zodiac
Republican strategist Bo Harmon opened Scorpio Public Affairs this week. Harmon worked most recently for Response America, a direct-mailing firm, and he said the new firm will give him the chance to do general consulting.
“It was an opportunity to expand beyond direct voter contact and involve more public affairs work, which is something I’ve had a long interest in,” he told Roll Call.
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.