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Roll Call

GOP Firm Picks Up Another NRCC Staffer

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Christie, above withdrew his support for Bill Stepien, the governor’s preferred chairman candidate, at a news conference last week. As of now, he hasn’t announced a new nominee.

National Republican Congressional Committee operative Kayla Sulzer is headed to the polling division of GOP consulting firm OnMessage Inc.

“Opinion research is a dynamic science and Kayla has spent a great deal of time at the NRCC comparing best practices across the industry,” OnMessage Pollster and Partner Wes Anderson said. “She will bring a great skill set to our firm.”

Sulzer most recently served as NRCC polling director. She was a data analyst and deputy polling director for the committee during the 2012 cycle.

Sulzer joins fellow former top NRCC staffers Guy Harrison and Joanna Burgos at the company.

DNC Chairwoman Promotes Aide

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., recently promoted press secretary Mara Sloan to senior communications adviser. In this expanded role, Sloan will now split her time between Wasserman Schultz’s official House office and the Democratic National Committee, which Wasserman Schultz chairs.

N.J. GOP on the Hunt for New Chairman

The New Jersey Republican Party is on the hunt for a new chairman-designate. Gov. Chris Christie withdrew his support for Bill Stepien, the governor’s preferred chairman candidate on Jan. 9.

At issue for Christie was Stepien’s involvement in a scandal over a September traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge that lasted several days. He also ordered Stepien to “withdraw his consultancy with the Republican Governors Association.”

Per New Jersey political tradition, the state GOP committee signs off on the governor’s pick for chairman. As of press time, Christie had not announced a new nominee. Originally, New Jersey GOP members were scheduled to elect Stepien on Wednesday, according to The Newark Star-Ledger. The party did not return requests for comment on whether that date had changed.

Aides Join Opponents in Miss. Primary

Two House press aides recently joined opposing campaigns in the Mississippi Senate GOP primary.

Noel Fritsch, formerly the spokesman to Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, has signed on as communications director for state Sen. Chris McDaniel, a tea-party-favored challenger to Cochran.

Meanwhile, Jordan Russell, communications director to Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., announced last week that he will work on Sen. Thad Cochran’s re-election campaign. Elizabeth Parks will replace Russell in Nunnelee’s office.

N.M. Democrats Hire New Top Staffer

New Mexico Democratic Chairman Sam Bregman announced on Jan. 10 that Lissa Knudsen is the state party’s new executive director. Knudsen is a veteran of freshman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s, D-N.M., 2012 campaign.

House Majority PAC Names New Hire

Democratic operative Emily Aden joined House Majority PAC last week as research director. Aden was a research director on Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 campaign and previously worked at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Senate Operative Heads to DCCC

Democratic operative Tyrone Gayle announced last week that he was leaving his gig as the associate director for communications at the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee. Gayle began work on Monday as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s deputy national press secretary and African-American media adviser.

Gosar Aide Launches 60 Plus Chapter

Apryl Marie Fogel, senior adviser to Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., plans to leave Capitol Hill in February to launch the 60 Plus Association’s Alabama chapter. She will be based in Birmingham, Ala., as a state director. Fogel handled Gosar’s communications operation; as a result of her move, Garrett Hawkins has been promoted from press aide to press secretary.

FP1 Hires New Vice President

Ricky Diaz will join FP1 Strategies in February as vice president. Diaz has worked on some high-profile campaigns, including North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr’s 2010 re-election.

Republican Opens Messaging Firm

GOP operative Gretchen Hamel has opened the doors to a new “boutique messaging and communications firm” called Highline Strategies.

One of her first clients is former Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, who launched his comeback bid for Congress in Texas’ 23rd District last year.

Hamel “will continue to advise” her previous firm, Public Notice.

Ex-Campaign Aide Runs for Pa. House

Vince Rongione, a former campaign aide to then-Reps. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., and Christopher Carney, D-Pa., announced his campaign for the state House last week. He is challenging Republican state Rep. Nicholas A. Micozzie.

Hudson Hires New Spokesman

GOP communications operative Robert Reid recently signed on as communications director to Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. Reid worked on Mitt Romney’s North Carolina and Ohio campaigns in 2012. Reid comes to Hudson’s office after a stint as press secretary for Sen. Richard M. Burr, R-N.C.

Nathan L. Gonzales, Niels Lesniewski and Kyle Trygstad contributed to this report. Please send news of developments in the political industry to shoptalk@rollcall.com and follow us on Twitter @RCShopTalk.

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