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One GOP Political Aide Counts Herself Lucky

Battered by the Democrats' perfect storm, many haggard Republican aides are pounding the pavement in search of work. But one GOP operative who has emerged a lucky survivor of last week's wipe-out election is Karen Hanretty, chief spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Hanretty, who ran the press shop during the NRCC's most tumultuous time in recent history, has accepted a job with Qorvis Communications, one of Washington's powerhouse public relations (and lobbying) firms.

Her job at Qorvis, where she'll be a managing director, is one big cushy landing considering where she came from.

When Hanretty was hired to handle the House Republican political committee's doomed 2008 election effort, the NRCC was gripped by a million-dollar embezzlement scandal, faced three special-election challenges -- all of which Democrats won -- and was marred by infighting between NRCC Chairman Tom Cole and House Minority Leader John Boehner. Add to that the lowest presidential approval ratings in history and the economic meltdown and, well, you get the picture.

"Things can only get better from here," Hanretty joked during a telephone chat Tuesday.

But Hanretty didn't take the 2008 losses as personally as some of her colleagues who had grown accustomed to the comforts of power. Before the NRCC, she worked for several years in California, a.k.a. The Left Coast, where Republicans seldom find themselves in positions of power unless, of course, they're otherwise known as "the Terminator." Hanretty worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2003 gubernatorial campaign, the California Republican Party and the state legislature.

Good thing she's used to being in the minority -- she certainly will be at the Democratic-heavy Qorvis. But then again, the Democrats at Qorvis may never have taken notice of her had she not shown up so often on cable TV shows debating the likes of Democratic talking head Rich Masters, a partner at Qorvis.

Hanretty is scheduled to begin her new "civilian" gig on Dec. 1.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  November 11, 2008; 6:00 PM ET
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