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Shop Talk: Lanny Davis, Michael Steele Join Forces

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele recently joined a bipartisan communications firm.

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is teaming up with former White House special counsel Lanny Davis at Purple Nation Solutions, a Washington, D.C.-based strategic communications and public affairs firm — not to be confused with Purple Strategies, a bipartisan firm of top political strategists launched last year.

“Situated in the heart of downtown Washington D.C., in proximity to Capitol Hill, the White House and federal regulatory agencies, we are a bipartisan, global, one-stop shop where law, media, and politics intersect,” the firm’s website states. “By leveraging all three, we look for solutions through non-traditional approaches involving legal means, political lobbying, and media management.”

The two sat down with the Daily Beast for a story published Monday.

Davis, a Fox News contributor, served under President Bill Clinton from 1996 to 1998 and previously represented Maryland on the Democratic National Committee for 12 years. His past clients as a lawyer and legal crisis manager include CEOs, sports celebrities, political leaders and both U.S. and international companies.

Steele is an MSNBC analyst, former Maryland lieutenant governor and former GOPAC chairman. Until recently, he was president and CEO of the Steele Group.

Eleanor McManus, an award-winning journalist who served for more than a decade as senior producer of CNN’s “Larry King Live,” is president of the media communications division, which “offers consultation to firms, businesses and government agencies.” She will also serve as a media trainer for high-level executives and on-air personalities.

The Bis-Marquee House Race

Kevin Cramer, the Republican nominee in North Dakota’s open at-large House district, named Matt Becker as his campaign manager.

Becker, a Bismarck native, had been deputy executive director for the North Dakota Republican Party since April after serving as the state party’s communications director. He replaces Gary Emineth, who will now focus on his duties as the campaign’s finance chairman.

“Matt is a skilled manager and communicator with experience in state and national politics, along with knowledge of the issues,” Cramer said in a statement. “His leadership and guidance will be a tremendous asset to this campaign as we focus on the general election.”

Cramer faces former state Rep. Pam Gulleson (D) in the general election.

Out of the Swamp

James Hallinan has signed on as communications director at the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

Hallinan most recently served as director of research and communications at the Louisiana Democratic Party. Hallinan is a New Mexico political veteran, and his résumé there includes stints as communications director for the state Democratic Party, as deputy spokesman on former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish’s (D) 2010 gubernatorial campaign and on the final stretch of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign in the state.

Earlier this cycle, he served as spokesman for the special election campaign of Democrat Kate Marshall in Nevada’s 2nd district.

A New Venture

Matt Beynon has launched his own firm, Madison Strategic Ventures.

The Arlington, Va.-based group is a full-service public affairs firm providing media relations, crisis management and political advisory services to campaigns and businesses.

Beynon was deputy communications director for former Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-Pa.) presidential campaign from June 2011 until Santorum left the race in April. He was previously an adviser to Santorum’s America’s Foundation PAC and a staffer in Santorum’s Senate office. He also served as a management consultant in Urish Popeck’s D.C. office.

Getting Out the GOP Youth Vote

The College Republican National Committee hired four full-time regional political directors to oversee the organization’s field program to help GOP candidates get elected in battleground states this fall.

According to a news release, the CRNC is preparing “to launch the largest field program in the organization’s 120-year history, with 60 paid field representatives working in targeted states across the country.”

The regional political directors are Travis Holler, who held the same position on Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) presidential campaign; Amanda Miller, who worked for the Kentucky GOP last year and managed a Texas state House campaign; Elliott Echols, a former staffer to Rep. Tom Graves’ (R-Ga.) campaign; and Kial Vidic, who also managed a Texas state House campaign and worked for three different state parties. The hires will work under national field director Brad Alexander.

“Our program will recruit 50,000 new College Republicans and make 6 million voter contacts in swing states leading up to November 2012,” Alexander said.

Submit campaign staffing news and tips to Shop Talk here.

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