So You Think You Can Be a Republican Media Strategist?

Posted October 31, 2007 at 6:20pm

The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a contest asking GOP activists from across the country to help the committee craft a message it can use to hit the Democrats. [IMGCAP(1)]

Phase one of the contest involved development of a “new media” slogan describing, as the Republicans see it, the Democrats’ failed record since they assumed control of Congress following the 2006 elections. The slogan chosen as the winner in that contest: “Has the Democratic Congress worked for you?”

Phase two, which runs through Nov. 25, involves a contest to find the best Internet video ad to be used by the NRCC and played on YouTube. The video must be based on the slogan chosen in the first contest.

“We are always getting feedback from supporters across the country. A lot of them are just plain fed up with the direction the Democrats are moving this country,” said Josh Shultz, communications director of new media at the NRCC. “It’s a perfect opportunity for the American people to creatively express their frustrations with the Democratic Congress.”

Before coming to the NRCC, Shultz, 29, spent five years working in the communications office of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). Shultz also served as field director and director of new media on DeLay’s last campaign, the 2006 GOP primary in which the Texan won a four-way contest with 60 percent of the vote.

At the NRCC, his duties include carrying the committee’s message to the blogosphere, as well as handling content, editing, design and video production for its Web site.

While the NRCC searches for the winner of its video contest, it is posting the various entries on YouTube. The contest has apparently caught the eye of some Democratic bloggers at the popular Daily Kos Web site.

“What really kills me,” wrote one Daily Kos diarist on Oct. 18, “is that these are some of the most popular ads on YouTube. We need some type of counter to this. This is downright slander and I would sue the NRCC if I was [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman] Chris Van Hollen [Md.]. I am sick of seeing good people being lied about and I feel that I must do something about it.”

The angry diarist continued: “I just wanna take that [NRCC Chairman] Tom Cole [Okla.] and bash his head right in.”

All the Mayor’s Men. Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez, running for the Democratic Senate nomination in New Mexico and hoping to replace retiring Sen. Pete Domenici (R) in 2008, has

hired a full slate of consultants to advise his campaign, including three firms that have advised Gov. Bill Richardson (D) in his previous campaigns.

The inclusion of Richardson advisers on the Chávez campaign could signal that the governor does not intend to reverse his decision to focus on his 2008 presidential bid and stay out of the Senate race. Chávez is running against wealthy developer Don Wiviott in the Democratic primary.

“We have put together a strong campaign team with the experience and proven ability to communicate Marty Chávez’ positive vision for the future,” Chávez campaign manager Mark Fleisher said in a statement. “ We are excited and moving forward at a rapid clip.”

Fleisher served as campaign manager to Chávez during his successful mayoral bid in 2005, and previously served as chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party while living in the Grand Canyon State.

The firms on board with Chávez that have in the past been aligned with Richardson include Brown Inc.; the Mack Crounse Group; and A. Gutierrez & Associates Inc.

Brown Inc., run by Chris Brown, is a media consulting and media buying firm based in Santa Fe, N.M. In addition to Richardson, Brown’s clients have included the campaigns of Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), not to mention numerous Democratic presidential candidates. He is a 35-year veteran of Democratic politics, and managed the New Hampshire presidential primary for an obscure former governor of Georgia named Jimmy Carter.

The Mack Crounse Group, which has offices in Washington and Tallahassee, Fla., is advising Chávez on direct mail.

A. Gutierrez & Associates Inc. has been hired by Chávez to consult for him on Hispanic outreach and utilizing the Hispanic media.

AGA, a Democratic firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Albuquerque, has advised clients such as the Democratic National Committee; the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; and Bingaman.

Additionally, Chávez’s team includes McMahon Squier Lapp and Associates, and Lake Research Partners.

McMahon Squier Lapp and Associates, based in Washington, D.C., is handling media consulting for Chávez. The firm’s principals include Mark Squier, John Lapp, Tom Ochs and Kristen McMahon.

Washington-based Lake Research Partners, headed by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, is handling Chávez’s polling.

Chávez’s team is rounded out by the Bonner Group and Blackrock Associates.

Fundraising consultant Bhavna Pandit, a vice president at the D.C. Democratic fundraising firm the Bonner Group, is overseeing the growth of Chávez’s war chest.

Blackrock Associates, run by Brent Blackaby and Larry Huynh, are informing Chávez’s Internet strategy. Blackrock, based in Berkeley, Calif., focuses on advising Democratic campaigns and nonprofit organizations.

Among the firm’s clients: 2004 presidential candidate Wesley Clark (D); and Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer (Calif.); Dick Durbin (Ill.); Tim Johnson (S.D.); Mary Landrieu (La.); Patrick Leahy (Vt.); and Jim Webb (Va.).

On to Novick-Tory — an Update. Upstart Oregon Senate candidate Steve Novick (D) has added Liz Kimmerly to his campaign, hiring her as online director.

Kimmerly has previously worked for the United Nations, helping conduct the first free elections in Afghanistan and East Timor, and more recently was online campaign coordinator for CODEPINK.

Novick is battling Oregon state House Speaker Jeff Merkley for the Democratic nomination and the right to face Sen. Gordon Smith (R). The Democratic establishment is behind Merkley, and has basically ignored Novick since he became the first Democrat to announce for the race.

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