Mark Standriff has left his position as communications director at the California Republican Party and will soon be named senior communications adviser to GOP Senate candidate Elizabeth Emken.
Standriff, a former radio show host, has worked at the state party for the past two years. Along with working on Emken’s challenge to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), Standriff will be an adviser, consultant and trainer for a number of Republican campaigns.
Replacing him at the state party is Jennifer Kerns, founder of K Street Communications and a former spokeswoman for California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.
“Mark has been a tireless member of our senior staff and dedicated himself to improving the CRP’s communications efforts by helping me reach more voters in more corners of our state,” California GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said in a statement.
Del Beccaro added that Kerns brings “a great deal of creativity that will help us drive our message in 2012.”
Lone Star Campaign
In other big-state Senate news, Jason Gibson, president of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, is staffing up for his bid for the Texas Democratic Senate nomination.
Ed Espinoza, a former western states political director at the Democratic National Committee, has signed on as general consultant and campaign manager. In 2010, Espinoza ran the Latino ground operation for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) campaign and wrote the DNC’s Latino outreach plan for Sen. Michael Bennet’s (D-Colo.) campaign.
Kirsten Gray, the press director at the Texas Democratic Party for the past two election cycles, will serve as communications director. Houston-based strategist Keir Murray, who’s worked on campaigns for former Rep. Nick Lampson (D) and a couple of Houston mayors, is political director. Jason Stanford, who managed former Rep. Chris Bell’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, is the chief research consultant.
Trover Heads Over
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is adding Lance Trover as deputy communications director for the remainder of the 2012 cycle.
Trover, who starts Monday, most recently served as communications director for Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and previously held the same position at the Illinois Republican Party.
Trover joins NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh and Press Secretary Jahan Wilcox in the press office. Chris Bond left his position as NRSC press secretary last month to join Rep. Denny Rehberg’s (R-Mont.) Senate campaign as communications director.
Smith’s Rapid Rise
Lis Smith, communications director at the Democratic Governors Association, is joining the Obama campaign as director of rapid response. Politico first reported the news.
Smith is a veteran of Democratic campaigns, previously working for Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Illinois Congressional candidate Dan Seals, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and former Govs. Ted Strickland of Ohio and Jon Corzine of New Jersey.
“No one was smarter or more effective than Lis, and she was the most fun out of anyone I’ve worked with,” DGA Executive Director Colm O’Comartun said in an email. He said to “stay tuned” for an announcement about the committee’s new communications director.
Also joining the Obama staff is Michael Czin, who takes over as Northeast regional press secretary after serving in the same role at the Democratic National Committee for the past three years, Politico reported.
FP1 Culling GOP Operatives
GOP firm FP1 Strategies has hired Richard Cullen as vice president.
Cullen, a Furman graduate and former Politico reporter, most recently served as press secretary to freshman Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.). He previously was special assistant and communications coordinator to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and did political work last cycle for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, where he worked closely with FP1 founder Terry Nelson and former NRSC Political Director Chris LaCivita.
“Richard’s background on the Hill, in journalism and in politics will be meaningful to our clients,” FP1 founder Danny Diaz said in a statement. “He is a great addition to the firm and we look forward to achieving greater success going forward.”
Cullen’s hire follows at least two others in the last three months. Alex Johnson was added as senior vice president in October, and Corey Vale became vice president of digital strategy a month later.
Nilsson Joins CMDI
Erik Nilsson has joined GOP finance software company CMDI as vice president.
Nilsson is the founder of Fundly, which, according to a CMDI release, “is now the largest online social fundraising platform, servicing both political organizations and non-profits.” The firm was involved in half of the 2010 Senate races. Nilsson previously created political software products for campaigns and political organizations.
“We are at a critical moment in the 2012 election season and are facing many market opportunities,” CMDI founder and President John Simms said. “Erik is a political technology visionary whose products have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Republicans. We are excited to have him join our team and bring his know-how to our clients and products.”
Founded in 1981, CMDI’s campaign finance services platform provides database solutions to help clients maximize campaign revenues and minimize Federal Election Commission compliance risks.
Submit campaign staffing news and tips to Shop Talk here.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.