Shop Talk: Consultants Mark Highs, Lows in West Virginia

Posted May 12, 2010 at 6:03pm

Even though Rep. Alan Mollohan had a seasoned consulting team behind him, West Virginia state Sen. Mike Oliverio beat him by 12 points Tuesday in the West Virginia 1st district Democratic primary.

The 28-year Representative’s team included SKD Knickerbocker, which did Mollohan’s media, Fraioli & Associates and the Ashmead Group for fundraising, and Keith Frederick for polling.

Oliverio used Wild Bunch Media as his media consultant, West Virginia-based Orion Strategies for polling and press, LA Harris & Associates for fundraising and Hamilton Campaigns for opposition research.

The winner of the crowded GOP primary for the seat, former state GOP Chairman David McKinley, used Jonathan Poe of Rising Tide Media Group for media, Martin Baker of Political Ink for mail and Rob Autry of Public Opinion Strategies for polling. This is the second winning week in a row for Public Opinion Strategies and Rising Tide Media ‘ both scored four victories apiece a week ago in the Indiana and North Carolina primaries.

Water Under the Bridgewater

Businessman Tim Bridgewater used a few seasoned consulting hands to help him finish first in the Senate race at the Utah GOP convention last week, where both he and attorney Mike Lee knocked 18-year Sen. Bob Bennett off the June primary ballot. Bridgewater had the support of 37 percent of the delegates, while Lee had 35 percent ‘ enough to push both Republicans to the June 22 primary.

Bridgewater tapped Craft Media Digital to do his media, mail and online consulting and Aris McMahon of Advantage Inc. for phones. Greg Hartley served as campaign manager for Bridgewater.

Lee tapped Boyd Matheson to be his campaign manager and communications director with Dan Hauser as his deputy campaign manager and Bill Lee as field director. Jason Powers served as a general consultant.

Did Somebody Say Deal?

Two Republicans vying for former Georgia Rep. Nathan Deal’s seat are headed to a runoff on June 8 ‘ and their consulting teams are likely going with them.

Former state Rep. Tom Graves (R), the presumptive frontrunner, used Mike McElwain of DMM for media, Ron Butler at Creative Direct for mail and Glen Bolger at Public Opinion Strategies for polling.

Former state Sen. Lee Hawkins tapped Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications to be his general consultant and Tom Hammond for his political action committee fundraising.

Bang for Your Buckeye

Now that the votes are counted and state Sen. Robert Gibbs has officially won the GOP nomination in Ohio’s 18th district by 164 votes, Erin DeLullo of DeLullo & Associates can claim two big wins from last week’s primary in Ohio.

DeLullo worked with Gibbs and businessman Jim Renacci (R) in the 16th district on their victories last week. Both the 16th and 18th districts are expected to be competitive races this November.

DeLullo & Associates specializes in fundraising for conservative candidates, including another Ohio Republican ‘ former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s 2006 bid for governor ‘ and most recently, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. In addition to Gibbs and Renacci, DeLullo has also signed Kansas state Sen. Tim Huelskamp, one of several candidates running in the Jayhawk State’s open 1st district this cycle.

OFA and Out

Organizing for America and the Democratic National Committee have picked up a few new staffers in recent weeks:

• OFA Press Secretary Lynda Tran previously served as Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s communications director (Kaine is now DNC chairman). Tran was also the assistant director of communications at the Service Employees International Union, where she led communications for the Property Services Division.

• OFA National Press Assistant Patrick Rodenbush has come on board. Originally from Brockton, Mass., Rodenbush is a graduate of Holy Cross University and has worked on Capitol Hill with the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) and his appointed successor, former Sen. Paul Kirk (D).

• DNC writer Amelia Pelly Frenkel joined the committee in April after serving as the director of speechwriting for the Office of the United States Trade Representative and in a similar capacity for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

• Assistant Regional Press Secretary Christopher Pohlad comes from Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office, where he served as a special assistant for the past three months. The Minnesota native worked his home state as state operations director and assistant to the state director for President Barack Obama’s general election campaign in 2008.

IQ Scores

Republican pollster Frank Luntz and celebrity Democratic operative James Carville have joined Vote iQ as members of the company’s advisory board, according to a representative from the new social networking site dedicated to politics.

The website is scheduled to debut in early June and is supposed to give voters ‘a one-stop site to find out where candidates stand on the issues,’ according to a news release.

Fits the Bill

Bill Riggs has signed on to be a regional press secretary at the Republican National Committee. Riggs most recently worked at the public relations firm Rational 360, but before that he served as spokesman for the RNC during the 2008 cycle, including overseeing the committee’s radio outreach program.

Put a Dent in It

Gregg Bortz has left the official office of Rep. Charlie Dent to be the communications director for the Pennsylvania Republican’s re-election campaign. Bortz has served in Dent’s legislative office in a similar role for the past five years, but the Congressman is facing his toughest re-election campaign yet against Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan (D). Before working for Dent, Bortz was a newspaper reporter in eastern Pennsylvania.