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Shop Talk: Passing the Tester

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Max Croes, who has served as deputy press secretary to Sen. Mark Begich for the past three years, has joined Sen. Jon Tester's (above) campaign as deputy communications director.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who is locked in a competitive re-election race with Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), has added a new piece to his campaign team.

Max Croes, who has served as deputy press secretary to Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) for the past three years, has joined the campaign as deputy communications director. Croes, a veteran of campaigns in Alaska and Texas, joined Begich following the Senator's 2008 election.

Aaron Murphy, previously a spokesman in Tester's office, moved over to the campaign as communications director in January.

Race to Watch

North Dakota Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp (D) continues to construct a campaign team for her likely general election matchup with Rep. Rick Berg (R).

"While Heidi's been going around the state, we've been building up our campaign team with some of the best people around," Heitkamp campaign manager Tessa Gould said in a statement.

Heitkamp has signed on Gail Hand as communications director, Brandon Lorenz as press secretary, Mindi Grieve as political director and Emily Crerand as call time manager.

Hand, a University of North Dakota graduate, wrote for the Grand Forks Herald for almost two decades and had a column distributed nationally by Knight-Ridder. Hand left journalism to direct the North Dakota arm of the American Diabetes Association.

Lorenz, also a former journalist, served as communications director at the Nebraska Democratic Party for the past eight months. He previously served as communications director on a special election campaign for Milwaukee county executive and headed research and communications at the Wisconsin Democratic Party for the 2010 Senate race.

Grieve, a Wahpeton, N.D., native, is a North Dakota State graduate. She's worked for the North Dakota Farmers Union, the National Farmers Union and most recently as a government relations specialist for the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

Another Catch for Bass

Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) hired an experienced grass-roots organizer to manage his re-election campaign.

Brad Blais, a New Hampshire native, began his career on former Sen. John Sununu's (R-N.H.) 2008 re-election as an assistant to campaign manager Paul Collins, then served as Collins' deputy campaign manager in 2010 on Sean Mahoney's Congressional campaign in the 1st district.

Following the primary, Blais moved over to the 2nd district to join the Bass campaign as field director.

Blais and Collins founded CB Strategies, a political consulting firm, which Bass hired after 2010 to manage his grass-roots organizing efforts during the off year. Blais and Collins also recently served as consultants to former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign.

The campaign also recently hired BJ Perry to build the campaign's grass-roots campaign and get-out-the-vote operation.

Victory Lap

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