Emanuel’s Appointment Made Official
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) formally named Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Sunday, even as the three other party committees continued to staff up.
Emanuel, who was elected to a second term in November from his Chicago-area district, takes over the DCCC from the late Rep. Robert Matsui (Calif.). Matsui passed away on New Year’s Day after a short battle with a bone marrow disease.
“Rahm is a master strategist with the expertise and passion to build on the foundation that our dear friend Bob Matsui built during the last two years,” Pelosi said.
Emanuel is the last of the four committee heads to be named, a delay due in part to Matsui’s death.
New York Rep. Tom Reynolds was unanimously re-elected in December as the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee and quickly moved to retain the senior staff that helped the GOP grow its majority in 2004.
Sally Vastola will again serve as executive director; Mike McElwain, Carl Forti and Tara Snow will reprise their roles as political director, communications director and finance director, respectively. Jonathan Poe, who served as national field director in the 2004 cycle, will be deputy political director this cycle.
On the Senate side, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) has lured Phil Singer away from Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (Nev.) office to serve as communications director at the committee, according to several informed sources.
Singer had served as Schumer’s communications director for four years before joining the rapid response team for Sen. John Kerry’s (Mass.) presidential campaign. He joined Reid’s “war room” press shop in late 2004.
J.B. Poersch, longtime chief of staff to Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.), was named the DSCC’s executive director in December.
Poersch’s counterpart at the National Republican Senatorial Committee is Mark Stephens, a longtime campaign aide for North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole.
Blaise Hazelwood is the new campaign and media director at the NRSC. Hazelwood served as political director at the Republican National Committee in the 2002 cycle. In that position she headed up the “72 Hour Program,” the vaunted Republican turnout effort.
Brian Nick, Dole’s current communications director in her Senate office, is moving to take over as press secretary at the committee.