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Shop Talk: Kaine Camp Takes Form

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) has rounded out his Senate campaign’s senior staff as he revs up for a competitive open-seat race with former Sen. George Allen (R).

In a statement Wednesday, Kaine announced six additions to his team — all women — and said that Press Secretary Brandi Hoffine will take on a new role as communications director.

Lily Adams takes over as press secretary after holding the same position in the office of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Adams was deputy press secretary in 2010 for then-Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s re-election campaign and served on Creigh Deeds’ 2009 Virginia gubernatorial campaign.

Also joining the campaign are field director Ally Coll, who most recently worked on the campaigns of Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell; political director Tyee Davenport, who has been serving as deputy political director at the state Democratic Party; and Northern Virginia political director Sindy Benavides, who was national director of community outreach at the Democratic National Committee.

Nicole Gyorfi Titus, the director of digital media, joins the campaign after serving as director of business development for new media firm Blue State Digital. Dawn Hillard, the operations director, has served in the same position for the state party since 2009.

Warren Picks Bay State-based Spokeswoman

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign announced Tuesday the addition of Alethea Harney as press secretary for Warren’s challenge to Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R).

Harney joins the Democrat’s campaign from the office of Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman, where she held the same position. Harney previously served as director of communications and public affairs for Gov. Deval Patrick’s team that tracked how federal stimulus money was spent in the state.

Harney was a senior staffer on Vice President Joseph Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign in Iowa and served on the national advance team for Sen. John Kerry’s (Mass.) 2004 presidential campaign.

The Tufts University graduate was an associate vice president at Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, where she worked on several successful statewide issue campaigns.

Beefing Up in New District

Rep. Jason Altmire (Pa.) announced Wednesday the addition of Angela Ruslander as campaign manager, as he begins a redistricting-forced race with fellow Democratic Rep. Mark Critz.

Ruslander has worked as manager, fundraiser and field organizer for campaigns at all levels, including Congressional races in Iowa and New Hampshire. She also served for more than three years as a senior staffer for Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa).

Ruslander joins Abigail Silverman, an Altmire fundraising assistant and director of new media, in Altmire’s Ross Township headquarters. Altmire’s 2010 campaign manager, Rachael Heisler, is currently serving as a political adviser and finance director.

“I am confident that we have put together a team of highly-skilled and experienced campaign professionals unmatched anywhere in the country,” Altmire said in a statement. “Angela’s well-rounded experience is perfectly suited to the unique nature of the 2012 election in the newly-drawn 12th Congressional District.”

Primary to Watch

Michelle Lujan Grisham, running for New Mexico’s open 1st district seat, announced on Tuesday the campaign team she has put together to help her win a competitive Democratic primary and general election.

The announcement came just a few days after a state judge approved a redistricting plan that ensures the Albuquerque-based district will remain competitive territory for the next decade. Lujan Grisham is facing a tough primary against former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez and state Sen. Eric Griego.

Leading Lujan Grisham’s team is campaign manager Jason Henry, a consultant at Pennsylvania-based West Media Group. Henry served as western Pennsylvania coordinator during then-Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D) 2010 Senate primary campaign.

Consultants joining Henry include Dave Gold, a veteran New Mexico direct-mail consultant; pollster Anna Greenberg, of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research; the New Media Firm, for media; New Partners, managing the campaign website and new media; and Andy Szekeres of 3PG Consulting for fundraising.

“We have assembled a strong and experienced team,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “The expertise they bring in terms of strategy, message, creativity and credibility — combined with the experience and campaign skills of our local team — are going to give us a huge boost to win this election.”

Brunner Adds Four

Missouri Republican John Brunner’s Senate campaign announced four additions to his senior staff on Wednesday, as he looks to win the GOP primary and take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).

Miriam Stonebraker joins the campaign as political director after serving in the same position at John Hancock & Associates, a Missouri-based political consulting firm. Stonebraker is a veteran of the Missouri Republican Party and served in senior staff positions on numerous statewide campaigns and ballot initiatives.

Todd Abrajano, who has served in communications positions for campaigns and in the state Legislature, was named communications director. Finance director Katie McBreen began her fundraising career at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2006, followed by a stint on Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran’s 2010 race and Tim Pawlenty’s presidential bid last year.

Miles Ross, who was named Western Missouri campaign director, helped lead now-Sen. Roy Blunt’s House campaigns for most of the last decade. He has advised more than 100 races across the state.

The four additions join a team that already includes campaign manager Jon Seaton and longtime Missouri political advisers John Hancock and Rich Chrismer.

“You’d be hard-pressed to build a better, more talented, or more experienced team of first-rate professionals,” Seaton said in a statement.

Florida GOP’s New Moves

The Florida Republican Party announced two changes to its communications staff.

Kristen McDonald, who was serving as a communications assistant, is taking over as press secretary. Dan Dawson joins the party as new media director after serving in the same position on Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s 2010 campaign. He also ran the war room for Jon Huntsman’s former presidential campaign headquarters in Orlando.

Submit campaign staffing news and tips to Shop Talk here.

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