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Top GOP Ad-Maker Fired Via Email at Elsass' Firm | Shop Talk

Maryland Republicans selected a new chairwoman, real estate agent Diana Waterman, on April 20 to finish the term of their former head, Alex Mooney.

Waterman and her executive director, David Ferguson, plan to implement a long-term strategy to rebuild the state party with an eye on 2020 — the cycle before the decennial redistricting process begins again.

Republicans remain furious about how Democrats redrew the state legislative and congressional boundaries in 2011. They hope that with more Republicans in the legislature, and possibly in the governor’s mansion, Republicans can “reverse course” on the redistricting process, Ferguson said in an interview.

To accomplish this, the duo plans to focus on downballot races for the legislature and county offices in a reverse-coattails mission. The strategy will push local candidates to build bridges with voters that will help Republicans statewide and in the 6th District, which is a marginally competitive Democratic seat.

The beleaguered Maryland GOP boasts only one Republican member of Congress. Democrats have dominated state politics there for a generation.

Waterman lives on the Eastern Shore. She served as the interim chairwoman during the time between Mooney’s resignation and the April 20 chairman elections.

Ray of Light

Ben Ray, former press secretary to Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, is the new director of rapid response for the North Carolina Democratic Party.

A Kentucky native, Ray’s new gig marks his third stint at a state party. Previously, he worked for the South Carolina and Indiana Democratic parties.

Stepping Stone-Ridge

The Stoneridge Group, a Republican firm in Georgia, hired Anthony Bonna as senior digital strategist.

Bonna will be based in Orlando, Fla. Previously, he was Harris Media’s Florida director, working with Florida Republicans Rep. John L. Mica and former Rep. Allen B. West. In 2010, Bonna was a senior researcher for Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s gubernatorial campaign.

Haley’s Comet

Democratic spokeswoman Haley Morris joined Rep. Gary Peters’ office last week as his new communications director. Peters is the top Michigan Democrat considering a bid for retiring Sen. Carl Levin’s seat in 2014.

Most recently, Morris helped freshman Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Ill., set up his office on Capitol Hill. In 2012, she served as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Midwestern press secretary. Prior to that gig, she worked on campaigns in Ohio and Wisconsin and for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

How Sweeney It Is

Former Rhode Island GOP Executive Director Patrick Sweeney has joined Cranston Mayor Allan Fung’s burgeoning GOP gubernatorial campaign, according to WPRI television affiliate.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, is up for re-election in 2014. Former state Auditor General Ernie Almonte filed to run for the Democratic nomination nearly a year ago. State Treasurer Gina Raimondo is also mulling a Democratic bid.

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

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