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Shop Talk: Tumultuous Alaska GOP Could Affect Senate Race

Alaska Republicans have ousted their second party chair this year, stoking tensions in the Last Frontier State GOP that could affect a top Senate race.

Local Republicans booted state party Chairwoman Debbie Brown from office last week for poor fundraising and not fulfilling “her duties running day-to-day party business,” according to the Anchorage Daily News.

In the final days before her forced departure, Brown locked out “unauthorized” persons from the party’s Anchorage headquarters early last week, according to the Alaska Dispatch. Party members later met and voted to remove her from office.

Brown’s removal came just days before Republican Joe Miller announced his exploratory committee on Sunday to challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. Miller has previously expressed support for Brown, and a post on his website described the group of Republicans who removed her as “The Corrupt Bastards Club.”

Writers for Miller’s website, Restoring Liberty, went further with their attacks. At least two blog posts described the meeting as a “Kangaroo Court,” and they reference Brown’s detractors as “RINOs.”

Miller will likely face Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell in the GOP primary next year. Treadwell has launched a campaign website to solicit donations and said he has formed an exploratory committee, although there is no record of one with the Federal Election Commission.

This is Miller’s second run for Senate in Alaska. He defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary in 2010, but the senator won re-election via a historic write-in campaign later that year.

Booker Booking Talent

Newark Mayor Cory Booker continued to staff his Senate campaign exploratory committee last week.

Lauren Dikis will be the new finance director for Booker’s exploratory committee for retiring Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg’s seat in New Jersey. In previous cycles, Dikis worked with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

She replaced Samantha Maltzman, who worked on Booker’s campaign for two weeks before leaving that post.

Inclán Do It

The National Republican Congressional Committee named Bettina Inclán as its new coalitions director.

Formerly, she was the national deputy coalitions director for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and oversaw Hispanic outreach at the Republican National Committee.

In her new job, Inclán “will create a road map to expand GOP engagement efforts to include emerging communities and minority groups,” according to an NRCC press release.

Howdy, Partners

Democracy Partners, a political consulting firm, has hired Christine Pelosi and digital video strategist David Grossman.

The daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is also the author of “Campaign Boot Camp.” Christine Pelosi has also worked in the Clinton administration, on Capitol Hill and with various Democratic party organizations and committees.

Grossman’s résumé includes experience at Media Matters for America and the Democratic National Committee.

Hello, Pollie

The American Association of Political Consultants awarded its top honors earlier this month. Campaign teams for President Barack Obama’s re-election, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s recall effort took home several top prizes known as “the Pollies.” Here are some of the top winners:

•Best Use of New Technology (tie): NGP VAN/Elizabeth Warren for Senate — Social Organizing, and iModerate & Catalist/Development Voter Insider .

•Campaign Manger of the Year, Democrat: Tessa Gould for Heitkamp’s race.

•Campaign Manager of the Year, Republican: Keith Gilkes/Champion Group for Walker’s recall election.

•Campaign Manager of the Year, Independent Expenditure: Heather Stone and Sylvia Ruiz, SEIU COPE/2012 Presidential Hispanic IE campaign to re-elect Obama.

•Campaign Strategist of the Year, Democratic: Jim Messina for Obama’s re-election.

•Campaign Strategist of the Year, Republican: Brian Tringali and B.J. Martino, The Tarrance Group for Walker’s recall election.

•Fundraiser of the Year, Democrat: Digital Fundraising Team for Obama’s re-election.

•Most Valuable Player of the Year, Democrat: Mark Putnam, Putnam Partners, for Heitkamp’s Senate race.

•Most Valuable Player of the Year, Republican: Mike Shields, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s political director in 2012.

•Pollster of the Year, Democrat: The Mellman Group.

•Pollster of the Year, Republican: Glen Bolger/Public Opinion Strategies, Protecting Michigan Taxpayers .

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

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