Monday, July 27, 2009

Kay expands Campaign Staff, surpasses Perry's re-election team in growth

Gardner Shelby at the Austin American-Statesman just published an article about significant changes to Senator Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign staff.
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.

“As with any campaign, you build as you go,” Sullivan said. “You don’t hit the ground with a full staff.

“This is big; this is going to be one of the biggest races the country has ever seen outside of a presidential race. This is a multi-dimensional campaign. We want to make sure we’ve got the firepower to win.”

Sullivan, 35, said he’s never managed a gubernatorial campaign. But he previously worked in Texas for Hutchison in 2005, leaving then only after Hutchison chose not to challenge Perry in 2006.

“It’s going to be fun to kick Rick Perry’s record around for the next seven months,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan managed Jim DeMint’s 2004 win of a Senate seat in South Carolina. Later, he coached various Senate campaigns before managing presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s effort in South Carolina in 2008.
Shelby also reports that Kay's campaign staff is larger than Governor Perry's re-election team and growing:
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. Over the past few weeks there has been great speculation about whether Kay should or would drop out of her bid for the Governorship. Shelby's report seems to indicate otherwise; instead Kay's campaign seems strong and organized.

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. (A reader forwarded this Pounder profile from

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.
The continued growth and organization of Kay's camp clearly shows she's ready to fight Governor Perry for the 2010 republican gubernatorial race. Here at KVR we agree with Shelby's assessment that this latest re-organization to her staff is not a shake-up, but rather a strategic build-up of experienced campaign staff. Hold on to your cowboy hat, it looks like Kay's kicking up dust and possibily running Rick outta town.

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