Two-Man Landing

Posted June 18, 2003 at 6:27pm

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s (D) controversial right-hand man has landed at Penn Schoen & Berland Associates Inc., the Democratic and corporate polling and strategic research firm.

Alan Fleischmann, who was Townsend’s chief of staff in the lieutenant governor’s office and then CEO for her failed 2002 campaign for governor, began work in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office Monday. His longtime assistant, William Mann, also started working at Penn Schoen & Berland, at the beginning of June.

They are expected to do a combination of corporate, political and international work for the firm, which also has offices in New York, Denver and Seattle.

Fleischmann, who was a top aide to then-Rep. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) and has also worked in international banking, was a ubiquitous figure in Maryland politics for the past several years, as Townsend prepared to run for governor and sought to burnish her credentials as a national Democratic leader. Brainy, charming, well-connected and fiercely loyal to Townsend (he is godfather to her youngest daughter), Fleischmann nevertheless came under criticism for the way Townsend’s campaign was run — particularly its reluctance to look for help from old Democratic hands familiar with state and national politics who were out of Townsend’s (and Fleischmann’s) inner circle.

The Washington Post ran an unusual article one month after Townsend’s stunning defeat at the hands of then-Rep. Bob Ehrlich (R), quoting a raft of Democrats who blamed Fleischmann for the debacle. But Townsend, who has just been named president of Operation Respect: “Don’t Laugh at Me,” an organization dedicated to preventing children from being bullied in school, defended her friend.

P.R. Alliance. Sixty public relations professionals in the D.C. area have joined forces to create a consortium of sorts called the Independent Public Relations Alliance. Using the alliance’s Web site (www.ipralliance.com) people in need of P.R. services can post requests for proposals, listing the scope and projected cost of each job. Small P.R. firms will make bids on the work.

“We’re colleagues, but we’re bidding against each other professionally,” said

Audra Capas, president of 5StarPR LLC, one of the companies involved in the alliance.

Despite the competition, the firms are able to peddle their wares and list their areas of expertise on the site, which serves as a simple, one-stop shopping center for clients.

“We’ve made it easy and democratic,” Capas said.

Burns’ Bridges. A veteran of Montana politics has been hired to be Western regional political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Tricia Pearson will run the committee’s Western political operation, splitting her time between NRSC headquarters in D.C. and the road.

Since 2000, Pearson has served as director of special projects for Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), in addition to her duties as Burns’ liaison to the NRSC. She was also the campaign manager for Burns’ successful re-election in 2000, and previously was executive director for the Montana Republican Party.

Pearson is the second regional political director hired by the NRSC. Mike McSherry, who doubles as the committee’s deputy political director, is in charge of the Southern region — a post he also held in the 2002 cycle.

More Montana GOP News. A former aide to then-Rep. Rick Hill (R-Mont.) is in the running to be chairwoman of the Montana Republican Party.

Gilda Clancy, who also served in the state House, would be the second female to chair the Montana GOP. She is running on a ticket with vice chairman candidate James Parker Shield, a former aide to Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) who is a Chippewa-Cree Indian. Clancy worked in Hill’s Helena office.

Clancy’s principal opponent at the state GOP’s June 27-29 convention in Missoula is John Rabenburg, a GOP activist known for designing and producing campaign signs for scores of Republican politicians. The current chairman, Ken Miller, recently announced his intention to run for governor in 2004 — if Gov. Judy Martz (R) chooses not to seek re-election.

Martz, whose poll ratings have plummeted recently, has said she will probably announce her intentions around the state convention. Earlier this week, she advised Republicans interested in running for governor not to base their decisions on her political plans.

Besides Miller, Montana Secretary of State Bob Brown (R), state Senate President Bob Keenan (R) and Lt. Gov. Karl Ohs (R) have also expressed an interest in running. Former state Sen. Thomas Keating (R) is already in the race. Farmer Brian Schweitzer is the leading Democratic candidate.

Shoehorning Buckhorn. The Dewey Square Group, the powerful public affairs agency, has hired former Tampa City Councilman Bob Buckhorn (D) to work out of the firm’s Tampa office.

Not surprisingly, Buckhorn will focus on DSG’s local and state affairs practice, and will help build the firm’s Florida client base.

In addition to serving eight years on the city council, Buckhorn has local planning and campaign experience. He was coordinator for Democrat Sandy Freedman’s successful campaign for mayor of Tampa in 1985, and then served as her special assistant.

Besides Tampa, Dewey Square has offices in Washington, Boston, San Francisco and Sacramento.

School Days. Arlington, Va.-based Republican political consultant Nancy Bocskor has been named to the board of directors of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.

Bocskor has spent more than 20 years in politics: as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill, campaign organizer, political action committee fundraiser and political educator. She began her career in 1979 in the office of then-Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). In 1990, Bocskor started The Nancy Bocskor Co., a fundraising and political consulting firm.

Her firm specializes in fundraising for Members of Congress and training for incumbents, candidates and campaign workers. She has been a guest lecturer at the Women’s Campaign School for eight years, teaching women how to raise money.

The school, which trains women to run for public office, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

LIU’s Man. A former top aide to then-Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.) has been named government affairs director for Long Island University, the seventh-largest private university in the nation.

Christopher Williams, former counsel and district director to Lazio, will be the university’s chief liaison to national, state and local officials. Most recently, he worked as a deputy and senior investigative attorney for the inspector general’s office of the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs New York City’s subways and commuter railroads. He has also held various legal and government positions for the Suffolk County government on Long Island.