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'Coming Out' Spot Raked In $100K for House Race

It is not often that Gawker gushes about anything — let alone a political spot. But a campaign ad created by Mark Putnam of Putnam Partners achieved just that last week.

The television ad was for state Rep. Carl Sciortino, a Democratic candidate in the Massachusetts special election to fill Democratic Sen. Edward J. Markey’s old House seat. Sciortino, who is openly gay, “comes out” as a “Massachusetts liberal” to his father, a tea party activist.

“The ad almost wrote itself,” Putnam said in a phone interview. “I was hoping and praying that his father would live up to the image in my mind. It turned out, he was perfect.”

Within 24 hours of its release, Gawker and other news organizations from all over the country (even outlets thousands of miles away from Massachusetts’ 5th District) took note of the ad.

It’s a lot of attention for a candidate who lags behind several other Democrats in a crowded primary field, according to public polling. Sciortino’s campaign hoped the ad would go viral and pay for itself through online fundraising.

It could do just that. The Sciortino campaign has raised at least $100,000 since the ad’s release, according to his aides. It has more than 330,000 views on YouTube.

The advertisement was originally conceived as a 30-second spot, but Putnam said he “couldn’t do justice to the idea with only 30 seconds.” They extended the length to a minute — an unusual choice for a House campaign on a small budget.

The primary is Oct. 15. The Democratic winner will almost certainly win the Dec. 10 general election in this heavily Democratic district near Boston.

There’s an App for That

A new organization, Code for Progress, launched this week with a mission to increase the ranks of minorities and women in campaign technology development.

“We’re missing a lot ideas,” the group’s founder, Dirk Wiggins, said in an interview. He characterized the technological aspect of campaigning as homogenous — overly white and male. “The focus is diversifying that field,” Wiggins said of his project.

The organization will sponsor a 12-week boot camp for aspiring campaign techies with labs, guest lecturers and a heavy focus on technical skills like app development and programming. Organizers say participants will get a mentor on the tech side and on the professional development side.

Code for Progress will have a launch event on Wednesday hosted by Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez and Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., both of New Jersey, Reps. Bill Enyart of Illinois, Lois Frankel of Florida and Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, among others.

Dyer-ed Hand

Obstetrician Dr. Greg Brannon recently hired Nick Dyer, a staff assistant in Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s office, as the political director for his Senate campaign in North Carolina.

Dyer wore several hats in Cruz’s campaign, eventually working as the deputy state field director.

“When I joined Senator Cruz’s campaign for Senate, the establishment said we had no chance at the nomination,” Dyer said in a release. “We proved them wrong by building a grassroots army like none other which led us to a resounding victory against our establishment backed opponent.

“I’m excited to get to work to elect Dr. Brannon to the U.S. Senate. Senators Cruz, Lee and Paul need reinforcements and Greg will be a great addition to the Wacko Bird caucus,” he added.

State Speaker Thom Tillis is the front-runner for the GOP nomination. Baptist pastor Mark Harris is also running for the nomination. Brannon launched his Senate campaign in February.

The race is rated Tossup/Tilt Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

So Get Ready, Here She Comes

The Ready for Hillary super PAC has named Lisa Changadveja as its LGBT Americans director. She worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign in the Nevada caucus and the Ohio and Indiana primaries.

Ready for Hillary is an organization committed to building a campaign infrastructure in the event former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton runs for president in 2016. It is not affiliated with Clinton.

Louisville Slugger

GOP operative Rachel Semmel will join businessman Matt Bevin’s Senate campaign in Kentucky next month. Bevin is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for the Republican nomination.

On Sept. 20, Semmel told colleagues via email that she would leave her post as communications director to Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., for the new gig.

Camooso Miller Moves On

Lisa Camooso Miller will join Blueprint Communications on Oct. 1. She leaves her job as vice president of media affairs for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Miller previously worked as communications director at the Republican National Committee.

Please send news of developments in the political industry to shoptalk@rollcall.com and follow us on Twitter @RCShopTalk.

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