Another Woodhouse Enters the Fray

Posted May 12, 2004 at 6:18pm

Fans of the partisan-tinged rhetoric of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee communications director, Brad Woodhouse, may want to start paying attention to North Carolina newspapers.

That’s because Woodhouse’s younger brother, Dallas Woodhouse, has just signed on to be communications director for Virginia Johnson (R), a lawyer and former Hill staffer who is challenging freshman Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.).

You read correctly. Brad Woodhouse is a Democrat and his brother is a Republican.

“My brother and I have to stick to talking about the North Carolina State Wolfpack and fishing,” said Dallas Woodhouse. “But he is an excellent communications person because he can spin the extreme liberal position into just about anything.”

Actually this isn’t the first time that the brothers’ family has split along partisan lines in the Tar Heel State. Their mother was at one time a personal assistant to former North Carolina Sen. and Gov. Terry Sanford (D). Their father was a former Sanford appointee who later became a Republican.

Their uncle, Ed Woodhouse, was a former chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party. And his son, Eddie Woodhouse, worked for former Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) for years. Dallas Woodhouse called Eddie Woodhouse his political mentor.

While Brad Woodhouse is a political veteran, having worked for Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) and Erskine Bowles’ (D) 2002 Senate campaign, among others, this is Dallas Woodhouse’s first foray into partisan politics. He spent seven years as a political reporter for a TV station in Raleigh, and has also worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture there.

“His résumé was very impressive,” Johnson said.

Dallas Woodhouse is the third full-time staffer working for the Johnson campaign. Her campaign manager is Jim Guidone, a Vietnam veteran and retired corporate executive who is, Johnson said, “selling another good product.”

Her campaign coordinator is David McGowan III, who has worked in real estate but whose true love is politics.

And how does Brad Woodhouse feel about his brother working for a Republican?

“My brother doesn’t know anything about fishing so that would leave Wolfpack Football, if I talk to him at all. I hope he is successful in his job, just not in his mission — because Brad Miller is the right fit for the 13th district and as good as he is Dallas can’t spin his way out of that fact.”

Down on the Farm. A veteran of Colorado and national political campaigns has been hired as campaign manager for Colorado state Rep. John Salazar, the leading Democratic candidate in the race to replace retiring Rep. Scott McInnis (R) in the Western Slope 3rd district.

Jim Merlino, who worked most recently as policy director for Colorado state Senate Democrats, joined the campaign of Salazar — a farmer whose motto is “Send a farmer to Congress” — last week.

In 2002, Merlino was campaign manager for then-state Sen. Stan Matsunaka, the Democratic nominee in Colorado’s 4th House district. He has also worked on the national campaign staffs of Democratic presidential candidates Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton and Bill Bradley.

And on the international front, Merlino has worked for Mexican President Vicente Fox — before Fox became president.

Thompson’s Troops. Nebraska state Sen. Nancy Thompson, the Democratic challenger to three-term Rep. Lee Terry (R) who shares a birthday with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) — down to the year — has put together her campaign team.

Rich Davis of Dixon Davis is the general consultant. Harrison Hickman, a veteran of several Nebraska campaigns, will be the pollster. His list of former clients include ex-Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) and new Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey.

Direct-mail veteran Jim Crounse will do the mail solicitations for Thompson. Jason Burke, who most recently managed the House campaign of former Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar (D), will be Thompson’s campaign manager.

Cuellar appears to have defeated Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D) in the contested Democratic primary in Texas’ 28th district. Although the race hasn’t been officially called two months after the primary, Cuellar was clinging to a 58-vote lead Wednesday.

Hoping to Kerry New Mexico. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has just installed a campaign director for the critical swing state of New Mexico, Albuquerque-based political blogger Joe Monahan reports.

Moses Mercado, a former deputy chief of staff to Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) who also worked for Gephardt’s presidential campaign and the presidential campaign of retired Gen. Wesley Clark (D), is taking the reins.

Mercado worked for Phil Maloof, the Democratic nominee in the Land of Enchantment’s 1st Congressional district in 1998. He is considered close to David Contarino, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s (D) chief of staff — who also worked for Maloof.

The Revolving Door. New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson (R) has appointed Alicia Preston as his new press secretary.

Preston comes to the governor’s office from WNDS-TV in Derry, N.H., where she was chief political reporter and then news director.

Benson’s previous press secretary, Wendell Packard, announced his resignation last week.

With Friends Like These … The Maryland Republican Party has found a novel approach to tweak one of its chief political opponents.

Republicans meeting at the state party’s semi-annual convention in Ocean City earlier this month voted to name state House Speaker Michael Busch — a Democrat — its “2004 Man of the Year.”

“The speaker has simply done so much for the Maryland Republican Party this year, we couldn’t help but recognize him for his good work on our behalf,” GOP Chairman John Kane said in a statement. “His efforts to raise taxes and foster a culture of obstructionist politics in Annapolis have done so much to strengthen the Republican tide in Maryland.”

The Republicans have made a plaque in Busch’s honor, but he will not be able to collect it, even though he is the first Democrat ever to be so honored. They plan to display it at state GOP headquarters.

Busch, who has been the state Republicans’ public enemy number one since he became the leading obstacle to Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s (R) attempts to legalize slot machines, was unfazed.

“I’m flattered, because I know they like to select people who exhibit leadership, responsibility and maturity,” the speaker told The Baltimore Sun. “Hopefully, in the future, they will be able to find members of their own party who exhibit those characteristics.”