Just two weeks after longtime Rep. Henry A. Waxman announced his retirement, at least one campaign is moving quickly to build a campaign infrastructure to win the California Democrat’s seat.
Former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel has assembled a team that includes a few operatives from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
President Bill Clinton campaigned on Greuel’s behalf during her unsuccessful 2013 bid for Los Angeles mayor. Greuel had worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration.
Greuel’s team includes:
Campaign manager: Michael Trujillo. Trujillo is currently a senior adviser for the super PAC Ready for Hillary, which is not coordinating with the former secretary of State. During the 2008 presidential primaries, Trujillo was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s statewide field director in California, North Carolina and Texas.
Direct mail/media consultants: Ace Smith and Sean Clegg of SCN Strategies. A political operative for former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Smith was Clinton’s state director in California, Texas and North Carolina in 2008. Also a former Villaraigosa hand, Clegg worked on the campaigns of former California Gov. Gray Davis, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and former Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo.
Pollster: Amy Levin of Benenson Strategy Group. Levin, who is not a former Clinton aide, previously worked as David Axelrod’s chief of staff and is a veteran of President Barack Obama’s campaigns.
The field to replace Waxman is still fluid, but for now, Greuel, Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu and Los Angeles deputy district attorney Elan S. Carr, a Republican, are the most organized contenders. The California filing deadline is March 7, and the top-two primary is June 3.
“Mr. Dempsey is no longer the executive director, and it is a personnel matter,” state party attorney David Harris said in a phone interview with CQ Roll Call.
Prior to his time there, Dempsey worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and managed California Rep. Scott Peters’ highly competitive 2012 campaign, in which he knocked out a Republican incumbent.
Amid this turnover, there is much at stake for this state committee. Sen. Kay Hagan is in a dogfight of a race to hold onto her seat. Senate Democrats are leaning heavily on coordination with a handful of state parties, including the North Carolina Democratic Party, to help keep control of the Senate.
Hill Republican Heads to Florida
Republican Greg Blair recently left one Scott for another. Last week, Blair exited his position as South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s press secretary to begin work Monday as deputy communications director on Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election campaign.
“I’ve been honored to work for Senator Scott’s team and I’m looking forward to seeing the great things he’ll do in the future,” Blair wrote in an email to his contacts. “At the same time, this next chapter will be an exciting one full of interesting challenges and new friends and I’m eager to get started.”
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.