Hal’s Help

Posted July 25, 2007 at 6:12pm

Palm Beach City Councilman Hal Valeche, one of a contingent of Republicans hoping to retake Florida’s 16th district for the GOP, has brought on Rick Asnani to advise him on grass-roots organizing and fundraising. [IMGCAP(1)]

Asnani, a Republican consultant based in West Palm Beach, Fla., knows the 16th district well, as he previously raised money for former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.). Rounding out Valeche’s political team are a cadre of advisers based outside of Florida, including the councilman’s media and direct-mail consultants and his pollster.

Rex Elsass and Bob Kish, of The Strategy Group for Media, were signed in February as Valeche’s media consultants. Elsass founded the Columbus, Ohio-based Republican firm, while Kish serves as one of the company’s vice presidents.

Brad Shattuck, of the Lexington, Ky.-based Republican firm Strategic Impact, is handling Valeche’s direct-mail effort. Shattuck in the past has advised Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) and the Kentucky Republican Party, among others.

Hans Kaiser, of Moore Information, is Valeche’s pollster. Moore Information is headquartered in Portland, Ore. But Kaiser handles most of the firm’s East Coast clients and is based in Annapolis, Md.

Foley represented the 16th district for nearly 12 years, resigning in the fall in the wake of allegations that he behaved inappropriately toward Congressional pages. Asnani raised money for Foley in the 1990s and also corralled cash for the Republican in 2003 for the then-Congressman’s aborted 2004 Senate bid.

The Last Laff. Former Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey (R) has written a book that purports to reveal how the GOP establishment mortally wounded itself by helping then-incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee beat him in Rhode Island’s 2006 Republican Senate primary.

“Primary Mistake: How the Republican Establishment Lost Everything in 2006 (and Sabotaged my Senatorial Campaign)” is Laffey’s tome on one of the most hard-fought primary contests of 2006.

In that race, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee both came to the aid of Chafee, who went on to lose the general election to now-Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

High Voltage. Wealthy trial attorney Mikal Watts (D), who is running for Senate in Texas, is still in the process of hiring the consulting team he hopes will lead him to victory in his first run for public office.

He has brought on Kim Devlin as his communications director.

Devlin already has begun helping Watts in his effort to outflank potential Democratic primary opponent, state Rep. Rick Noriega, and tear down incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Devlin, a native Texan, is a freelance Democratic communications consultant. She previously advised Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) during his 2006 primary battle with then-Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii), as well as the majority Democratic Caucus of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

Devlin also worked for Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi (D) last year in his losing gubernatorial bid in New York. Suozzi lost the Democratic primary to now-Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

True to Form. The Mack/Crounse Group, a Democratic direct-mail firm, has hired Scott Truesdale as vice president, creative.

Previously, Truesdale served as a senior creative executive at MSHC Partners, also a Democratic direct-mail firm.

Mack/Crounse has offices in the Washington, D.C., area and Tallahassee, Fla.

Strategery. The Republican National Committee has revamped the team responsible for managing its data operations, inserting Bill Steiner as director of strategy and Chad Barth and Dan Perkins as his deputies.

Steiner’s responsibilities include managing the RNC’s national voter file and Voter Vault, the committee’s highly touted micro-targeting operation that assists field directors and grass-roots volunteers who engage in the GOP’s sophisticated nationwide ground-game effort.

Steiner has served as deputy director of strategy since 2005 and is an RNC veteran of three presidential cycles.

Barth will serve as deputy strategy director for political technologies, while Perkins will serve as deputy strategy director for list development.

Barth has been with the RNC since 2003, serving most recently as director of Voter Vault. Perkins has been with the committee since 1991 and has been responsible for acquiring voter lists since 1998.

The Red Coats Are Coming. Two veteran Republican communications operatives have joined forces to form Revere Strategy Group, with offices in D.C. and Chicago.

Although Revere’s founding partners, Curt Mercadante and Randy Skoglund, have retained some GOP clients, the main thrust of their company will revolve around servicing nonpartisan, corporate, advocacy and nonprofit clients.

Their current client roster includes the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Civil Justice League, among others.

Both Mercadante and Skoglund are veterans of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Capitol Hill.

Skoglund most recently served as vice president and executive director of the National Chamber Foundation, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce think tank. On Capitol Hill he worked for former GOP Reps. Mark Kennedy (Minn.) and Phil Crane (Ill.).

Mercadante most recently served as director of political and state affairs the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform. On Capitol Hill, he worked for former Rep. Greg Ganske (R-Iowa) and Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.).

Please send news of developments in the political industry here.