On to Novick-tory!

Posted July 11, 2007 at 5:59pm

Attorney Steve Novick (D) is on the march in his upstart bid to oust Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) in 2008.

The only Democrat to have announced for the Oregon Senate race thus far, Novick now has two paid campaign workers on staff, including campaign manager Jake Weigler and finance coordinator Aviva Groner. [IMGCAP(1)]

Before joining Novick’s campaign, Weigler served as Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s (D) deputy communications director — and previously worked as the research director for both the governor’s 2006 re-election campaign and Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog group. Weigler also is a former staffer for the Democratic National Committee.

Groner previously served on the finance team of Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers’ (D) successful re-election campaign. She also worked on campaigns for city commissioner and Oregon Court of Appeals Judge.

Advising Novick on a semiformal basis at present are Oregon-based Democratic consultants Mark Wiener, Liz Kaufman and Barbara Smith Warner.

Wiener, who specializes in political messaging, direct mail and electronic media, is the principal and founder of the firm WinningMark, which has offices in Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C. Kaufman and Warner both freelance as general consultants and have a long history in Oregon Democratic politics.

School Daze. The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer by highlighting graduates who have gone on to bright careers as political operatives.

The program has grown from 24 students in a New York classroom in 1987 to offering three master’s degrees and two graduate certificates, and it now has more than 1,500 alumni from all over the world.

In January, alumnus Mo Elleithee was named senior spokesman for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign. Elleithee is a founding partner of Hilltop Public Solutions.

Alumnus Janelle Carter now serves as senior adviser and speechwriter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Previously Carter served as speechwriter for Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), then-Commerce Secretary Donald Evans and then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).

“These impressive alumni exemplify the new crop of political leaders the school has been developing throughout our 20-year history,” Dean Arterton, the dean and founder of the program, said in a statement.

The school’s programs include the bipartisan George Washington University Battleground Poll, which is conducted jointly by the Republican firm The Tarrance Group and the Democratic firm Lake Research Partners.

The program is scheduled to celebrate its 20th anniversary on July 28, with several seminars on timely political topics set to be held featuring faculty and prominent alumni.

Meanwhile, the School of Political Management, in conjunction with the National Association of Business Political Action Committees, is for the first time awarding a scholarship to an as-yet-to-be-determined student in the school’s Political Action Committee Management program.

The $3,000 scholarship will be presented prior to the fall semester and will go to a student currently enrolled in the school’s PAC graduate certificate program.

The Bloomberg Is Off the Rose. Patrick Brennan, a top aide to New York Mayor — and possible Independent presidential contender — Michael Bloomberg, has left City Hall to join a leading New York-based political consulting and lobbying shop.

Brennan has been named president for strategic communications at the Parkside Group, whose main office is just around the block from City Hall.

Brennan was commissioner for Bloomberg’s Community Assistance Unit and special assistant to the mayor and chief of staff for government affairs. He also oversaw political and field operations for Bloomberg’s landslide re-election in 2005.

Brennan also has worked for several unions and labor-backed 527 groups.

Direct Response. Response Consulting and FYI Messaging, which merged in 2005, now go by the moniker Direct Response Group LLC.

The Republican firm, with offices in Arlington, Va., and Phoenix, provides clients with strategic consulting, creative services and project execution for direct-mail, telemarketing and e-mail campaigns.

The venture is led by founding partners Chip Gately and Jack Padovano. Its clients include the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, McCain for President, the Republican State Leadership Committee, the Elizabeth Dole Committee, Friends of [Sen.] Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Friends of [Sen.] Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), among others.

McCash. John McGrath has joined Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ (R) re-election campaign as finance director.

McGrath previously worked for the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, where he served as director of programs and state relations. During the 2002 cycle, McGrath served as finance director for the Indiana GOP.

Overholser to Oversee. Geneva Overholser has been tapped to lead the board of directors of the D.C.-based Center for Public Integrity, an independent, nonprofit group that conducts investigative reporting and research on an array of topics.

Currently, Overholser holds the Curtis B. Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Reporting at the Missouri School of Journalism’s Washington, D.C., bureau.

Previously, she served as an ombudsman at The Washington Post and from 1988 to 1995 was editor of the Des Moines Register.

Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

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