Shop Talk: Love Is Love, but Business Is Business

Posted July 9, 2008 at 6:25pm

Several Republican Senators came under attack over the July Fourth recess from the American Medical Association, which ran TV ads hitting them for voting against a Medicare bill supported by the AMA.

[IMGCAP(1)]The ad was created and produced by the GOP media firm Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm.

The spot targeted 10 Republican Senators, seven of whom are up for re-election this year — including a few who are vulnerable.

The ad accused these Senators of putting the interests of health care insurance companies ahead of disadvantaged Medicare patients, such as seniors and military veterans.

The Republicans targeted by the ad included Sens. John Sununu (N.H.), Arlen Specter (Pa.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), John Cornyn (Texas), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Thad Cochran (Miss.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.).

Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm declined to comment on Wednesday. But the AMA confirmed that the Washington, D.C.-based GOP firm created and produced the ad for the group.

SRCP partner John Hishta was recently hired by the National Republican Congressional Committee to help run its independent expenditure effort. Hishta was brought on at the behest of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Howard’s End. Longtime Republican political operative Dan Ronayne has joined the Washington, D.C.-based Howard Consulting Group as managing director.

HCG specializes in strategic and crisis-communications management and political affairs. Ronayne will direct the firm’s communications efforts.

Ronayne comes to HCG from CLC and Associates, where he also served as managing director. Before that, he served in the press shop at the Republican National Committee. Last cycle, Ronayne was a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Murray Moves Again. Democratic operative Jonathan Murray has signed on to his third campaign gig of the 2008 cycle, joining Rep. Tim Mahoney’s (D-Fla.) re-election team as campaign manager.

Murray, a Florida native, comes to the Mahoney campaign from Minnesota, where he was serving as campaign manager for Democratic candidate Ashwin Madia, an attorney and Iraq War veteran running in the open 3rd district.

Prior to joining the Madia campaign, Murray ran attorney Tom Myers’ ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania’s 3rd district.

Mahoney, a freshman, is hoping to win re-election in Florida’s historically GOP-leaning 16th district.

Here’s the Story, of a Lovely Brady. Kelly Brady has been hired as Colorado Senate candidate Bob Schaffer’s (R) press secretary.

Brady spent the past few years out of politics, working as a public school government and history teacher.

But she previously served as a legislative aide for Schaffer when he represented Colorado’s 4th district in the House, and she also worked as a deputy press secretary for Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.).

Allard is retiring, and Schaffer and Rep. Mark Udall (D) are running for his seat.

Tibbles and Bits. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has hired Mike Tibbles, the former chief of staff and transition team leader for popular Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), to manage what is expected to be his toughest re-election battle in many years.

Stevens, long a popular figure in Alaska politics and a Senator since 1968, has seen his popularity wane of late as the result of an FBI raid on his home and his inclusion in a wide-ranging corruption probe targeting Alaska politicians and lobbyists with interests in the state.

Stevens’ opponent is Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D).

In 2006, Tibbles, who lives in the state capital of Juneau, worked on the campaigns of both Palin and gubernatorial candidate John Binkley (R). He also previously served as legislative director for then-Gov. Frank Murkowski (R), a former Senator.

LaRocc Obama. Kassie Cerami has been hired as Idaho Senate candidate Larry LaRocco’s (D) field director.

Cerami, 43, had never worked in politics before last year, when she decided to volunteer for the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Cerami helped open Obama’s first Idaho campaign office.

“I am putting my energy toward getting LaRocco elected because I believe in his vision for change and his passion as much as I do Obama’s,” Cerami said in a statement released by the LaRocco campaign.

LaRocco and Lt. Gov. Jim Risch (R) are running for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Larry Craig (R).

From Gillibrand’s Band. Mike Russo, an aide to Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), has jumped into the Democratic primary in New York’s 43rd state Senate district, which is open because of former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s (R) decision to retire.

Russo faces two other Democrats in his primary, including attorney Brian Premo, the favorite of establishment Democrats in the Empire State.

Another former Gillibrand aide, Darius Shahinfar, is waging a long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination in the open-seat race to replace retiring Rep. Mike McNulty (D-N.Y.).

Sí, Se GOPuede. The Republican presidential nominating convention has unveiled a Spanish-language version of its Web site and also announced two new hires in its press shop.

Joanna Burgos will serve as press secretary and will lead the convention’s press operation for national media. Burgos, who speaks fluent Spanish and is a Miami native, previously served in various communications positions at the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security.

Yohana de la Torre will serve as deputy press secretary for specialty media. She will oversee outreach to several sectors of the press, including Spanish-language media.

De la Torre is a fluent Spanish speaker, and like Burgos, is a Miami native.

She is currently owner and managing editor of the Gulf Coast Times in Fort Myers, Fla. She previously served as a communications aide to both Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and the Republican National Committee.

The Republican National Convention is scheduled for Sept. 1-4, in St. Paul, Minn. In addition to the convention offering a Spanish language version at gopconvention2008.com/enespanol, Spanish speakers will be able to view a Spanish language telecast of the four-day event live on the Internet.

Submit campaign staffing news and tips to Shop Talk
here
.