Special Needs

Posted May 16, 2007 at 6:31pm

Leading Democrats in the special election to replace the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D) in California’s 37th district have begun staffing up for the June 26 contest, with at least two of the leading candidates hiring a mixture of Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles-based operatives for key campaign duties. [IMGCAP(1)]

State Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D) has given a large portion of her campaign’s responsibilities to Los Angeles-based Democratic consultant Parke Skelton, of SG&A Campaigns. Skelton, a veteran of Oropeza’s campaigns for the Legislature, is handling general, media, mail and field-operation consulting.

D.C.-based Greenberg Quinlan Rosner has been tapped for polling, while Sacramento, Calif.-based Bertolina and Associates is in charge of fundraising, with Stephanie Daily directing the effort in Southern California.

State Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (D) has tapped a mixture of local and D.C.-area consultants as well, including L.A.-based John Shallman, who will handle direct-mail duties and serve as general consultant.

Meanwhile, Steve Murphy, of Washington-based Murphy Putnam Media,

was hired as Richardson’s media consultant, while Michael Fraioli, who also is based in the District, is spearheading the assemblywoman’s D.C. fundraising efforts.

John Fairbank, of L.A.-based Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, is doing Richardson’s polling, with Anthony Thigpenn serving as her field director and Derek Humphrey handling press.

Thigpenn recently directed field operations for now-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, while Humphrey spent the previous cycle handling similar duties for the re-election campaign of Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.).

Valerie McDonald (D), the daughter of Millender-McDonald, also is considered one of the leading candidates in this race. But her campaign could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

If the winner of the June 26 special open primary does not garner more than 50 percent of the vote, the top vote-getter from each political party will proceed to an Aug. 21 runoff.

Dean’s List. Former state Assemblyman Dean Andal (R), who is running to challenge Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) in California’s 11th district, has hired McNally Temple Associates to direct his campaign.

McNally Temple Associates, a Republican consulting firm based in Sacramento, Calif., also advises Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), who narrowly won re-election in the previous cycle in the 4th district over police administrator Charlie Brown (D).

Andal is hoping to reclaim the 11th district for Republicans. The seat fell to Democrats in November when McNerney ousted then-Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R), who announced last week he would not be a candidate for elected office in 2008.

“We’re obviously optimistic at this point, but we’ll see how it plays out,” lead Andal consultant Richard Temple said Wednesday.

Land o’ Lakes. Mike Ciresi, a Democratic Senate candidate in Minnesota, has hired Celinda Lake as his pollster.

Lake has recent experience in Minnesota, as she polled in the previous cycle for now-Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and was former Rep. Bill Luther’s (D-Minn.) longtime pollster.

Ciresi, an attorney, is battling for the Democratic nomination with comedian and radio talk-show host Al Franken, with the winner moving on to face Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) in the general election.

Meanwhile, Walz has tapped St. Joseph Mayor Richard Carlbom (D) as his political director. Carlbom, who is resigning as mayor, also has been serving as a field director for the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

Walz, who ousted then-Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.) in the 1st district last year, could face a tough fight for re-election in 2008.

Meagan’s Law. Meagan Mahaffey has taken over as executive director of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

Previously, Mahaffey served as political director for Citizen Action of Wisconsin, advised Rep. Gwen Moore’s (D-Wis.) successful 2004 campaign, and worked on Kathleen Falk’s (D) failed 2002 gubernatorial bid.

Also, the party has hired Mike Tate to serve as a general consultant. Tate recently advised Gov. Jim Doyle’s (D) re-election campaign.

On Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Republican Party has elected Reince Priebus to be its chairman, making the 35-year-old party activist the youngest person to ever hold the position.

Fostering a Democratic Resurgence. Idaho journalist John Foster has jumped to the dark side, agreeing to assume the job of executive director for the Idaho Democratic Party.

Foster, the former managing editor of the Idaho Business Review, replaces Maria Weeg, who has taken a similar position with the Arizona Democratic Party. Democrats have their work cut out for them in Idaho, as they failed to gain ground there in 2006 despite the problems plaguing Republicans nationally.