Shop Talk: Tuesday’s Top Winners and Losers

Posted May 5, 2010 at 6:29pm

There are winners and losers in every campaign, and the consultant teams are no exception when it comes to Tuesday’s primaries in Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio.

The Winners:

• Both Public Opinion Strategies (polling) and the Faulkner Group (direct mail) scored four wins each in the Hoosier State. Patrick Lanne of Public Opinion Strategies won all three of the GOP primaries that he was working on in Indiana, where he advised Secretary of State Todd Rokita in the open-seat race in the 4th district, attorney Todd Young in the 9th district and surgeon Larry Bucshon in the 8th district. Neil Newhouse, another top pollster at POS, advised former Sen. Dan Coats’ (R-Ind.) victorious Senate primary bid. Meanwhile, the Faulkner Group advised the winning bids of Rokita, Young, state Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) in Indiana’s 2nd district and Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.).

• Rising Tide Media also scored four victories on Tuesday across three states. In addition to Sonny Scott’s work on Bucshon’s campaign and Jonathan Poe’s work for Rokita in Indiana, the firm also had wins in North Carolina and Ohio. Scott advised small-business man Jeff Miller (R) in North Carolina’s 11th district. Poe also advised car dealership owner Tom Ganley, who handily won the GOP nomination to take on Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio).

• The media consultants for North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D) and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) are going into overtime after neither Senate candidate was able to top 40 percent of the vote. That means six more weeks of cutting TV ads in the lead-up to the June 22 runoff. Marshall’s media consultant is Doc Sweitzer, and Cunningham’s media consultants are Steve Murphy and Mark Putnam. As of April 14, Cunningham reported $346,000 in the bank while Marshall had only $171,000.

The Losers:

• Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher won the Democratic Senate nod by an unimpressive margin over Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, 56 percent to 44 percent. Fisher was considered the frontrunner in the primary. According to mid-April campaign reports, Fisher spent almost four times as much as Brunner. AKPD Message and Media advised Fisher on media strategy and advertising. Mark Mellman did polling for Fisher, while Mack Crounse Group handled mail.

• Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) released his first spot of the campaign on primary day, even though the first-term governor did not have a primary opponent. But that initial spot created by Strickland media consultant Will Robinson looked familiar to many observers in the Buckeye State. The Strickland ad featured factory worker Meghan Cofield of Dayton, who appeared in a spot paid for by the Service Employees International Union in the 2008 campaign. Robinson, a veteran Democratic media consultant, confirmed in a phone interview that he also worked on that spot for SEIU.

• The firm Maverick Campaigns lost four races Tuesday in Indiana, including state Sen. Marlin Stutzman’s (R) bid for Senate, car dealer Bob Thomas’ bid against Souder, and the failed GOP primary campaigns of Hendricks County Commissioner Eric Wathen and former Monroe County Councilman John Lee Smith, who were running for open seats in the 4th and 8th districts, respectively.

To the Max

Rep. Christopher Carney, who represents one of the most competitive and GOP-leaning districts held by a Democrat in the Keystone State, has hired Max Cummings to run his re-election campaign this cycle.

Cummings is not a new face around Carney’s office after serving as field director for the Congressman’s 2008 re-election campaign and as deputy field director when Carney first won the seat in 2006. Cummings has also served as a legislative correspondent for Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio) and a regional field director for Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) in the 2006 cycle.

How Sweet It Is

Two alumni of state Rep. Julie Hamos’ (D) unsuccessful bid for Congress in Illinois’ 10th district have landed at the re-election campaign of Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), who is facing what could be a tough re-election campaign against wealthy car dealer Tom Ganley.

Hamos’ former campaign manager, Julie Sweet, has signed on to be Sutton’s campaign manager. The Arizona native also worked on the failed campaign of attorney Tom Geoghegan (D) in the special election that now-Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) won in 2009.

Brian Weeks, who was Hamos’ deputy finance director, will serve as finance director for Sutton. Weeks is an alumnus of the Kentucky coordinated campaign last cycle, where he served as a regional field director late in 2008 after working as a field organizer for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid.

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