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Shop Talk: Operatives Join Congressional Offices

New lawmakers are staffing up in preparation for the 113th Congress

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Warren has hired Mindy Myers as her chief of staff. Myers managed the Massachusetts Democrat’s Senate campaign.

The biannual migration from the campaign trail to Capitol Hill continues. There are countless examples, but here are a few.

Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced Monday that veteran campaign operative Mindy Myers, who managed Warren’s campaign, will join her in the Senate as chief of staff. Myers previously managed campaigns for Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and served as Whitehouse’s chief of staff. In 2008, Myers was New Hampshire state director for President Barack Obama’s campaign.

At least two others from Warren’s campaign will now be on her Senate payroll, Dan Geldon as deputy chief of staff and Roger Lau as state director. Geldon, who has advised Warren since 2008, previously managed a congressional campaign and directed the Democratic National Committee’s youth outreach program. Lau, who was political director on the campaign, is a campaign and congressional office veteran of Massachusetts members of Congress.

Whitney Potter, who served as communications director on the campaign of Sen.-elect Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., is moving to Washington, D.C., to take the same position in his official office. Potter had served for three years as Heinrich’s New Mexico-based press secretary in his House office.

In the House, Rep.-elect Richard Nolan, D-Minn. appointed his campaign manager, Mike Misterek, to be his congressional chief of staff. Misterek has worked on other congressional campaigns and Obama’s 2008 campaign, and he was a staff intern for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn.

Operative to Elected

Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis was chosen over the weekend by party delegates to fill a vacant state Senate seat, according to The Associated Press.

Dabakis defeated several other candidates to fill the seat of Ben McAdams, who was elected Salt Lake County mayor Nov. 6.

Dabakis has served as head of the state party since the summer of 2011, was profiled recently by the Washington Post and earned much praise for helping to re-elect Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.

Dabakis broke ground as the first openly gay person to run a state party in Utah. The AP reported he plans to remain chairman while serving in the part-time legislature.

Chairs Unfolding

Operatives around the country are making bids to run their state parties.

In New Hampshire, GOP Chairman Wayne MacDonald is not one of them, according to The Associated Press. Like all other New England states, the GOP did not have a good year in New Hampshire, and MacDonald has publicly acknowledged his disappointment with the party’s performance.

Conservative activist Jennifer Horn immediately announced her intention to seek the position. She had the support of top Republicans in the state, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte, according to the Union Leader newspaper.

Tennessee GOP Chairman Chris Devaney was re-elected to a third term Saturday after running unopposed, the AP reported. Devaney, formerly the party’s executive director, is a former Hill staffer to Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and former Sens. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.

On the Democratic side of Tennessee politics, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that state Rep. Sherry Jones is the fourth Democrat to make a bid to run the state party. Other declared candidates include: state party Treasurer David Garrison, ex-party spokesman Wade Munday and Nashville attorney Ben Smith.

Whoever wins the post has much work ahead — the GOP controls supermajorities in both statehouse chambers.

More Macker Staffers

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe continues to hire talent for his 2013 Virginia gubernatorial campaign.

Last week, he named Nancy Rodrigues as his treasurer. She previously served as secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections and has worked on a state safe-driving campaign.

Fred Yang and Geoff Garin of Garin-Hart-Yang Research have also signed on to the campaign, along with Saul Shorr, Andrea Johnson and Adam Magnus of Shorr Johnson Magnus Media.

Barring any forthcoming primary challenges, McAuliffe is likely to face Republican state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the general.

Please send news of developments in the political industry to shoptalk@rollcall.com.

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