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Talent and Organization

Glimmerings of possible presidential campaign organizations can sometimes be seen in the leadership PACs and other political committees associated with presidential prospects.

Through end of 2010 only; see more recent edition here.
See also "Inner Circle" by the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza.

Haley Barbour

Key people in Gov. Haley Barbour's realm include Nick Ayers, who served as executive director at the Republican Governors Association in the 2010 cycle, and nephew Henry Barbour, who is the Republican National Committeeman for the state of Mississippi and managed Barbour's 2003 campaign for governor.

Mitch Daniels

Brian McGrath served as executive director of Gov. Mitch Daniels' Aiming Higher PAC.  Previously he was Assistant Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development Partnerships for the Department of Workforce and Economic Development at Ivy Community College.  Finance director on Daniels' 2008 re-election campaign.  Director of Development and Director of Programs and State Relations at the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation.  Finance director for the Indiana Republican Party.  B.A. from Indiana University.  Katie Thomas served as the PAC's finance director.

Newt Gingrich

About thirty people work in former Speaker Newt Gingrich's empire of organizations, including his 527 group American Solutions.  Joe Gaylord is among the top advisors.  Gaylord served as president of Chesapeake Associates, a political consulting firm.  He was on the Board of Directors of GOPAC from 1989-99. He worked at the NRCC for eight years from 1981-89, including six years as executive director.  He worked at the RNC, including in the local elections campaign division, from 1975-81; while at the RNC he developed the Campaign Management College.  Gaylord started at the Republican State Central Committee in Iowa working in positions from field rep. to executive director.  Rick Tyler, Gingrich's spokeman, has worked for him for over ten years.  He is the founding director of Renewing American Leadership, a 501(c)(3) organization which seeks "to preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage by defending and promoting the three pillars of American civilization: freedom, faith and free markets." (Gingrich is honorary chairman). Tyler was a candidate field trainer for GOPAC for 10 years.  He has also served as executive director of the Maine Republican Party.  Also note a New Hampshire addition to the Gingrich team, Harry Levine >.

Mike Huckabee

Hogan Gidley is executive director of HUCK PAC (announced Feb. 2010). He served as communications director for Sen. Elizabeth Dole (NC)'s re-election campaign in 2008. Executive director of the South Carolina Republican party in 2006-07.  Worked for Richard Quinn and Associates, where he served as campaign adviser and spokesperson to South Carolina Gov. David Beasley. From 2000-04, Gidley worked in a variety of roles for Gov. Mike Huckabee, including director of media operations.  Another key Huckabee-ite is Huckabee's daughter, Sarah Huckabee, who most recently served as campaign manager on Rep. John Boozman's successful U.S. Senate campaign in Arkansas.  She headed the PAC from its founding in April 2008, after serving as national field director on his presidential campaign.

Gary Johnson +

Former Gov. Gary Johnson's top political advisor is Salt Lake City-based Ron Neilsen, who directs Johnson's 501(c)(4) OUR America Initiative and who ran Johnson's first campaign for governor.

Sarah Palin +

Media accounts describe former Gov. Sarah Palin's Sarah PAC as operating with something of an "ad hoc" approach with little emphasis on hierarchy and titles.  Among those in the inner circle are, first, husband Todd Palin and then Andrew Davis, Rebecca Mansour, Timothy Crawford and attorney Thomas Van Flein

George Pataki

Among those on Pataki's team at Revere America are Christopher Larson, managing director of the Pataki-Cahill Group, David Catalfamo of Capitol Public Strategies in Albany, Kim Minarich, who does scheduling at Revere America, and policy advisor Jim Wooten.

Tim Pawlenty +

Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed up top notch operatives Phil Musser, Terry Nelson and Sarah Taylor as senior advisors to his Freedom First PAC; Musser a former advisor to Romney and executive director of the Republican Governors Association, has had the most visible role.  In the Fall, Freedom First PAC put a couple of recent college grads on the ground as staff in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Mitt Romney +

Former Gov. Mitt Romney has kept quite a few familiar faces from his 2008 campaign on at his Free & Strong America PAC.  Leading the PAC day to day is executive director Matt Rhoades, who served as communications director on the '08 campaign.  Beth Myers, Peter Flaherty and Eric Fehrnstrom, also from the '08 campaign, are all advising Romney.

Rick Santorum +

Among former Sen. Santorum's advisors are Virginia Davis, who handles media and press management at his America's Foundation PAC and started with Santorum as a press assistant in 2000 and Randall J. Brandt, who is program director for Santorum's Program to Protect America's Freedom at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and who served as counsel to Sen. Santorum from 1999-2005 and as deputy chief of staff and counsel to the Senate Republican Conference from 2005-06.  In Iowa, DMR's Tom Beaumont reported in Aug. 2010 that Nick Ryan, former Rep. Jim Nussle's top political advisor, is serving as an advisor.

John Thune

Justin Brasell ran Thune's uncontested 2010 re-election campaign.  However, Roll Call reported Brasell is setting up a consulting firm in Jackson, Mississippi. He ran Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's 2008 re-election campaign.  Chief of staff to Rep. Geoff Davis (KY), 2005-07.  Graduate of the University of Mississippi.

Herman Cain

Scott D. Toomey of Orlando, FL is treasurer of the Hermanator PAC.  He is president and chief creative officer of Junior's Promotions. since Sept. 2004.  He was a director at BNI in Wisconsin, coaching and training small business owners and others, 2007-09.  Political director on Russ Darrow for U.S. Senate, 2003-04.  Assistant sales manager at Pacesetter Window Corporation, 2001-03.  Organizational director at the Republican Party of Wisconsin, 1999-2001.  Business finance specialist at the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, first part of 1999.  Coalition coordinator on the Governor Thompson Committee, 1998.  B.S. in business administration and finance from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. 

Fred Karger

On Nov. 22, 2010 Karger named Nathan Treloar as his exploratory committee's Iowa state director.  Treloar runs a consulting firm providing voter outreach and communications services.  He managed Mark Rees' June 2010 primary campaign in Iowa's 3rd CD.  He worked as communications director, House Majority Fund finance director and a county organizer for the Republican Party of Iowa.  Degree in political science from Iowa State University.  Native of Ogden, Iowa (Boone County).  Kevin Miniter, a 2005 Georgetown University graduate (interdisciplinary studies), is Karger's traveling aide.  He is originally from Waterbury, Connecticut.