Politicalinks Another Candidate

Posted March 5, 2008 at 6:22pm

Politicalink, a Republican direct-mail firm with offices in Richmond, Va., and Washington, D.C., has inked state Sen. Steve Scalise (R), a candidate to replace Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) in Louisiana’s 1st district, as a client.

Politicalink was launched in early 2007 by Republican operatives Martin Baker, Greg Capelli and Ben Mitchell.

Also advising Scalise in his bid to win the Saturday special primary to replace Jindal is pollster Gene Ulm of the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies. Additionally, Republican operatives Jason Hebert and Scott Hobbs, partners in The Political Firm, are advising Scalise on media and acting as his general consultants.

I Wish They All Could Be California Girls. Karen Hanretty has been hired to replace Jessica Boulanger as communications director at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

[IMGCAP(1)]Hanretty is based in D.C., but built her political career as a Republican operative in California.

Among other jobs, she served as press secretary for then-state Senate Minority Leader Jim Brulte (R), deputy communications director and later communications director of the California Republican Party, and press secretary for now-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) during his 2003 gubernatorial recall campaign.

Since relocating from Sacramento to the District, Hanretty has advised various clients. But her most noteworthy position of late was working as deputy communications director for the presidential campaign of former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.).

Boulanger left the NRCC late last month to join Prism Public Affairs as executive vice president.

McClintock, Stock and Barrel. State Sen. Tom McClintock (R) is running to replace retiring Rep. John Doolittle (R) in California’s GOP-leaning 4th district, and he’s depending on his longtime team of advisers — almost all of them based in the Golden State — to lead him to victory.

John Feliz is acting as McClintock’s chief consultant, Bill Criswell is his lead media consultant, Igor Birman is directing his fundraising effort, Tim Macy is handling direct mail and Steve Ding is advising McClintock from Washington, D.C.

McClintock’s team of strategists has seen him through several legislative contests and races for statewide office.

McClintock, who is running against former Rep. Doug Ose in the 4th district GOP primary, most recently ran — and lost — for lieutenant governor, in 2006, and in the 2003 gubernatorial recall campaign.

McClintock has run for the House once, in 1992. That year, he ran in the old 24th district, which unlike the current Republican-leaning 24th had a Democratic bent. McClintock won a competitive, nine-way GOP primary but lost handily in the general election to then-Rep. Anthony Beilenson (D).

He’s a Carney. Vincent Rongione is back for another run with Rep. Christopher Carney (D-Pa.).

Rongione, who served as the Carney campaign’s finance director in 2006, has been hired as the freshman Congressman’s campaign manager. Carney is hoping to win re-election in the Republican-leaning Northeastern Pennsylvania 10th district.

Carney will face the winner of the April 22 GOP primary, but will not have the benefit this year of running against Don Sherwood (R), the Congressman who was weighed down in the 2006 race by personal scandal.

Big Sky. Jake Eaton has been hired as executive director of the Montana Republican Party, replacing outgoing executive director Chris Wilcox.

Eaton previously served as finance director and political director of the Montana GOP.

Wilcox left the party to run state Sen. Roy Brown’s (R) gubernatorial campaign.

An Englander in L.A. Andrew Casana, for the past six years the senior director of local government affairs for the California Restaurant Association, has accepted a position as partner of the Los Angeles-based Englander & Associates.

Englander & Associates, with offices in L.A., Long Beach, Calif., and Sacramento, was launched three years ago by political consultant Harvey Englander. It offers strategic advocacy, government affairs and public relations consulting to corporate, government, political and nonprofit clients.

New York, New York. There was a special state Senate election last week in the Empire State, and Democrats stole a reliably Republican seat, putting the Democrats just one seat away from taking control of the chamber for the first time since the 1960s. Not surprisingly, there has been some political fallout since the special election.

The New York Daily News political blog reported this week that Ed Lurie, the executive director of the state Senate Republican Campaign Committee, has resigned.

“I fell on my sword,” he told the newspaper.

While Lurie continues to hold a position on the state Senate payroll, the GOP Senate committee has hired pollster Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies to serve as an adviser while Senate leaders search for a replacement for Lurie.

Meanwhile, three strategists for the state Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, who engineered the Democrats’ upset victory in the Upstate Senate race last week, are leaving the committee to set up their own consulting shop, the News reported.

Doug Forand, Marc Lapidus and Nathan Smith have formed Red Horse Strategies, and it already has signed a client: the state DSCC. All three are veterans of New York campaigns; Lapidus was deputy campaign manager to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in her first Senate campaign in 2000.

Peacenik. United for Peace & Justice, which bills itself as the largest coalition of peace groups in the United States with more than 1,300 member groups, has hired peace activist and Iraq War veteran John Bruhns as its new legislative coordinator.

Bruhns served as an Army infantry sergeant in Iraq in 2003 and 2004.

Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

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