Shop Talk: Landing at Jamestown

Posted January 28, 2009 at 4:46pm

Jamestown Associates has hired two more guns for its national operation as the Republican media firm continues to expand to two new offices across the country.

[IMGCAP(1)]Jamestown has hired consultant Mark Harris, who will open Jamestown’s new Pennsylvania office based in Harrisburg. Harris most recently managed Republican Chris Hackett’s unsuccessful campaign against Rep. Christopher Carney (D) in Pennsylvania’s 10th district.

Account Executive Scott Yeldell will open Jamestown’s new Colorado office. Yeldell has worked for the firm in both in Louisiana and the Rocky Mountain State in the past.

And Chris Meekins, a veteran of Republican nominee Andy Harris’ 2008 campaign in Maryland’s 1st district, will join the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.

In other firm news, Brian Donahue was promoted to partner at Jamestown, where he will continue to work with clients such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and many Congressional candidates. Donahue runs the Washington office.

This Bud’s for You. The American Association of Political Consultants Mid-Atlantic Chapter has tapped Democratic strategist Bud Jackson to lead the organization. Jackson, who heads the Alexandria-based Jackson Group, was elected president of the group.

Edmonds Associates Vice President Jessica Keegan was elected vice president of the chapter. Dean Phillips, the president of Aristotle International, was elected secretary-treasurer. The chapter elected John Hlinko, who heads Grassroots Enterprise, as membership communications director.

National Political Services’ Joseph Mercurio and Oceana Senior Campaign Director Courtney Sakai were elected program directors.

The chapter’s new board directors are Ed Cafiero, John Jameson, Bill McIntyre and Bill McClintock. Cafiero is vice president for grassroots, voter and constituent communications at the Clinton Group Inc., and Jameson is president of Winning Connections Inc. A former national spokesman for the National Rifle Association, McIntyre is vice president of Grassroots Enterprise. Republican McClintock is president of the voter-targeting firm McClintock Associates.

The Mid-Atlantic AAPC chapter includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

New Media, New Moves. Howard Mortman is slated to take a top communications job at C-SPAN in February, coming off of three years as director of the public affairs practice at New Media Strategies. Mortman will be C-SPAN’s new director of communications and will be responsible for the television station’s relationships with traditional and online media.

Former National Republican Congressional Committee Communications Director Jessica Boulanger is filling Mortman’s role at NMS. Boulanger most recently worked at Prism Public Affairs. Boulanger also formerly worked for Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

NMS has also brought on Liz Mair as a strategic manager in NMS’ public affairs practice. Mair most recently worked in online communications for the Republican National Committee.

Snarlin’ Arlen’s Team. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has retained his 2004 manager, Christopher Nicholas, to run his 2010 re-election campaign. Nicholas, of Eagle Consulting Group Inc., will also be managing direct mail for the five-term Senator’s re- election.

Specter has also retained Glen Bolger and Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies to do polling for his re-election bid, as well as Chris Mottola as his media consultant.

Raising Arizona. Former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano’s (D) right-hand woman, Jeanine L’Ecuyer, has joined Phoenix-based Ziemba Waid Public Affairs as the firm’s new director of communications.

Napolitano left Arizona to serve in the Obama administration as secretary of Homeland Security. In the governor’s office, L’Ecuyer served as deputy chief of staff for communications and press secretary.

In related news, the Arizona Democratic Party has elected Tucson attorney Paul Eckerstrom as party chairman. He succeeds outgoing chairman Don Bivens.

Order in the Court. As the Minnesota Senate recount trial begins, Republican Norm Coleman has brought on additional attorneys and press staff to aid his case.

Gail Gitcho has been hired to deal with national media. Gitcho previously worked as a regional press secretary for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign and once worked on Capitol Hill for then-Rep. Clay Shaw (R-Fla.).

Attorney Ben Ginsburg, who famously led Republican efforts in the 2000 Florida presidential recount, has taken on a more public role as Coleman’s chief legal spokesman.

Coleman has also recruited Joe Friedberg to be his lead attorney on the recount case, which is expected to last for at least the next few weeks. Attorneys Mark Braden, Fritz Knaak and Tony Trimble are also involved in the effort.

For Democrat Al Franken’s legal effort, lead attorney Marc Elias will be taking the reins in the courtroom, along with Kevin Hamilton and David Lillehaug. Will Rava and Dave Burman are also of counsel to Franken, while Lisa Manheim and Kate Andrias are writing briefs for the case.

A veteran of almost every major recount in the past decade, Democratic consultant Chris Sautter has returned to Minnesota as Franken’s recount specialist.

PAC Up and Head North. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has started her own political action committee.

According to SarahPAC’s Web site, it will be “dedicated to building America’s future, supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation.”

The PAC does not appear to have registered yet with the Federal Election Commission.

Got Him by the Gills. State Sen. Gil Cedillo (D) announced his consulting team for his special election bid to succeed Labor Secretary nominee Rep. Hilda Solis (D) in California’s 32nd district. Solis is awaiting confirmation by the Senate, and a special election will likely be scheduled for the spring once she is confirmed.

Leo Briones of Centaur North Strategic Communications will manage Cedillo’s direct-mail, media and political strategy, according to a release from Cedillo’s campaign. John Fairbank of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates will head up the research department, while Sue Burnside of Burnside & Associates will do field work for Cedillo’s campaign.

Parting Ways. Hildebrand Tewes, a high-powered Democratic consulting firm, is closing its doors as a group of experienced political operatives go their separate ways.

Both veterans of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes started the firm in 2005 and most recently played significant roles in Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaign. Hildebrand served as Obama’s deputy national campaign manager while Tewes was Iowa campaign manager, orchestrating Obama’s important caucus victory.

Now, Hildebrand is signing up his own clients, including Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek (D), who is running for Senate, while Tewes and other key staff are still finalizing their next steps.

“As Steve and Paul figure out their plans, we’re talking with a lot of different folks and we’ll hopefully know what our plans are in the coming weeks,” Hildebrand Tewes Managing Director Cara Morris Stern said, referring to her future business plans with two of her colleagues at the firm: Ben Jones and Dave Hamrick.

In addition to the two principals being focused on the Obama campaign for much of the past two years, the firm has had some trying times. In July 2007, the firm fired business manager Chad Schuldt for allegedly stealing company funds that belonged to the Internal Revenue Service in taxes. In May 2008, Schuldt pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft that reportedly cost the firm $200,000.

According to one Democratic source, the relationship between Hildebrand and Tewes frayed toward the end of the campain, and the embezzlement case also put significant stress on the firm.

Nathan L. Gonzales contributed to this report.

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