Just weeks before formally declaring for governor, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has changed campaign managers and enlisted additional senior advisers and consultants, though the departing manager and his replacement said Monday the changes aren’t a sign of shakiness in her effort.
The departure of manager Rick Wiley for a senior role in a Wisconsin campaign is to be announced shortly along with the hiring of Terry Sullivan of South Carolina as his replacement.
Wiley and Sullivan said the change in leadership, finalized last week, was not in reaction to Hutchison losing ground to GOP Gov. Rick Perry in recent polls. Instead, the two said, the addition of new staff and consultants reflected timely growth in a campaign intent on making history.
Hutchison’s campaign, which already exceeded the size of Perry’s operation, is also set to reveal other hires, which Wiley and Sullivan characterized as signs of a promising build-up rather than a troubling shake-up.
Two individuals will focus on communication with reporters and a third will be handling rapid response to incidents and sallies from Perry’s campaign.
Jeff Sadosky’s arrival as press secretary amounts to no surprise considering Hutchison’s campaign earlier this year retained Hans Klingler, formerly with the Republican Party of Texas, as communications director but didn’t immediately designate a press secretary entrusted with day-to-day reporter contacts. Sadosky took the campaign job this week after joining Hutchison’s Washington staff as communications director earlier this year.
The campaign’s new senior communications adviser, Jennifer Coxe-Baker, previously helped Mel Martinez of Florida win a Senate seat. She also was a spokeswoman for the Bush administration’s Secretary of Labor.
Joe Pounder, designated the deputy communications director, will focus on rapid response. He has worked for U.S. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican Whip, for whom he composed this blog today, and Romney’s presidential campaign.
Sullivan said two Dallas-based consultants—already affiliated with Scott Howell, who’s handling Hutchison’s TV advertising—will play significant roles going forward. Heath Thompson, who was a regional political director in the Bush-Cheney campaign of 2004, will focus on strategy, while Todd Harris, who’s been a spokesman for Florida’s Jeb Bush, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. John McCain, will be a point person on communications. Harris was once called a “spinner extraordinaire” by “Roll Call,” the Washington newspaper.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Kay's campaign changes horses in mid stream...
Gardner Selby confirms what one of my Rick loving sources has been sending me for many days now... that Kay was firing a lot of people and bringing new people in. I was skeptical because that just seemed like mind games, but this really boosts his credibility. Gardner has a long run down of the changes (link). Excerpts follow...
I don't think you would be seeing this level of wholesale changes if Kay and her team really believed that she was winning.
These are big shake ups. Campaign staffs can play a role but I wouldn't hold my breath about this changing the entire board. The candidates themselves are the real drivers though. Rick has been outdoing Kay, not his staff.