It’s Miller Time for Allen’s Re-election Campaign
Jason Miller has been tapped to head the 2006 re-election campaign of Sen. George Allen (R-Va.).
Miller comes to Allen — a possible 2008 presidential contender — after a string of electoral successes.
He was a consultant for newly elected Republican Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Mel Martinez (Fla.). He was also campaign manager for the aborted Senate campaign of Illinois businessman Jack Ryan — who won, then surrendered, the GOP nomination amid scandal.
Miller also managed Rep. Ric Keller’s (R-Fla.) 2000 campaign and then served as his chief of staff until 2003.
Strategic Hire. American Strategies, a Columbus, Ohio-based consulting firm, has named Kari Lynch as its new fundraising director.
Lynch previously operated her own fundraising company. Prior to that, she was the finance director for the Ohio Republican Party. She also spent five years working for Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (R).
Paying the Pieper. Michael Pieper has taken a leave of absence from his position as director of Nevada’s federal lobbying office to be executive director of the Republican Governors Association.
Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn recently took over the reins of RGA, which he will head up for a year.
Pieper previously served as chief of staff to then-Rep. Barbara Vucanovich (R-Nev.). He will be replaced in the Silver State’s two-person federal office by Ashley Carrigan.
Pieper’s small firm, Michael Pieper and Associates, runs the lobbying shop through a state contract.
Musical Chairs. State parties across the country are in the midst of the ritual post-election changing of the guard.
Arizona: David Wade — no, not the longtime staffer for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) — is the new executive director of the state Democratic Party. He’s a veteran of New York politics, having served most recently as deputy chief of staff to New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D).
The previous executive director, Paul Hegarty, has taken a job with the Arizona Commerce Department.
Taking over as communications director for the party is Janet Meza. Meza worked in the party’s Tucson office during the previous election cycle and is also an alumna of former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez’s (D-Texas) staff. She replaces Sarah Rosen, a former Capitol Hill staffer who has returned to Washington, D.C.
Businessman Jim Pederson, who is weighing a run for Senate in 2006, is expected to be re-elected state Democratic Party chairman.
Arkansas: State Sen. Gilbert Baker was elected chairman of the state Republican Party, succeeding Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller.
Connecticut: Former Bridgeport school administrator Nancy DiNardo defeated former Rep. Jim Maloney to lead the state Democratic Party. DiNardo, who led the Trumbull town government for 20 years, becomes the first woman to hold such a post in Connecticut.
She succeeds George Jepsen, a former state Senate Majority Leader.
Florida: Chairman Scott Maddox survived a challenge from state committeeman Doug Courtney to remain leader of the Sunshine State’s Democrats. The former Tallahassee mayor was initially elected in January 2003 after Democrats’ poor performance in the 2002 elections forced then-Chairman Bob Poe to resign.
Illinois: Former U.S. Senate candidate and Glenview businessman Andy McKenna Jr. has been selected to head the fractured Illinois GOP. He replaces state Treasurer Judy Baar-Topinka, who will step down at month’s end.
He bested four other candidates, including two former Senate candidates, a former Congressional candidate and the state party co-chairman.
McKenna’s term begins Feb. 1 and runs through the spring of 2006.
Kentucky: Bluegrass Democrats have chosen an ethically challenged former state Representative to head up the party.
State leaders were reportedly torn over the selection of Jerry Lundergan, who had numerous scandals in his past, including charges of cronyism, and his selection seems to have fractured the party.
Former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear resigned as the party’s general counsel in protest.
Lundergan replaces Chairman Bill Gramer, who stepped down.
Louisiana: A CEO has taken the helm of the Cajun Democratic Party.
Jim Bernhard, CEO of the Shaw Group, was unanimously elected earlier this month. State Sen. Don Cravins, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year, dropped out of the race at the last minute, giving the confidant of Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) a clear shot at heading the party.
Former Chairman Mike Skinner left his post early after leading the party during an embarrassing time — former Rep. David Vitter became the first Republican since Reconstruction to win a Senate seat in Louisiana in November.
Maine: Former state House Speaker Patrick Colwell beat out two competitors to become chairman of the state Democratic Party.
He will serve a two-year term and replaces Dorothy Melanson, who did not seek re-election.
Maryland: Former Congressional nominee Terry Lierman has been selected to lead the Free State’s Democratic Party. He replaces Ike Leggett, who presided over the party after it lost the governor’s mansion in 2002 for the first time since Spiro Agnew lived there.
New York: Ryan Moses has been tapped to manage the Empire State Republican Party under new Chairman Stephen Minarik III.
Moses has bounced from the party to the staff of Gov. George Pataki (R) and back and will now serve as executive director.
Many top party staffers left for Pataki administration jobs after Sandy Treadwell surrendered his chairmanship early.
Tennessee: Bob Davis, an aide to then-Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), has been tapped to replace state Rep. Beth Harwell as head of the state GOP.
Harwell is stepping down to run for the Senate in 2006, when Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has said he will not seek another term.
Davis served as deputy chairman to Harwell.
And the Winners Are … Forget about the Oscars. The American Association of Political Consultants last week handed out the Pollies, the awards distributed to political consultants for their best work in 2004.
For a full list of the scores of winners, visit the association’s Web site, www.theaapc.org.
Political Confab. The Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet is hosting its 12 Politics Online Conference March 10-11 at George Washington University.
Speakers include Ken Mehlman, Republican National Committee chairman and Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign manager; Joe Trippi, Dean for America’s one-time campaign manager; Ellen Malcolm, president of America Coming Together; and Greg Spiridellis, co-founder of JibJab Media.
Prices go up for reservations taken after Feb. 1. For more information, go to www.ipdi.org/politicsonline.
Sad News. Judi Scioli, a veteran communications specialist who served a variety of politicians and public institutions in Maryland, most notably as press secretary to former Gov. Parris Glendening (D) for two years, died last week in Philadelphia after a long bout with cancer. She was 59.