Will He Pitch for the Orioles Too?

Posted March 9, 2005 at 6:16pm

Max Brown, founder of the Washington, D.C.-based advertising and public relations shop Group 360, is expanding his business into Maryland and beyond.

The former legal counsel and deputy chief of staff to Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams (D) has built a successful business lobbying City Hall and working as a consultant for D.C. candidates.

The firm has represented the Washington Baseball Club, the group of investors that worked to bring Major League Baseball back to the city and now wants to buy the franchise, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the company that oversees the city’s traffic camera program.

While The Washington Post recently examined Brown’s personal relationship with Williams and its impact on his business — the firm has won several lucrative contracts from the city while simultaneously lobbying the government on behalf of private clients — the former Carmen Group lobbyist is thriving.

Brown recently hired Bill Bucks, who last was a spokesman for the failed presidential campaign of retired Gen. Wesley Clark (D). Brown said Bucks will help him build up 360’s direct-mail and general consulting practice. One of the firm’s first new clients is the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

Last cycle 360 worked for Democratic candidates in Oklahoma and in the Midwest, and Brown is hoping to attract clients in Maryland in advance of the 2006 elections.

While Brown wants to increase his political work, businesses continue to hire him for public relations and media help too. The group is now working on behalf of Fidelity Investments in Bethesda, Md.

As the integrated strategic communications firm grows, Brown hopes to open offices in other cities, with Annapolis as a likely contender.

And Then There Were Two. It looks as if Ace Smith and Bill Carrick will be the two biggest winners among consultants in the expensive Los Angeles mayoral race.

They are the general consultants whose candidates, City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa and Mayor James Hahn, respectively, finished first and second in Tuesday’s primary and will move on to the May 17 runoff.

Both Smith and Carrick are veteran California-based Democratic strategists who have worked races all across the country.

That is not to say that John Shallman, Joe Trippi, Richie Ross and Carol Butler, who worked for the other major candidates who lost Tuesday, went home empty-handed.

The Los Angeles Times recently estimated that the top five candidates combined would end up spending $15 million on Tuesday’s election, with a healthy chunk going to their media consultants and political strategists.

Road Trip! Two Republican consultants are headed to Budapest this week to provide technical assistance to Hungary’s free-market political party, the Fedsz.

“They’re the closest thing to the Republicans over there,” said Sean Tonner, a partner in Denver-based Phase Line Strategies, who is making the trip with Rich Beeson, a former regional political director of the Republican National Committee.

Tonner said he and Beeson will talk to party leaders about get-out-the-vote operations and other strategies. The Fedsz party needs to pick up six seats in next year’s national election to take control of Parliament.

High-Flying Kise. If you’re monitoring the press coverage of the California redistricting battles these days, you may come across a familiar name from time to time: Tom Kise.

Kise, a former official at the National Republican Congressional Committee, is currently a top aide to state Sen. Abel Maldonado (R) — a rising star in Golden State politics and close ally of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).

Kise has been with Maldonado for more than a year, helping him win a seat last year in a massive state Senate district that practically runs from Santa Barbara to San Jose. Previously, Kise worked at Direct Impact with former NRCC Communications Director Steve Schmidt. He has also worked for Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and for Virginia Republicans in Richmond.

I’ll See You in Court? Chris Gates, who was ousted as Colorado Democratic Party chairman Saturday, is challenging his narrow defeat. But it isn’t yet clear whom he will direct the appeal to. He has already abandoned the idea of taking his claim that some of his proxy votes were improperly rejected to the Democratic National Committee.

Under Gates’ leadership, Democrats won a Senate seat and a House seat and took control of both houses in the Colorado Legislature last year. But Democratic activists who want the party to go in a more liberal direction seized control at Saturday’s party convention.

Pat Waak, an unsuccessful 2002 Congressional candidate, squeaked past Gates by three votes. Waak is affiliated with Mike Miles, an educator who lost the Democratic Senate nomination to then-state Attorney General Ken Salazar.

Waak’s victory is seen as a small measure of revenge for the Miles forces.

Freddy’s Fellas. The 2005 New York mayoral race continues to provide good employment for political operatives who are at loose ends — particularly Democrats.

This week, former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, added Leonard Joseph and Scott Schell to his campaign staff.

Joseph was a regional director for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2003 and 2004. A native of Jamaica, Queens, he is a former financial services director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Schell comes to Ferrer from the Brennan Center of Justice at New York University Law School, where he was director of public affairs. He also spent four years as special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee under then-Chairman Joseph Biden (D-Del.). Prior to his time on the Hill, he was general counsel for the Wexler Group.

And the WINners Are … The Women’s Information Network, a professional and social organization for young, Democratic women who support abortion rights, held its annual Young Women of Achievement dinner last month.

Five women were recognized for their accomplishments and volunteerism: Angela Arboleda, National Council of La Raza; Ashlie Bagwell, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington; Crystal Lander, Feminist Majority Foundation; Jessica Reitz, Free the Slaves; and Jamila Thompson, aide to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

The dinner at the Woman’s National Democratic Club featured a keynote address by Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.).

A Sad Note. John Thomas Stewart, a senior vice president of National Media Inc., died Feb. 21 of a heart attack.

The New Orleans native would have turned 44 on Feb. 23.

He planned and managed print and radio media-buying strategies for hundreds of major federal and gubernatorial political campaigns, including the Bush/Cheney 2000 and 2004 campaigns. At the time of his death he was starting his own firm, Stewart Axcess Media.

Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

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