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Shop Talk: ‘Oscars’ of Political Advertising to Be Awarded

The Academy Awards were so two weeks ago. Get ready for the “Oscars of political advertising” — the Pollies!

The best of political consulting and public affairs will be feted at the 20th annual Pollie Awards Dinner on Friday at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C.’s West End.

The awards dinner comes at the tail end of a two-day conference hosted by the American Association of Political Consultants. The conference includes panels led by journalists and top consultants who will discuss topics including the tea party, ideas for local campaigns, the implications of redistricting and the television landscape.

The event kicks off Thursday morning and winds down Friday night at the Pollie Awards after-party.

Livingston Joins Louisiana GOP

Former Rep. Bob Livingston, now a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., was appointed finance chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party on Wednesday. The former Appropriations chairman signed on to help the party raise funds for the state elections this year.

State GOP Chairman Roger Villere said in a statement that he was “delighted to add a proven fundraiser and campaign veteran like Bob to our team.”

Livingston was set to become Speaker following the 1998 resignation of Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) when on Dec. 19, 1998 — the day President Bill Clinton was impeached — he announced his own resignation from Congress after it was revealed Hustler magazine was getting set to publish a story about his marital infidelities.

Livingston served more than 21 years in Congress and became Appropriations chairman in 1995 following the GOP takeover of Congress. After leaving Congress, he opened his own lobbying shop, the Livingston Group.

Mike Murphy, Revolutionary

Longtime Republican operative Mike Murphy has signed on as a partner at Revolution Agency, a Washington, D.C.-based issue advocacy and public affairs firm.

He will focus on public affairs advocacy on behalf of corporate, trade association and nonprofit clients, according to a press release, which noted Murphy “has handled media and strategy for more than 26 successful ... campaigns.”

Among his past clients, Murphy worked for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the 2000 presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Former National Republican Congressional Committee operative Bob Honold became a partner earlier this year.

GOP Consultants Form Firm

Veteran Republican consultants Terry Nelson, Jon Downs and Danny Diaz have joined forces to form FP1 Strategies.

It’s “a public affairs, media relations and advertising firm specializing in project management, strategic planning, message development and advertising for political and issue-based campaigns,” according to a release announcing the new firm.

Nelson was political director for the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign and previously worked for the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Downs is a writer and producer, focusing on advertising and strategy. Diaz was a top consultant for Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) in 2010. He also has worked at the RNC and with his own communications firm.

“We are incredibly pleased to have the opportunity to work together and share what we have learned with some of the leading job creators and political leaders across the country,” Nelson said in the release.

Poersch Parks at New Firm

J.B. Poersch, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the past three cycles, has joined SKDKnickerbocker as managing director of its Washington, D.C., office.

Prior to joining the DSCC for the 2006 cycle, Poersch was chief of staff to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) for 14 years and worked on Democratic presidential campaign efforts in Ohio for the 2000 and 2004 elections.

“J.B. has more experience running winning campaigns than anyone in the country,” SKDK Managing Director Bill Knapp said in a release.

SKDK is a top political consulting and strategic communications firm that cuts TV, radio and web ads, as well as direct mail, for mostly Democratic candidates, officials and committees.

Presidential Hopefuls Staff Up

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty hired veteran Iowa operative Eric Woolson, the Washington Post reported.

Woolson led former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) to a surprising victory in the state in the 2008 caucuses. He is a former journalist who has worked for several high-profile candidates, including President George W. Bush in 2000, former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Jim Dyke, a veteran GOP political operative in South Carolina, signed on with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s political action committee as a communications adviser. Dyke’s hire is seen as yet another move toward an eventual Barbour presidential bid.

According to a press release, Dyke “has worked on four presidential campaigns, managed a Congressional campaign and served as a communications adviser to Bush and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.”

Dyke also served as press secretary and communications director at the Republican National Committee in the 2004 cycle before opening his own firm the next year.

“Haley is delighted to have someone as talented as Jim Dyke joining his team to help us managed the increased national media interest and demand in the Governor,” Haley’s PAC Treasurer Henry Barbour said in a statement. “Jim’s knowledge and experience will prove invaluable to Haley in the coming few months.”

Lincoln Park Adds Coloroso

Lincoln Park Strategies announced Tuesday the hiring of Christina Coloroso as an analyst.

Coloroso, who spent the last five months of the 2010 cycle on the staff of the since-disbanded MSHC Partners, “will focus mainly on our political and issue advocacy clients,” a release stated.

Previously, Coloroso, who graduated from the University of Utah, worked on a mayoral campaign in Salt Lake City and a state legislative campaign.

Coloroso earned a master’s degree in political strategy from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute in 2010.

Palacio Leaves Hill for Colorado

Rick Palacio was elected chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party last weekend at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day gathering in Denver. Palacio, 36, will leave his Capitol Hill gig as deputy director of Member services in the office of Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. After three years with the Maryland Democrat, Palacio will take over a state party coming off mixed 2010 election results.

He is a Colorado native and worked for then-Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.) before moving to Hoyer’s office. A spokesman there said Palacio will be transitioning back to Colorado over the coming weeks.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us as Democrats. I look forward to working with Democrats from all 64 different counties to make sure that we succeed in 2012,” Palacio said following the vote, according to the Denver Post.

In 2008, President Barack Obama became the first Democrat to win the state since 1992. In 2010, Democrats won the governorship and held Sen. Michael Bennet’s seat, but the GOP now has a one-seat edge in the state House.

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