Shop Talk: Veteran Strategist Henry Heads to ONE More Campaign

Posted January 13, 2010 at 6:35pm

Businessman Steve Welch (R) was the favorite of national Republicans to run in Pennsylvania’s open-seat 6th district until last week, when Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) announced he was dropping out of the gubernatorial race to run for his former seat.

[IMGCAP(1)]Gerlach immediately received the backing of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Welch is still up in the air about whether he’ll stay in the race.

After all, Welch was originally running for the competitive open-seat race in the neighboring 7th district until national Republicans asked him to switch races to make way for another GOP candidate in that district.

But what a tangled web Welch has weaved: Welch’s campaign manager, Brendan Benner, has served as Gerlach’s district director, while his campaign co-chairman, Guy Ciarrocchi, has served as the Congressman’s chief of staff. A source outside the Welch campaign with knowledge of the situation said Tandy Harrison (NRCC Executive Director Guy Harrison’s wife) was no longer with the campaign given the committee’s support for Gerlach, but a Welch spokesman said Wednesday afternoon that he thought she was still on board.

Ms. Smith Goes to Columbus. Elisabeth Smith has joined Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s (D) re-election campaign as communications director. Strickland is getting a challenge from former Rep. John Kasich (R-Ohio).

Smith most recently served as a press secretary for outgoing New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s (D) failed re-election campaign and had the same role for former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s failed primary bid for governor of Virginia. The New York native also served as press secretary for Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) successful Senate campaign, as well as communications director for marketing consultant Dan Seals’ bid against Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) in 2008.

Land of Opportunities. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) recently announced her campaign team, most of whom are veterans of her previous successful campaigns and her official staff.

Lincoln’s longtime top aide, Steve Patterson of CDP Strategies, will once again take the reins as campaign manager and general consultant after serving in similar capacities for Lincoln’s two previous successful Senate bids.

The rest of the lineup:

• Deputy campaign manager and get-out-the-vote consultant Maurice Rigsby

• Communications Director Katie Laning Niebaum, currently serving in the same capacity for Lincoln’s official office

• Field Director David Oberembt

• State Finance Director Amanda Daugherty, also with CDP Strategies, held the same post on Lincoln’s 2004 campaign

• National Finance Director Jennifer Yocham Poersch, founder of JYP Consulting based in Washington, D.C., and wife of DSCC Executive Director J.B. Poersch

• Director of New Media and Research Tyler Douse, a former research assistant in Lincoln’s Capitol Hill office

• Finance Compliance Director Cydney Pearce has worked on Lincoln’s campaigns for the House and Senate since 1992

• Field Assistant Donell Meadows is a former intern for Lincoln

• Operations Assistant Matthew Morris

• Deputy National Finance Director Stella Ross

• National Finance Assistant Andrea Brault

The Imperiale Regime. Longtime Republican fundraiser Louisa Imperiale has launched her own company, Fete DC. A former chief fundraiser for then-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) until he switched parties last year, Imperiale said her new firm will offer event management and design.

Imperiale served as director of development for the National Republican Senatorial Committee under former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) in the 2006 cycle. Imperiale, who was formerly known as Louisa Boyd, has also raised funds for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Gallery of Art.

Oh, Henry. Veteran Democratic operative Mike Henry is headed to the ONE campaign, where he will be the new senior director of U.S. field operations.

Henry most recently was the deputy campaign manager for then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign but has extensive experience in Old Dominion politics. He managed Sen. Mark Warner’s (D-Va.) successful Senate bid in 2008 and ran former Democratic National Committeeman Terry McAuliffe’s (D) gubernatorial campaign in 2009.

A Pence for Your Thoughts. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) has done nothing to quash rumors that he might be interested in running for governor or even the White House in 2012, and last week he announced that he was bringing on additional staff with national campaign experience.

Veteran Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway has joined Pence’s campaign to serve as a campaign strategist. The Pence campaign said that Bill Neale, a former adviser to Vice President Dan Quayle, will serve as campaign treasurer.

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