K Street Files: See Ed Run. Run Ed Run.

Posted March 6, 2009 at 5:46pm

Virginia political types have been speculating for months about Ed Gillespie’s future in politics.

[IMGCAP(1)]The buzz that the co-founder of Quinn Gillespie & Associates would run for a statewide race intensified recently when a fundraising invitation began circulating listing Gillespie as a co-host for an early St. Patrick’s Day event for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell (R).

Gillespie, whose father is an Irish immigrant and whose Celtic credentials are unquestioned, is hosting the March 13 event with fellow GOPer David Norcross. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to attend.

But Gillespie, a former Virginia GOP chairman, is putting the rumors to rest, at least for now.

“I’m not planning on running for anything,— he wrote in an e-mail. “I have volunteered to serve as general chairman of Bob McDonnell’s campaign for governor because he is a proven leader with a record of bipartisan success, and we need his experience in the commonwealth right now.—

And, he helpfully added: “Part of my responsibilities as general chairman include fundraising.—

Feeling Well, Thank You. Health care lobbyists are hoping President Barack Obama’s case of “summititis— does not go away anytime soon.

On the heels of last week’s health care summit at the White House and in anticipation of a heated debate on health care reform in Congress this summer, business across K Street is booming.

So far, there have been 184 new health-care-related registrations this year alone, according to lobbying disclosure records.

The new registrations cut a broad swath across the industry, a sign that no piece of the health care pie is immune to potential reforms — and everyone wants a seat at the table.

“A lot of health care interests, from nonprofits to hospitals and universities, are getting squeezed at the state and local level and are looking to the federal government for assistance,— said Edward Long, a vice president at Van Scoyoc Associates.

Others, he said, such as pharmaceutical companies and hospitals, see Obama’s focus on health care reform and “recognize an even greater need to have a seat at the table.—

While the majority of new registrants are signing on with major firms such as Van Scoyoc Associates, Bryan Cave, and Holland & Knight, others, including the National Association of Spine Specialists and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, are preparing to fight on their own.

Reflecting the administration’s call for a bipartisan approach, new registrants are also looking for assistance across both sides of the aisle.

“People need to be sure they have the appropriate level of Democrat contacts, but I don’t think the environment right now has negated the need for solid Republican contacts,— said Raissa Downs, a partner at the health care firm Tarplin, Downs & Young. “Health care reform in particular is still sincerely being discussed as a bipartisan effort.—

A Bran New Store. Whole Foods Market settled its case with antitrust regulators late last week, likely clearing the way for its merger with high-end grocery rival Wild Oats.

“We are pleased to have reached a mutually-satisfactory agreement with the FTC,— Whole Foods Chief Executive Officer John Mackey said in statement on Friday.

In December, the retail outlet hired Clinton White House lawyer and lobbyist Lanny Davis to smooth over the deal, which was announced more than a year ago.

The Federal Trade Commission, which is overseeing the merger, is expected to close the case before May 1.

K Street Moves. Brian Pomper, a partner at Parven Pomper Strategies, is the new executive director of the the Innovation Alliance, a business group focused on the federal patent system. A patent lawyer, Pomper previously worked for Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

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