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Shop Talk: No More Half-Nelson

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

After raising half of what his opponent did in the second quarter, Rep. Connie Mack IV (R) has hired veteran Washington, D.C., fundraisers in an effort to bolster his Senate prospects.

Mack is hoping to capitalize on recent polls that have shown him running competitive with Sen. Bill Nelson (D). According to Republican sources, Mack, at the urging of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has hired well-known fundraisers Jim McCray to handle his national fundraising and Michael Gula and Jonathan Graham of the Gula Graham Group to run his political action committee fundraising.

Among its other Congressional clients, Gula Graham has long been retained by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to run his PAC fundraising. McCray has worked on multiple GOP presidential campaigns.

Chicago Bullish

President Barack Obama’s campaign recently made two new additions to its national communications staff. Joining the campaign are Rachel Racusen as deputy national communications director and Adam Fetcher as deputy national press secretary, Roll Call confirmed.

As Politico first reported, Racusen will manage the campaign’s general communications efforts while Fetcher will serve as a daily contact for national reporters.

Racusen, a Union College graduate, was most recently a vice president at SKDKnickerbocker in the firm’s public affairs and crisis communications practice. Previously, she was director of public affairs for Federal Emergency Management Agency, communications director for the House Education and Workforce Committee under then-Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) and a press person on several federal campaigns.

Fetcher served as press secretary for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and before that worked in the public affairs office of the Department of Homeland Security. The Carleton College graduate was a field organizer on Obama’s 2008 campaign before serving as a special assistant on the transition team.

Bolstering Boston

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign added two operatives to its communications team.

As the Washington Post first reported, the campaign hired Danny Diaz and Kevin Sheridan as senior advisers. Diaz, co-founder of the public affairs firm FP1 Strategies, is a former communications director of the Republican National Committee and served as deputy communications director for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign. Diaz was a deputy press secretary at the National Republican Congressional Committee in the 2002 cycle and was Southwest regional press secretary on President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign.

Sheridan has served as a senior vice president at Edelman for the past six years. He was previously a press director at the State Department and was an RNC spokesman for more than three years before that.

Conventional Wisdom

Both parties’ convention teams recently announced the addition of political professionals to help direct convention operations.

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