Ben There, Done That

Posted May 18, 2005 at 6:48pm

Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker (R) has hired Ben Mitchell to run his 2006 Senate campaign.

Corker is one of four Republicans seeking to succeed retiring Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) next year.

Prior to his recent move to Chattanooga, Mitchell was a field representative at the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2004 cycle. There the George Washington University graduate handled races in South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa and most of the Southeast region.

Before his gig at the NRCC, Mitchell ran the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of Louisiana state Rep. Hunt Downer (R) in 2003.

In the 2002 cycle he managed the open-seat campaign of now-Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), who narrowly held on to win the 3rd district seat.

In 2001 he ran a Virginia House of Delegates race, and in the 2000 cycle, he did issue research at NRCC.

Do-Gooders Rewarded. A former Democratic National Committee operative has launched a federal political action committee in Pennsylvania to boost interest and competition in Democratic primaries while simultaneously giving back to local communities.

Eric Loeb, who was involved in building the DNC’s Internet capabilities and was lead software engineer for Al Gore in 2000, hopes GoodWorks-PAC.org will soon grow beyond the Keystone State.

The PAC will support Democratic candidates and then organize public service events in which the candidates can participate.

Candidates would “compete” to see who can turn out the most supporters to participate in events such as park clean-ups or public art projects. The coordinated events are to be used as trial runs for the candidates’ get out the vote operations, which Loeb hopes will then encourage more participation and eventually lead to more active primaries.

“Democrats will win by putting problem-solving over politics,” he said.

Loeb wants Democrats to dismiss the notion that they must clear the field for one nominee to be successful, and he hopes the new PAC will help accomplish that goal.

“We’ll see if it actually works,” he said.

Raising the Green for Brown. Rhode Island Secretary of State Matt Brown (D) has tapped Jonathan Lavine to be the national finance chairman of his Senate campaign.

Lavine led the Kerry/Edwards General Election Legal and Accounting Compliance fund that raised more than

$11 million last year. He also serves on the board of City Year Boston, a sister organization to City Year Rhode Island, which Brown founded.

Also joining Brown’s national finance committee is Alan Solomont, president of Solomont-Bailis Ventures; and Michael Perik, chairman of Achievement Technologies. 

Solomont previously served as national finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee, raising more than $40 million.

Solomont also has a public service record, which links him to Brown.

He served on the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, which is modeled on City Year. 

David Messer will head up Brown’s finance committee efforts in the Northeast while former Democratic National Committee Chairman David Wilhelm will lead efforts in the Midwest.

Brown raised $503,000 last quarter, making him one of the cycle’s early fundraising leaders.

He faces former Rhode Island Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse in the Democratic primary for the right to challenge Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R) next year.

Aloha. The Hawaii Republican Party selected former state Rep. Sam Aiona as chairman last weekend.

Outgoing Chairman Brennon Morioka did not seek re-election because he accepted a job within the state Department of Transportation. Aiona is the brother of Lt. Gov. James Aiona Jr. (R).

Goldman Sacks Campaign Fund Gig. The Women’s Campaign Fund has tapped Ilana Goldman to be its executive director.

Goldman most recently served as vice president of the education nonprofit DonorsChoose. Prior to that she had worked for then-Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former White House adviser David Gergen.

The bipartisan group is dedicated to electing women of all political stripes who support abortion rights. Its annual “Parties of Your Choice” dinners will be held June 15 in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and others will host individual dinner parties at their homes that night, offering candidates and supporters an opportunity to meet Goldman.

Quinter Corps. Neil Quinter (D), the Maryland state legislator who is trying to succeed Rep. Benjamin Cardin (D) in the 3rd district, is starting to assemble his campaign team.

Quinter has hired Democratic direct-mail guru Jim Crounse to do his direct mail fundraising. And he is using Colleen Martin-Lauer, one of the top Democratic consultants in Maryland, for a variety of services, including fundraising.

Read All About It. This is the opposite of what usually happens. PoliticsWNY.com, a popular Web site on politics in Western New York, has spun off into a glossy magazine.

PoliticsWNY.com, The Magazine, debuted this month with a cover story about New York state Sen. Byron Brown (D), who is hoping to make history this year by becoming Buffalo’s first black mayor. The magazine, which costs $1.95, is published by the Web site’s impresario, Joseph Illuzzi, and promises to include in-depth features not found on the Web site — which will continue generating its daily dose of political tidbits.

In a letter to readers, Editor Glen Gramigna promised that the monthly magazine would offer “the real news mixed with some straight talk, and leavened with a little rumor and some humor.”  

New Format, Same Idea. The defunct Politics In Minnesota newsletter has been reborn as PoliticsMinnesota.com.

Former Editor Sarah Janecek, along with Blois Olson, are preparing their fourth issue of the e-mail newsletter, which aims to “build Minnesota’s premier public affairs news service,” according to a note atop the latest issue. “We’ll bring you the public affairs information you cannot find anywhere else. To do that, we’ll be rolling out a series of news products.”

The first is Politics In Minnesota: The Weekly Report, which will go out on Fridays. Stay tuned for more.

Another Relaunch. PoliticsOnline.com has revamped its Web site for easier navigation and interaction.

Editor David Abel said the new site will feature Web logs from ePolitics experts, offer weekly current events polls and provide political book reviews, among other things.

Lauren W. Whittington contributed to this report.

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