The Grass(roots) Is Greener

Posted September 21, 2005 at 5:49pm

Kevin O’Neill is uprooting himself from his post as executive director at the American Association of Political Consultants to sow seeds for Grassroots Enterprise.

The public affairs shop specializes in Internet strategy and technology for nonprofit, Fortune 500 and political clients.

The bipartisan firm has worked with a diverse collection of clients, including MoveOn.org, the National Rifle Association, the Christian Coalition and the Draft Wesley Clark movement, according to its Web site.

O’Neill’s successor at AAPC, Martha Lockwood, assumes her executive director responsibilities Oct. 3.

Lockwood previously served as executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Mobile Electronics Association. Prior to that, she was executive vice president of the Association of Telemessaging Services International.

Sullivan’s Travels. Terry Sullivan was recently named a regional political director at the National Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Sullivan, who started at the beginning of September, will cover a broad swath of territory in his new post. His portfolio includes Senate races in Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia.

Most recently, Sullivan was campaign manager for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who had been weighing a primary challenge to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) until she abruptly changed course and announced her re-election bid in June.

Before that, Sullivan was campaign manager for now-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in 2004, guiding the then-Congressman through a heated primary and runoff and then to victory in the open seat last November.

Prior to joining DeMint’s team Sullivan partnered with Heath Thompson, who managed George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign in South Carolina, to run a consulting firm, Cresent Creative.

During the 2000 cycle, he was the state director and campaign manager for Steve Forbes’ presidential bid in South Carolina.

Morrison Hotel. Montana Auditor John Morrison (D) has begun assembling his team as he seeks the right to challenge Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) next year.

Morrison has again tapped Dixon/Davis Media Group, which handled communications strategy and advertising for Morrison’s two successful auditor races.

Dixon/Davis is also working with Missouri Auditor Claire McCaskill (D), who is challenging Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) next year.

The duo has worked for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Governor’s Association, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D).

On the polling front, Harrison Hickman of the Global Strategy Group has been retained. Hickman has polled for numerous clients, including Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) as well as then-Sens. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.).

On the Morrow. California state Sen. Bill Morrow, one of three Republicans currently in the race to replace retiring Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.), was in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with party leaders and interest groups. But he is just beginning to put together a consulting team.

Morrow has hired Joe Justin, of the Sacramento-based Justin Co., as his general consultant. Justin has worked on Morrow’s legislative races and — according to Morrow — has never lost a race in the San Diego area. Arlington, Va.-based Keelen Communications has also been hired for a variety of tasks.

Morrow said he does not plan to hire a campaign manager until closer to the June 2006 primary.

“I’m not going to burden the campaign with a lot of overhead at this point,” he said.

Pillow Talk. When American University history professor Allan Lichtman (D) becomes a candidate for the open Maryland Senate seat next week, his wife, Karyn Strickler, will be one of his principal advisers.

But Strickler will not be a typical spouse or arm-chair expert. She is a bona fide political strategist in her own right.

Strickler’s résumé includes a stint as director of the Maryland chapter of NARAL Pro Choice America; as executive director of the National Endangered Species Coalition; and as founder of an international organization called Fifty Plus One, which teaches women who support abortion rights the campaign skills needed to run for political office.

Robert’s Rules of Order. Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez has tapped a campaign manager in his bid for Idaho’s open 1st district House seat.

Ronalee Linsenmann, president of the Canyon County Republican Women’s organization, was selected.

By the Time I Get to Phoenix. The former head of the Arizona Republican Party has begun a new 527, Political Money Line reported this week.

Nathan Sproul, who also previously headed the Arizona Christian Coalition, registered Strong Leadership for American Inc. on Tuesday.

“The group’s stated purpose is ‘issue advocacy promoting limited government and fiscal responsibility,” the Web site reported.

Sproul’s consulting firm, Sproul & Associates, oversaw voter registration drives in swing states during the 2004 election and was paid $7.8 million by the Republican National Committee for work in the 2004 cycle. The Arizona Republican Party paid the firm $70,000 during the cycle, Political Money Line noted.

New Home. 21st Century Democrats has moved.

The group, which seeks “to build a Democratic farm team by working to elect progressive candidates at all levels of government,” according to its Web site, is hosting a reception Wednesday to show off its new Connecticut Avenue digs.

For more information, contact Alex Mullineaux at alex@21stdems.org.

Nancy’s News. Nancy Pfotenhauer announced that after five years she will step down as head of the Independent Women’s Forum, once a successor is found.

The Independent Women’s Forum “was established to combat the women-as-victim, pro-big-government ideology of radical feminism. We seek to restore, strengthen, and extend that which promotes women’s well being by advancing the principles of self-reliance, political freedom, economic liberty, and personal responsibility,” according to its Web site.

Sam I Am. Failed Congressional candidate Samara Barend (D) has been tapped to join an engineering consulting firm and to work on a $2.9 billion transportation bond referendum in New York.

Barend, who lost to now-Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.) last year, was named manager of policy and government affairs at STV.

STV is an architectural and engineering consulting firm that specializes in transportation and infrastructure projects.

STV is pushing the New York State Transportation Bond Act, which is on the November ballot.

Barend previously spearheaded a campaign that led to the conversion of New York Route 17 into Interstate 86.

Josh Kurtz and Lauren W. Whittington contributed to this report.