Brother, Can You Spare a Press Secretary?

Posted September 15, 2004 at 6:09pm

Editor’s Note: With this installment, the Shop Talk column goes on hiatus until sometime after the election. The Out There column will appear in this space every Thursday that Roll Call publishes, through Election Day. With Roll Call’s publishing schedule for October largely dictated by the Congressional schedule, stay tuned for further details.

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) has helped New York state Assemblyman Brian Higgins (D) in myriad ways since Higgins jumped into the race to replace retiring Rep. Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.).

Now that Higgins is the newly minted Democratic nominee in the Buffalo-area race, based on his solid showing in the Democratic primary Tuesday, Crowley has loaned Higgins his press secretary. Suzanne Anziska is taking a leave of absence from her Capitol Hill job to work for Higgins during the next seven weeks.

Let’s Kill All the Lawyers. If some of the attacks this year on Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, the Democratic nominee for Senate, sound familiar, it may be because his Republican opponent, brewing mogul Pete Coors, is using Walt Klein as a general consultant.

Klein, who runs a Denver advertising agency, has worked for several Colorado GOP contenders in the past, including Sen. Wayne Allard in his 2002 rematch with former U.S. Attorney Tom Strickland (D). In that campaign, Allard and his allies successfully painted Strickland as a “lawyer-lobbyist” — and they are trying to stick a similar label on Salazar.

Salazar, however, was never a trial attorney; he was a land-use lawyer before joining then-Colorado Gov. Roy Romer’s (D) Cabinet. He was elected attorney general in 1998.

Oklahoma, OK. Rick Buchanan isn’t holding any grudges. After serving as the chief spokesman for former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys’ (R) failed Senate campaign, Buchanan is now indirectly working for the man who defeated Humphreys in the July GOP primary.

He has become the front man for Oklahoma Victory 2004, an organization set up by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to elect former Rep. Tom Coburn to the Senate this fall. Coburn is squaring off against Rep. Brad Carson (D) in one of the cycle’s marquee Senate contests.

Refugee Camp.The refugees from party-switching Rep. Rodney Alexander’s (R-La.) office are beginning to land.

One of them, former Chief of Staff Brian Smoot, is now in Pennsylvania running Democratic lawyer Ginny Schrader’s campaign for Congress.

Schrader was considered a long shot in the Philadelphia-area 8th district until incumbent Rep. James Greenwood (R) announced his surprise retirement in July. Schrader is now facing Bucks County Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick (R), and national Democrats are hoping to make the race competitive.

Mission Accomplished? Just before her GOP primary victory last month, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski lost her finance director.

The Alaska Daily News reported that Curtis Thayer left the campaign to return to Enstar as the company’s external affairs and government relations liaison. Lana Johnson has taken over much of his former duties, though Thayer will remain with the Murkowski campaign as a volunteer.

Murkowski is now in a too-close-to-call contest with former Gov. Tony Knowles (D).

Shepherd-ing the Message. Kate Shepherd, a veteran broadcast journalist in Indiana, has been hired as the new communications director for Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita (R).

Shepherd most recently worked as a senior anchor and reporter for Network Indiana, a radio network. She has worked for several Hoosier State radio and TV stations.

Shepherd replaces Cam Savage, who left Rokita’s staff earlier this year to serve as campaign manager for Erie County (N.Y.) Comptroller Nancy Naples, the Republican candidate in the race to replace Quinn.

Comeback Kid. Tom Carroll, former executive director of the New Mexico Republican Party who lost his job in a staff putsch earlier this year, is now heading up a committee seeking to get a bond measure passed in Albuquerque in November that would enable more street construction, according to state politics Web log of Joe Monahan.

Carroll has an interesting history. He worked as a Democratic consultant in Washington state before moving to New Mexico in the early 1990s. He worked for Democratic candidates and causes when he first landed in Santa Fe, spent some time working in real estate, then re-emerged as a Republican operative.

Calling All Players. Already second-guessing the Bush and Kerry campaigns? Think you could do a better job?

Time to play “Landslide,” a new board game that allows two to six players to be presidential campaign managers.

Created by four friends from Minnesota, “Landslide” enables players to choose candidates, issues and scenarios and watch a presidential campaign unfold. The game employs historical data, facts and events to guide the players.

“Landslide” retails for $29.95. For more information, check www.playlandslide.com.