Shop Talk: A Regional Affair

Posted May 20, 2009 at 6:31pm

The Democratic National Committee has put together its regional team of press secretaries under Chairman Tim Kaine, according to a list of the new hires obtained by Roll Call.

[IMGCAP(1)]• Caroline Ciccone will be the director of regional press at the DNC, where she has worked since 2007. Ciccone previously served in various roles in Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-Calif.) office.

• Joanne Peters is returning to the committee as the Southern regional press secretary, following a stint in Rep. Bob Etheridge’s (D-N.C.) office and her work as deputy director of radio booking at the DNC in the 2008 cycle.

• Alec Gerlach will handle press in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Michigan ties run deep for the Wolverine State native, who worked for Reps. Dale Kildee (D) and John Dingell (D) on Capitol Hill for four years and for President Barack Obama’s campaign in the state.

• Mike Czin will be the DNC press contact for the Northeastern region of the country. The flak from New Jersey has been promoted at the DNC, where he worked as the assistant press secretary until recently.

• Derrick Plummer is the new Midwest regional press secretary. A former communications director for Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Plummer also worked for 2004 Democratic presidential ticket in Iowa.

• Frank Benenati will be the regional press secretary for the Northwest. Benenati was the communications director for the coordinated campaign in Minnesota in the previous cycle, and he also worked for Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) on Capitol Hill.

• Ricardo Ramírez will be the Spanish-language spokesman for the DNC, as well as serve the press in the Southwest region. Ramírez comes from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office, where he worked on Hispanic media.

• Megan Jacobs will be the new assistant press secretary in the communications shop. Jacobs started her career as an organizer on Sen. Jon Tester’s (D-Mont.) 2006 Senate race and also aided the Obama campaign’s media and polling team in Chicago.

• Joanna Rosholm has also accepted a gig as an assistant press secretary for the DNC. Rosholm was a DNC communications intern in the 2008 cycle but most recently worked at Ogilvy Government Relations.

Two for the Road Ahead. The Republican National Committee has brought back two of its former employees to work at the committee. When RNC Chairman Michael Steele took the reins of the organization earlier this year, he asked for the resignation of almost every employee in the building.

Katie Wright will return as the RNC’s new deputy press secretary. A press secretary for then-Sen. George Allen’s (R-Va.) failed 2006 re-election bid, Wright most recently served as the Southeast regional press secretary for the committee.

Chris McNulty has started his second run as the regional political director for the Midwest region at the RNC. McNulty was the executive director of the Ohio Republican Party, where he previously served as political and regional field director.

Confidential Council. Several GOP Members were scheduled to address the Council for National Policy conference last weekend at a Washington, D.C., hotel, according to a copy of the “confidential program— obtained by Roll Call.

The secretive conservative confab features a who’s who of well-known Republican figures, including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist. The CNP, an invitation-only 501(c)(3) organization, sponsors the clandestine conference for its hundreds of donors to have open discussions with conservative movement leaders. Republican polling guru Kellyanne Conway was scheduled to moderate a panel on “current legislative battles— with former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) and GOP Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.) and Mike Pence (Ind.).

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who is running for Senate next year, was scheduled to speak on the Protecting the Defense of Marriage Act, while former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) gave a workshop titled “Votes Have Consequences.— Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), who is also running for Senate in 2010, spoke on the topic “Protecting the Conscience of Medical Professionals.—

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) was scheduled to host a workshop titled “The American Workplace: No Place for Intimidation,— while Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) was set to deliver remarks at the general session.

A CNP media contact did not return a call for comment.

Things Are Perkins Up. GOP strategist Chris Perkins has joined Wilson Research Strategies as vice president of the polling firm. A native of the Lone Star State, Perkins will run the Austin office and oversee the firm’s Texas operations.

Perkins most recently served as executive director of Coalition for a Conservative Majority, a nonprofit organization chaired by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Perkins also managed the Republican National Committee’s independent expenditure arm until in the 2006 cycle.

Perkins’ Houston roots run deep: He was director of former Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s (R-Texas) leadership political action committee from 2001 to 2006, and he played a major role in the controversial mid-decade redistricting in the state.

I Want It All. The conservative new media firm David All Group has picked up another top gun: Chris Perrin will serve as managing director for the firm.

Perrin comes directly from Adfero Group, where he served as chief operating officer. Perrin also worked with former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) as vice president of his company, and he served as director of operations at the House Republican Conference also under Watts.

Suddenly Stephen. GOP internet guru Stephen Smith has landed at National Media, the public affairs firm headlined by Republican strategist Alex Castellanos and Robin D. Roberts.

Perhaps best known for his work as director of online communications for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R) presidential campaign in 2007, Smith is charged with expanding National Media’s digital media department.

A man with Tennessee ties, Smith briefly worked on former state GOP Chairman Chip Saltsman’s bid for RNC Chairman earlier this year. Smith also served as a press secretary for Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-Tenn.) re-election bid in 2008 and ran the Internet department for former Sen. Bill Frist’s (R-Tenn.) Volunteer PAC while he was in office.

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