McAuliffe did not pick up anyone from Kaine’s successful Senate campaign except direct mail consultant Alan Moore. But McAuliffe has hired people with ties to a potential 2016 candidate — Mook, Hallahan and Garin all worked for the 2008 bid of Hillary Rodham Clinton, a longtime McAuliffe friend.
“Part of the reason Terry has been a successful guy is because he works the phones and brings people together to get the best ideas,” Schwerin said. “We’re lucky to have the 2009 team helping us even as they’ve moved on to new day jobs.”
Meanwhile, Cuccinelli brought back the core of his 2009 operation, including consultant Chris LaCivita, political director Noah Wall and finance director Meredith Quillen Wall (the Walls met on the 2009 campaign and later married).
Dave Rexrode, Cuccinelli’s campaign manager, is a former head of the state Republican party who previously worked for McDonnell’s gubernatorial campaign. Pollster Glenn Bolger, another McDonnell veteran, is also on board, along with a new press team: Jahan Wilcox, formerly of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Anna Nix, whose resume includes campaign stints in Maryland and Florida.
Cuccinelli’s aides know him well and, as Taylor pointed out, “they’ve managed controversial candidates before.” LaCivita and Cuccinelli’s media consultants, Terry Nelson and Jon Downs, also teamed up on the hard-fought reelection campaign of Rep. Alan West (R-Fla.).
Because Cuccinelli is still attorney general — Democrats have criticized him for not resigning as past occupants who ran for governor did — he also has a state-funded staff in Richmond. And issues such as this year’s landmark transportation deal, a politically sensitive bill whose legality had to be assessed by the attorney general, can sometime create tensions between staffs as they discern which should speak for Cuccinelli.
Part of Cuccinelli’s media strategy has been guided by a third group: Shirley & Banister, the firm hired to publicize his book, “The Last Line of Defense.” The promotional effort included radio appearances in places such as Iowa and New Hampshire, moves his Virginia campaign team likely would not have chosen because they did little to help his standing back home.
“There’s always that tension in every campaign of people who are from the state and not from the state,” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic campaign veteran. “People are somewhat lucky in Virginia in that it’s so close to D.C. There’s a lot of very talented people who live there and know the state very well.”