Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Harris Hires Damaged Goods

"[S]he's not going to get the top notch political people in the country. She had them and lost them... ."
-- Jim Dornan, one of the former campaign managers for Katherine Harris

The new crew Katherine Harris brought aboard the trainwreck yesterday has no legendary Casey Jones at the throttle -- or anywhere else, for that matter.

We listed the newbies yesterday here. AP reporter Brendan Farrington started digging up the details here:
On the day [Tom] DeLay, R-Texas, resigned from Congress in scandal, his former press secretary, James Lafferty was named Harris' senior adviser. Since leaving DeLay's office, Lafferty has also led an attempt to ban gay marriage in Massachusetts and served as executive director of the Christian Seniors Association, a division of the Traditional Values Coalition.

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Lafferty replaces Ed Rollins, a Republican strategist who was Reagan's political director and campaign manager for Ross Perot's presidential bid.

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Among other new hires is fundraising coordinator Erin DeLullo, who is based outside of Washington D.C. Among her clients are Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and candidates seeking U.S. House seats in Arizona, Hawaii, California and North Dakota.

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In 2002, when serving as a campaign manager for Maryland state Sen. Alex Mooney, DeLullo tried to secretly learn his opponents' strategies by posing as a potential campaign worker in an e-mailed message. She wouldn't discuss the incident.

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DeLullo replaces Anne Dunsmore, who is considered one of the nation's top Republican fundraisers. Dunsmore resigned last month, just before Harris pledged to spend $10 million of her own money to make her campaign competitive.

Glenn Hodas was named campaign manager, replacing Jamie Miller, who resigned last weekend. Hodas' experience is based largely on state senate races in Illinois and he is not well known in Florida. Miller previously worked as a Republican Party of Florida executive director.

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Chris Ingram was hired as communications director. He made headlines in 2003 when he accused his former boss, U.S. Rep. Max Burns, R-Ga., of illegally firing him.
We were guilty of understatement yesterday when we said that at a glance they looked undistinguished. These GOP campaign consultants are damaged goods.

With her own money, Katherine Harris is free to hire any has-been or never-was she likes. But it's worth remembering that U.S. Senators, among other important duties, have a constitutional obligation to "advise and consent" to presidential nominations that fill the highest positions in the federal government, from Homeland Security to the Supreme Court.

Given her inability to retain top-rank people when it's her own money on the line, and the mediocrities (or worse) she has picked to replace them, how can the voters trust Katherine Harris' judgment on any government personnel when the salaries are going to be paid by the taxpayers?

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