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Keeping Tabs on the Consultants

Keeping track of the Washington's political professional community is a full-time job, but The Fix tries to monitor the comings and goings of pollsters, media advisers, direct-mail pros and others. Here's a look some recent moves in the Democratic consulting world.

* Longtime Democratic direct mail gurus Jim Crounse and Kevin Mack have joined forces to form the Mack Crounse Group.  During the 2004 cycle, Crounse and Mack worked in the D.C. office of Winning Directions before breaking off to start their own partnership.  Mack previously worked as a regional political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Crounse has been a mainstay in the consulting world for nearly three decades, handling a variety of clients from New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to Montana Sen. Max Baucus. Karen Petel, a former campaign director at the DCCC, is also joining the firm.  The firm's clients for 2006 include Richardson, state Sen. Rod Smith, who is running for governor in Florida and state Auditor John Morrison, one of two Montana Democrats seeking to oust Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) next November.

* Two Capitol Hill veterans now working for the United Nations Foundation are forming Point Blank Public Affairs.  Debra DeShong, who has done press for the 2004 presidential campaign of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) as well as former Sen. Robert Torricelli (N.J.). and Amy Weiss, a former communications director at the Democratic National Committee, will be the foundation of the new firm, which will formally launch early next year. Weiss will be based in Washington, D.C., DeShong in Florida. The company will focus on "strategic counseling, crisis communications, message development, advocacy and general public affairs work," according to an e-mail sent by Weiss.

* The Democratic media consulting firm Strother Duffy Strother has changed its name to Strother Duffy Shelton.  The change is for George Shelton, the former communications director at the Democratic Governors Association who has been with the firm since 2001.  The other name partners are Dane Strother and Jim Duffy. The "other" Strother is Raymond, who founded the company in 1976 and is a legend in the world of Democratic consultants.  Ray Strother is still affiliated with the firm (The Fix originally said he is is taking a less active role, but George Shelton e-mailed late Wednesday to say Ray Strother will actually be more involved in the organization's work than during the 2004 cycle). Among their clients: state Sen. Dina Titus, who is running for the open Nevada gubernatorial seat, and Alabama Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley (D), who is seeking a promotion to the state's to job in 2006.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 30, 2005; 1:55 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Political Pros  
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John McCain has turned from an honest, forthright senator into a pander-to-the-right presidential hopeful. It's sickening to see this man, so long regarded as independent and thoughtful, become just another shrewd Republican. He's mending all his fences now: "reconciling" with the Christianists, lauding Bush as a great leader when this very same Bush, campaigning in 2000, circulated vicious lies, rumors and push polls against him.

Posted by: packerbelle | September 5, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I heard from a reliable source that these guys tried to takeover winning directions and were fired. Maybe you should get the facts straight and present them to your readers.

Posted by: larry | February 3, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes,it does! Thank God for John McCain. I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I see good and bad in both parties. However, I would vote for John McCain for President because he is perhaps one of the few honest politicians we have currently on the Hill. He is a highly capable politician who favors doing what is right for this country, a decorated vet, a prisoner of war, but, more importantly, he sees and does what needs to be done in the interest of America and its citizens. He is patriotic not partisian. John McCain will bring back dignity to the White House and forge needed and important friendships with other countries that have been damaged by the current administration. God Bless John McCain and God Bless America. Lord knows we need blessed given the state of corruption that exists with this current administration and with members of Senate and the House.

Posted by: Prefer anonymity | December 5, 2005 11:42 AM | Report abuse

and another "politics blog" at

Posted by: Schadelmann | December 1, 2005 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JonJon | November 30, 2005 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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