Shop Talk: A Schiff in Strategy

Posted September 9, 2009 at 6:19pm

The full consulting team for businessman Peter Schiff’s (R) Connecticut Senate bid has parted ways with the campaign.

[IMGCAP(1)]Tony Marsh and Alfredo Rodriguez, both of Marsh Copey and Associates, Tyler Harber of Wilson Research Strategies, Jon Scott of Liftline Group, and others have walked away from the campaign after a disagreement on strategy with Schiff.

“Schiff apparently wants to run a Ron Paul-esque [R-Texas] campaign, and the consultants aren’t convinced that the Paul strategy can be successful, or even competitive,— said one Republican consultant with knowledge of the situation.

Andrew Schiff, the brother of and spokesman for the candidate, said the campaign is now focused on hiring staff in the Nutmeg State instead of consultants, including J.R. Romano as their new political director.

“We’re hiring some people on the ground in Connecticut,— Andrew Schiff confirmed, adding that he expects an official announcement on the campaign to come soon.

Schiff tapped into Paul’s well of support to raise more than $800,000 in the first month of his campaign. But with Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) poll numbers in the tank, several Republicans — many of whom, like Schiff, are personally wealthy — are looking at the race.

Linda McMahon, the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, has also expressed interest in running and has tapped GOP consultant Ed Patru to help her.

“I’ll be providing some general communications consulting to Linda personally,— said Patru, a veteran of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

McMahon is also a novice candidate with access to significant personal funds to put toward a bid. She has contributed heavily to Connecticut Republicans and was recently appointed to the state board of education by Gov. Jodi Rell (R).

Toomey’s Team Switch. Former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has switched up his fundraising staff. Toomey’s campaign team originally made headlines by hiring several of Sen. Arlen Specter’s (Pa.) former campaign aides after the Senator switched parties earlier this year in order to run for re-election as a Democrat in 2010.

Toomey has tapped Nathan Wurtzel of the Catalyst Group to do

his Washington, D.C., fundraising, and he added another former Specter hand, Josh Novotney, to aid his fundraising in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, Toomey fundraiser Louisa Boyd has parted ways with the campaign. It’s not clear why Toomey’s campaign and Boyd — Specter’s former finance director — are no longer working together, but the campaign declined to comment and Boyd was unavailable.

Toomey reported having $1.11 million at the end of June — a steep climb to compete with Specter, who reported having $7.56 million in the bank at the same time. Rep. Joe Sestak (D), who is running in the primary against Specter, is also a prodigious fundraiser and had almost $4.27 million in cash on hand at the end of June.

Three for the Road. GOP fundraising and consulting firm The Catalyst Group has picked up three new clients and support staff for the 2010 cycle.

In addition to signing former Rep. Pat Toomey’s (R) Pennsylvania Senate bid, Catalyst Group principals Nathan Wurtzel and Joe Rachinsky have signed attorney Jon Barela (R) in New Mexico and former state Rep. Kevin Calvey (R) in Oklahoma. Barela is challenging freshman Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), while Calvey is running in the open-seat race to succeed Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.).

Additionally, Laura Ashton has joined the fundraising firm as a staff assistant. A native of California, Ashton has interned for Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.) and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Engaged in California. Engage, a Republican new media firm, has opened up shop in California. Patrick Ruffini and Mindy Finn announced that David Kralik will run the company’s West Coast practice.

Kralik was most recently the California-based director of Internet strategy for former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s (R-Ga.) organization American Solutions for Winning the Future. Finn and Ruffini wrote in an e-mail that Kralik “will be our scout in Silicon Valley where he will manage relationships with America’s most innovative technology companies.—

Engage reports it is already working with one California candidate, Republican Tom Campbell, in his gubernatorial bid. The two online media gurus are also working with Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy (R) on his bid against Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), along with several Republican campaigns for the 2009 cycle.

A Shur Thing. The Albuquerque Journal reported recently that Oren Shur has signed onto Lt. Gov. Diane Denish’s (D) 2010 gubernatorial bid as her manager. Gov. Bill Richardson (D) is term-limited, and Denish is considered to be the Democratic frontrunner to succeed him.

Shur most recently served as a spokesman for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D), and he worked on Sen. Benjamin Cardin’s (D-Md.) 2006 bid for Senate against then-Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.

We Love You, Conrad, Oh Yes We Do. Retired Army Col. Conrad Reynolds (R) has tapped Kenneth Ryan James to help him with his bid against Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.). Reynolds is one of several GOP candidates either running against or looking to challenge Lincoln in 2010.

James was on the regional press team for the McCain/Palin presidential campaign, and he served as a deputy communications director at the Republican National Convention in 2008. James was also previously the communications director for Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.).

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