Eye on Florida

Posted June 2, 2004 at 6:52pm

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced Wednesday that it has opened a communications office in Florida in advance of the August Senate primary, similar to an operation it launched in Illinois several months before that state’s primary.

Floridian Alan Stonecipher will be communications director for the effort to keep the seat of retiring Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.).

Stonecipher was the director of communications for businessman Bill McBride’s (D) unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2002 and has been doing communications and public policy consulting since then.

Prior to his work for McBride, Stonecipher worked in numerous campaigns in the South, including Graham’s 1992 re-election effort. He is also a former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party.

Ryan Expressway. Bill Pascoe, a former Republican National Committee spokesman and veteran of other political campaigns, started a gig in mid-May as communications director for Jack Ryan, the Republican Senate nominee in Illinois.

In addition to serving as RNC press secretary in 2000, Pascoe has spent much of his career working in New Jersey. He was a key aide to former Jersey City Mayor Brett Schundler (R) in his unsuccessful bid for Garden State governor in 2001, and was communications director for Doug Forrester, New Jersey’s GOP nominee for Senate in 2002.

Earlier this year, Pascoe signed on to work for Rep. David Vitter’s (R-La.) campaign for Senate. But that full time gig was reduced to a consulting position, so Pascoe opted to move to Chicago full-time instead.

Ryan, a former investment banker who became a high school teacher, is waging an uphill fight against state Sen. Barack Obama (D) in the race to replace retiring Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.).

Saulling the Candidate to the Voters. Karen Saull, the anti-tax activist who is running a campaign for the Republican Senate nomination in Florida largely funded by her wealthy husband, this week hired Rick Wilson of Intrepid Media to serve as a strategic communications adviser.

Wilson has worked for several well-known politicians, including Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R) and now-Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) when she was running for secretary of state in the Sunshine State.

Intrepid Media’s associate political director Dina Fraioli, a specialist at identifying and motivating non-traditional voter groups, will also join the Saull campaign effort.

Saull was a late entry into the crowded Republican Senate field but appears to have enough money at her disposal to make the contest very interesting.

Eric and Erin, Communications Gurus. Two new communications staffers are joining Rep. George Nethercutt’s (R-Wash.) campaign for Senate.

Eric Cullen will serve as press secretary. He be the campaign’s traveling spokesman and primary contact for local media.

Cullen previously served as campaign director for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Before joining that campaign, he was editor in chief of the Badger Herald, one of the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s two student dailies.

Erin Coghlan will serve as communications assistant, working on media relations and radio/TV scheduling. Coghlan previously served in the press department of Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), both in his Washington, D.C. and St. Paul offices.

Taking a Sheinkopf to Boyland. New York City Councilwoman Tracy Boyland (D), who is preparing to challenge Rep. Major Owens (D-N.Y.) in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, has hired veteran political strategist Hank Sheinkopf as a consultant to her campaign, the Courier Life Newspapers of Brooklyn reported last week.

Sheinkopf becomes the second New York political veteran to become involved in the 11th district House primary. Josh Isay, a former chief of staff to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), is advising another Owens challenger, City Councilwoman Yvette Clarke (D).

Hamel’s Helpers. In recent weeks, Republican Brian Hamel, an economic development official who is vying to unseat first-term Rep. Mike Michaud (D) in Maine’s 2nd Congressional district has drafted a handful of seasoned aides — including a pair of Vermonters — to assist in his effort.

Finance Director Darcie Johnston — whose past clients have included Kevin Raye, the 2002 GOP nominee in the district, comes to the Hamel operation after years of experience in the political and fundraising consulting business. She has also worked for President Bush and the Republican National Committee.

Heading Hamel’s media effort as communications director is Ric Tyler, a veteran Maine TV and radio broadcaster, and the former anchor of WLBZ-TV, an NBC affiliate in Bangor.

 Finally, Ben Golnik, former executive director of the Vermont Republican Party, has joined as campaign manager. Golnik, who is an alumnus of the office of Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), started work on Tuesday.

The Price is Right. Todd Schnick, a former executive director of the Georgia and Nevada Republican parties, will become the communications coordinator for Georgia state Sen. Tom Price (R), who is seeking to replace Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who is running for Senate.

Schnick has also worked for Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and has been the political director of the Florida Republican Party.

Price is one of the leading contenders in the crowded Republican primary in the suburban Atlanta district. The GOP primary is July 20, with a runoff set for Aug. 10 if no candidate reaches 50 percent.

Georgia on Their Minds. Entrepreneur Cliff Oxford, who is seeking the Democratic Senate nomination in Georgia, is putting together his campaign team.

Beth Cope, the former director of NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia, came on board as deputy campaign manager on Tuesday. She also founded her own media strategy company, TalkingHeadsMediaInc.

Cope joins campaign manager Kevin Ross, communications director Angelo Fuster, pollster Alan Secrest and media consultant David Doak on the Oxford team. Oxford is competing for the Democratic nomination against Rep. Denise Majette.

No Joke. Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.), one of three Democrats seeking the Senate nomination in Florida this year, has turned to a former Hollywood joke and screenwriter to be his campaign press secretary.

According to The Associated Press, Deutsch has hired Roy Teicher, whose credits include “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, “Newhart” and “Mork & Mindy.”

“I hope I can make it a little bit easier for people to see the side of Peter that is relaxed, amusing, comfortable and self-effacing,” said Teicher, a high school classmate of Deutsch’s who went into journalism after his Hollywood career.

Said the Congressman, who by most accounts is running second right now in the Democratic race: “If nothing else, we’ll have better jokes than anyone else.”

Bree Hocking contributed to this report.