The Long and Winding Road

Posted May 5, 2004 at 5:18pm

The New York Conservative Party, despite having very few members and even fewer officeholders to call its own, continues to wield great influence on Empire State — and occasionally national — politics.

No New York Republican has been elected statewide in more than 30 years without also receiving the Conservative ballot line.

Such is the power of the Conservatives that Eileen Long, the daughter of Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, has had a series of important jobs in Gov. George Pataki’s (R) administration, starting in his press office. She moved on to the staff of Lt. Gov. Mary Donohue (R), first as her press secretary, then as her chief of staff.

Last month, Eileen Long quit her $120,000-a-year post as state deputy secretary for finance and housing. According to the Albany Times-Union, she has taken a gig with President Bush’s administration as regional administrator for the General Services Administration, covering the Northeast and the Caribbean.

Read into that what you will.

Travels With Charlie. Charlie Melancon (D), a former Louisiana state legislator and sugar industry executive running to replace retiring Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), has tapped a district attorney to be chairman of his campaign.

Tony Falterman has been the district attorney for Louisiana’s 23rd judicial district since 1990. Prior to that, he was sheriff of Assumption Parish for 15 years — the youngest sheriff ever elected in Louisiana at the time.

Melancon is locked in a competitive race for the 3rd district with Charmaine Caccioppi (D), an official with the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce official and top aide to then-Sen. Bennett Johnston (D-La.), state Rep. Jack Smith (D) and state Sen. Craig Romero (R). Tauzin’s son, telecommunications executive Billy Tauzin III (R), is also expected to run.

Vitter-an. Speaking of Pelican State politics, Rep. David Vitter’s (R-La.) Senate bid has a new campaign manager.

Louisiana Political Fax Weekly reported last week that Vitter replaced campaign manager Bill Pascoe, a veteran of several New Jersey races, with Kyle Rucker, who is taking a leave of absence as Vitter’s chief of staff on Capitol Hill. Pascoe is expected to remain as a campaign adviser to Vitter.

Revolving Door? The recently fired editor of the Casper Star-Tribune newspaper in Wyoming has been hired to be the lead strategist for Wyoming state Sen. Cale Case, who is challenging Rep. Barbara Cubin in the GOP primary.

Dan Neal, who was fired from his editor’s job on March 31, told his old newspaper that he is joining the campaign because the state deserves better representation on Capitol Hill. He is a registered Democrat.

Case said he will soon hire a campaign manager.

“That will be somebody in the Republican Party, I guarantee you,” he told the Star-Tribune.

Señora Presidente. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund has named Ann Marie Tallman its new president and general counsel.

Tallman — formerly known as Ann Marie Wheelock — is the granddaughter of Mexican migrant workers. For the past several years, she has worked in various capacities for Fannie Mae, the lending agency.

She was Fannie Mae’s senior vice president for the Western region, served as executive assistant to former Fannie Mae CEO James Johnson — who is now heading Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) search for a running mate — and was executive vice president of the Fannie Mae Foundation.

Tallman also served as a top aide to then Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.

MALDEF, based in Los Angeles but with offices in Washington, D.C., and other cities, focuses on education, employment, immigration, civil rights and voting rights.

Send in the Clowns. UniverSoul Circus, the only black-owned circus in the United States, is holding voter registration drives at each of its 57 performance sites throughout the country. One of its two touring companies will be in D.C. — actually at the Capital Plaza Mall grounds in Landover, Md. — from May 29 to June 20.