Shop Talk: Mission Control, We Have Liftoff

Posted October 14, 2009 at 6:57pm

Mission Control, the Democratic direct-mail firm run by Ed Peavy, has nailed its second special election client this year in the Empire State and its fourth special contest in the last two years.

[IMGCAP(1)]Rep. Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.) used Mission Control for his special election victory in April, and now attorney Bill Owens (D) has tapped Murphy’s entire consulting team to help with his bid for the open-seat race Nov. 3 in a nearby district in upstate New York. In addition to Mission Control, Owens has hired Steve Murphy of Murphy Putnam Media for his media and Jef Pollock of Global Strategy Group for his polling.

Owens, state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) and Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman are running in the special election to succeed former Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.), who stepped down to become secretary of the Army in the Obama administration.

Mission Control also worked for Democrats in several special elections in the 2008 cycle, including two state Senate special elections in New York and special election wins for former Rep. Don Cazayoux (D-La.) and Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.).

Additionally, Mission Control has signed tech company owner Jack McDonald (D) for his bid against Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks (D) for her bid against Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio), and Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet (D) for his race against Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), plus Democrats running for governor in Tennessee, Maine and Pennsylvania.

Lucky Lenny. GOP operative Lenny Alcivar has gone north to Boston, where he will manage Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO Charlie Baker’s (R) campaign for governor against Gov. Deval Patrick (D). The Bay State governor has had a rocky first term in office, and Baker is one of two Republicans with deep pockets who have already signed up to challenge him.

Alcivar, a New York native, served as deputy press secretary under former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) before going on to manage press operations at the New York City Police Department.

Alcivar oversaw communications for infrastructure security under Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta during President George W. Bush’s first term

in office, and then served as a press secretary for the Republican National Convention in 2004. He most recently served as a communications director and counselor to the GOP nominee for Senate in Louisiana in 2008, state Treasurer John Kennedy.

Honest Abe. Pennsylvania political operative Abe Dyk is moving to the Sunshine State, where he will manage Rep. Kendrick Meek’s (D-Fla.) uphill campaign for Senate. Republicans have indicated that they plan to fight to keep the Florida Senate seat in GOP hands, and likely GOP nominee Gov. Charlie Crist has already raised big bucks for his bid.

Dyk, who calls Philadelphia his hometown, served as deputy campaign manager for Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in 2006 when he defeated two-term Sen. Rick Santorum (R) by 18 points.

In addition to working on now-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 White House bid, Dyk swooped in at the last minute in the 2008 cycle to work on Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) re-election bid. When Murtha made a gaffe on the stump last fall, his re-election appeared to be in peril, and Keystone State operatives such as Dyk and lobbyist Tony Podesta came to save his bid in the waning weeks of the cycle.

Meek announced Dyk’s hiring in an e-mail to supporters, adding that his new campaign manager’s grandmother lived in Meek’s Congressional district and was a big supporter.

“Abe is a rising star in our movement for change,— Meek wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “He knows how to win in complicated, sprawling states like Florida.—

Additionally, Meek had already brought on Steve Murphy and Mark Putnam for his media team and Diane Feldman of the Feldman Group for his polling.

No Hodes Barred. As the field shapes up for the competitive race for Rep. Paul Hodes’ (D-N.H.) seat, several candidates have signed on familiar names for their consulting teams. Hodes is stepping down from his seat to run for Senate, and the crowded field to replace him includes the man whom he defeated in 2006: former Rep. Charlie Bass (R).

Bass has brought on longtime adviser Scott Tranchemontagne of Montagne Communications as the only paid consultant so far. Tranchemontagne has worked with Bass on every campaign going back to 1994, when he defeated then-Rep. Dick Swett (D-N.H.).

Bass’ GOP primary competition, 2008 nominee Jennifer Horn, is also working with some familiar aides. Horn has hired Matt Wylie as the general consultant and David Chesley as campaign manager ­— both of whom worked with her on her 2008 bid.

Attorney Anne McLane Kuster is one of several Democrats looking at the Hodes seat. Swett’s wife, Katrina Swett (D), is also expected to run but has yet to make a formal announcement.

Kuster has tapped several Granite State veterans to lead her campaign, including manager Colin Van Ostern. The former consultant ran the Democrats’ coordinated campaign for New Hampshire in 2008, plus served as state communications director for Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign in 2004 and as a communications director for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-N.H.) first failed bid for Senate in 2002.

Kuster’s finance director, Kari Thurman, most recently served as Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s (D-N.H.) finance director in the 2008 cycle and will be aided by call time manager Casey McCabe and events manager Meredith Funston.

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