Shop Talk: Taking Care of Business

Posted December 9, 2009 at 6:27pm

President Barack Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, has endorsed Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in a fundraising e-mail for the Democrat’s Senate campaign.

[IMGCAP(1)]“I get asked quite a bit what I think the most important campaigns in 2010 will be. And the Ohio Senate race is always near the top of my list,— Plouffe wrote. “That’s why I’m supporting Lee Fisher.—

Perhaps Plouffe is just working on his own time, but his firm — AKPD Message and Media ­— also does media consulting for Fisher, the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, where he faces Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. According to campaign finance reports, the Fisher campaign had paid more than $3,100 for media production to AKPD so far this cycle through Sept. 30.

According to a top Fisher aide, the campaign approached Plouffe independently about writing an e-mail in support of the candidate. The Fisher aide also said Plouffe has not worked on any campaigns this fall and instead has been traveling to promote his book. Plouffe also has a hand in running Organizing for America, the group affiliated with the Democratic National Committee that grew out of Obama’s White House campaign.

Another top gun at AKPD, Larry Grisolano, is the principal on Fisher’s media campaign. A phone call to AKPD for comment was not returned. Plouffe is a veteran Democratic operative, who has worked for then-Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) — both of whom he mentions in his e-mail to Fisher’s supporters. Plouffe, however, does not mention in the e-mail that his firm does any work for Fisher.

Fisher was an ardent supporter of current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid in the Ohio primary, which the former New York Senator won before she dropped out of the race.

Martha My Dear. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has rounded out its political shop for the 2010 cycle with one recent addition to the team.

Political Director Martha McKenna leads the team for the second cycle in a row. Before she joined the DSCC, McKenna managed Mayor Sheila Dixon’s (D) bid for a full term in Baltimore, McKenna’s hometown. McKenna was the campaign services director at EMILY’s List during the 2006 cycle.

Deputy Political Directors Bill Lofy and B.J. Neidhardt will work with candidates and managers on strategy and budgets. Lofy is spending his second cycle at the DSCC, where the native Minnesotan helped elect Sens. Al Franken (Minn.) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) last year. Neidhardt managed Rep. Mark Schauer’s (D-Mich.) bid last cycle, when the then-state Senator defeated a Republican incumbent.

Field Director Rob Hill will design and implement the DSCC’s field programs in each of the committee’s targeted states this cycle. Hill comes directly from the political shop at the White House, following his work for Obama’s campaign in New Hampshire, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont.

Deputy Field Director Jackie Bray served as Obama’s field director in Ohio for the general election and also worked in the field for Clinton in the national Democratic primary.

Campaign Services Directors Amie Kershner and Heather Colburn will work with Democratic Senate candidates and finance directors. Kershner most recently worked at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after several years at EMILY’s List as major gifts director. Colburn worked at the DSCC last cycle, served as state director for Clinton’s primary campaign in Wisconsin and also held the title of major gifts director at EMILY’s List.

Brock and Roll. The former communications director for Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Brock McCleary, has left Capitol Hill to be the new regional political director for the Northeast at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

McClearly started Monday, and his addition to the NRCC will fully round out the committee’s political operation under Director Brian Walsh.

Harris, Teetered. Maryland state Sen. Andy Harris (R) has parted ways with the campaign manager for his 1st district Congressional bid.

Harris had hired Mike Spellings, who had worked on other Congressional campaigns across the country, to run his second bid for the seat — a sign that he was trying to run a more professional campaign this time around.

Harris is running for a second time against freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.) in this targeted race: He defeated nine-term Rep. Wayne Gilchrest in the GOP primary in 2008, but he lost the general election to Kratovil.

Kirby Your Enthusiasm. Indiana state Rep. Jackie Walorski (R), who is challenging Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) in Indiana’s 2nd district in 2010, has tapped Matt Kirby to be her campaign manager, according to a source familiar with the arrangement.

Kirby served as political director for the state Republican Party in the 2008 cycle, when he was in charge of the field operation that boosted Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) to victory.

BISC-It. The longtime executive director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, Kristina Wilfore, announced she is leaving the left-leaning group to take a new job abroad.

The Montana native is leaving BISC at the end of the year to take a position in Kiev, Ukraine, as country director for the National Democratic Institute.

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