March 13, 2014

Former Reid Aide Petkanas Named Communications Director for Davis Gubernatorial Bid in Texas

Zac PetkanasThe San Antonio Express-News’ Peggy Fikac reports that Zac Petkanas has been named Communications Director for the gubernatorial campaign of State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-TX).  He began in that role on March 6.

Petkanas is a former Deputy Communications Director for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) re-election campaign and was most recently Communications Director for the Nevada Democratic Party.

Earlier in his career, Petkanas served as Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) and as Press Secretary for the Ann Kirkpatrick for Congress campaign and for U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the House Rules Committee chairwoman.

Petkanas is a a 2007 graduate of The George Washington University and a native of Putnam Valley, NY.

Additionally, the Davis campaign hired Lone Star Report’s Hector Nieto as Traveling Press Secretary.  Nieto was previously Texas State Director for Obama for America and Texas Communications Director for Organizing for America.

Rebecca Acuña remains Press Secretary and Bo Delp, who was Communications Director, is now Deputy Communications Director.  (San Antonio Express-News)

July 23, 2013

Booker Hires Obama 2012 vet Zukowski as Campaign Deputy Press Secretary

Sarah ZukowskiFirst reported by Roll Call’sShop Talk,” Mayor Cory Booker (D-Newark) hired another Obama 2012 operative for his Senate campaign.  Sarah Zukowski signed on as his Deputy Press Secretary. Previously, she worked for the president’s re-election campaign in New Hampshire. A former staffer to former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), she also worked for the Glover Park Group.  (Roll Call’s “Shop Talk”)

May 14, 2013

REMAINDERS: McDowell joins Blue Engine; Beirne & Vargas To WH; Gor to Rand 2016

Occasionally, we miss some important flack-related items.  Here are a few:

  • First reported in Politico’sPlaybook,” Amber McDowell has joined DC-based strategic communications firm Blue Engine Message & Media.  She was most recently Communications Director for U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).  She also was Speechwriter and Press Secretary for Gov. Phil Bredesen (D-TN) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM).  She worked on the Obama-Biden re-elect and at the 2012 DNC Convention in Charlotte.  (Politico’s “Playbook”)
  • Katherine Vargas is the new Director of Hispanic Media at the White House.  She was previously Communications Director for the National Immigration Forum, and also worked at the National Immigration Law Center and the International Rescue Committee.  She is a native of Colombia who immigrated to the U.S. in 1997.
  • Katie Beirne, the Staff Director for the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center has replaced Jennifer Palmieri as Deputy Communications Director at the White House.  According to Politico, she will be in charge of outreach to surrogates and message coordination with outside groups.  (Politico)
  • Sergio Gor has been named Spokesman for RAND PAC, the political action committee, and presidential campaign in waiting, of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).  Gor was formerly spokesman for Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) and on the campaign of Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA. (Politico)

April 17, 2013

RGA’s Schrimpf to run comms for IL-GOV candidate Rauner

Mike SchrimpfFirst reported in Politico, Republican Governors Association Communications Director Mike Schrimpf is leaving to work for expected gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (R-IL).

To date, Rauner has created an exploratory committee, raising $1.3 million, including a $250,000 contribution from himself.

Schrimpf has served at RGA since 2008.  He previously served as Communications Director for the Center for Competitive Politics.  He got his start working in Hamilton County government in Cincinnati, OH.

Schrimpf is a 2005 graduate of Tufts University.  (Politico)

April 09, 2013

Christie Shuffles Staff: Roberts and Morss to Campaign; Hires Reed

Gov. Chris Christie (TIME Mag cover)First reported by the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) has moved two press aides from his office to his re-election campaign and hired another to replace them.

Deputy Press Secretary Kevin Roberts is moving over to the re-election campaign, beginning April 15.  Roberts has been in the Governor’s office for three years and previously worked on the 2006 gubernatorial campaign of Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and for the California GOP.  He first came to New Jersey to serve as Communications Director for the New Jersey GOP in 2009.

Foster Morss has also moved over to be the campaign’s Research Director.  New Jersey native Morss worked on the 2008 presidential campaign of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-New York City) and as Deputy Press Secretary at the RNC.

Replacing Roberts is Colin Reed, a former Communications Director for former U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA).  Reed previously worked for then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and for VP nominee Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK).  He also worked for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2010.  (New Jersey Star-Ledger)

March 22, 2013

Booker Hires Griffis to run comms on expected U.S. Senate campaign

Cory BookerFirst reported by the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ mayor and likely U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker (D-Newark) has hired Kevin Griffis to run communications for his expected U.S. Senate campaign in 2014.

Griffis is currently a principal at The Podesta Group.  He was most recently Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he served for three years.  Griffis also served as Communications Director for the 2008 Obama campaign in several early primary states.

Earlier in his career Griffis served as Communications Director for the Democratic Party of Virginia and the state’s Coordinated Campaign during Tim Kaine’s successful bid for Governor in 2005.  He then joined Obama for America as an early state communication director, serving in South Carolina.  After running communications in Virginia in the general election, he went on to serve as a spokesperson for President-elect Obama’s inaugural committee.

Griffis began his career as a journalist in Maryland and Atlanta.

He is a graduate of Beloit College. (New Jersey Star-Ledger)

February 07, 2013

Campaign Vet Wilcox Joins Cuccinelli Campaign as Comms Director

Jahan WilcoxJahan Wilcox has been named Communications Director for the 2013 gubernatorial campaign of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA).

Wilcox is a well-traveled campaign vet, having served as Press Secretary at the NRSC last cycle, a regional Press Secretary in the 2010 cycle and in the communications office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  (PF tipster)

January 30, 2013

Obama Campaign Vet Young Returns to Capitol Hill as Press Secretary for House Minority Whip Hoyer

Stephanie YoungFirst reported in Politico’sHuddle,” House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer has named Stephanie Young as Press Secretary in his leadership office.

Young most recently served as Director of Constituency Press for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee and, prior to that, as the Director of Regional Press in Florida for President Obama's re-election campaign.

She previously served on Capitol Hill as Communications Director for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).  (Politico’s “Huddle”)

September 13, 2012

Murphy’s U.S. Senate Campaign Staffs up with Dem Comms Vet Phillips

Rep. Chris Murphy's (D-CT) U.S. Senate campaign this week welcomes Mike Phillips as its new Deputy Chief of Staff in a move signaling a more aggressive posture against Republican nominee Linda McMahon.

Phillips took a leave from his post as Chief of Staff of Communications for the education reform group StudentsFirst, founded by Michelle Rhee, who is the former DC schools chief.  While at StudentsFirst, Phillips managed day-to-day communications strategy and planning for the organization. Prior to that, he served StudentsFirst as Manager for National Research, where he managed the organization's research and rapid response efforts.

Last cycle, Phillips served as Research Director for then-appointed U.S. Senator Michael Bennett's (D-CT) successful election to a full term.  Earlier in his career, he worked at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and on the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT).

Phillips is a graduate of The George Washington University.  (PF tipster)

September 12, 2012

Cornyn Flack Brandewie Takes Leave for Maine U.S. Senate Campaign

Drew BrandewieReported by the Portland Press Herald, Drew Brandewie, the press secretary for U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) has taken a leave of absence to work as Communications Director for the U.S. Senate campaign of Charlie Summers in Maine.

Brandewie currently works for Cornyn and had served on the staff of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) before that.

Brandewie is a 2007 graduate of Vanderbilt University and a native of The Woodlands, TX.  (Portland Press Herald)

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