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Blue Dogs Tap Whalen to Expand Political Operation

Bill Clark/Roll Call
Rep. Heath Shuler, flanked by fellow Blue Dog Reps. John Barrow (left) and Mike Ross (right) at a press conference on Wednesday, has hired a former aide to beef up the coalition's political operation heading into the 2012 elections.

After the 2010 wave election that swept many conservative House Democrats out of office, it looked like the Blue Dogs were on the verge of extinction.

But today, the coalition announced they still had some bark left in them, expanding its political operation and hiring Andrew Whalen to manage its political action committee. He will oversee candidate recruitment and endorsements while helping to expand the group's national communications effort.

Whalen previously served as a senior adviser to Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and as the executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Late last year, Shuler put Whalen in charge of his 3rd and Long PAC as executive director.

“I am thrilled to have Andrew in this position with the Blue Dogs as we move toward the 2012 elections,” Shuler said in a statement. “He will be an invaluable resource not just to my re-election efforts, but to all the Blue Dogs running across the country. He knows how to communicate with voters and win in the tough districts Blue Dogs represent.”

Democrats in the Tar Heel State managed to mostly hold on against the GOP wave last cycle. But after redistricting, the state's new Congressional map leaves most Democrats with steep climbs to re-election.  

“Partisan talking heads shouting at one another on cable TV may be entertaining to some people, but the majority of Americans are looking for honesty and straightforward talk from their elected officials,” said Blue Dog PAC Co-Chairman Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.). “As our nation stands at this fiscal crossroads, the Blue Dogs are going to communicate directly with the American people about the choices before us and the steps we must take to create jobs and secure our long-term economic security.”

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