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Shop Talk: State of the States

There is plenty of turnover happening at state parties across the country with fewer than seven months to go before general elections, and weekends are as good a time as any for big changes.

Kevin DeWine, Ohio Republican Party chairman for the past three years, stepped down on Friday and was replaced by his predecessor Bob Bennett, who chaired the party for the previous 21 years.

“We have to put aside our differences and rifts that are in this party and that is what is going on today,” DeWine told the party’s state central committee, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The newspaper reported that Bennett agreed to take the party’s helm in this crucial swing state for the rest of the year and will run for a full two-year term in January.

In North Carolina, Jay Parmley stepped down Sunday as executive director of the state Democratic Party after party activists called for his ouster at county conventions Saturday, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Questions were raised over a payment made to a former party staffer who was fired after complaining he was sexually harassed, which the newspaper discovered in internal emails Friday.

Meanwhile, two state party organizations looking for rejuvenation are electing leaders. The Nevada Republican Party will elect a chairman Sunday at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Former Las Vegas City Councilman Michael McDonald is favored over Washoe County GOP Chairman Dave Buell to replace Amy Tarkanian, who resigned in February.

The Louisiana Democratic Party will elect a chairman to a four-year term April 28. Former Rep. Buddy Leach, the current chairman, is favored to win re-election against state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, a Democratic National committeewoman.

Dan the Man

Sagac Public Affairs announced the addition of Dan Ekstein as partner to further its strategic growth and enhance client services.

Ekstein, a Virginia Commonwealth University grad, most recently served as vice president at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and as director of its political action committee.

Sagac is a national firm that provides communications, research and fundraising operations to political, nonprofit and corporate organizations. The firm’s services include strategy implementation for issue advocacy and PAC campaigns.

Sherwood’s Forest

Media strategist Robbie Sherwood was named director of operations for the new Strategies 360 office in Arizona, the eighth western state in which the Seattle-based public affairs firm has an office.

Sherwood was an adviser to former Rep. Harry Mitchell and started his own consulting firm in 2011. He was press secretary for Greg Stanton’s recent successful campaign for Phoenix mayor.

Noem Staffs Up

South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem recently announced hiring two senior campaign aides for her first re-election.

The Republican brought on campaign manager Tom Erickson and general consultant Justin Brasell, who managed the most recent re-election campaigns of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.).

Erickson was the Midwest press secretary last cycle at the National Republican Congressional Committee and in 2008 was deputy communications director for then-Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-Minn.) re-election. Brasell is a former Midwest political director at the NRCC and was set to run Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (R-Maine) campaign before she announced her retirement in February.

Hired for Koss

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