Gillespie hires Obenshain, McDonnell advisers for his Senate run

Ed Gillespie has begun filling out his campaign staff, hiring a handful of Virginia political veterans to help steer his bid to unseat Sen. Mark R. Warner.

Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman who has advised numerous campaigns, won’t be running the show against Warner (D) alone. He has tapped Chris Leavitt to serve as campaign manager, just weeks after Leavitt finished his stint piloting state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain’s attorney general effort.

Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) ran ahead of the rest of the GOP ticket in 2013, narrowly losing to Mark R. Herring (D-Loudoun) after a recount. Perhaps more important, Leavitt helped Obenshain clinch the Republican nomination at a statewide party convention — the same method that will be used to pick this year’s Senate nominee.

Leavitt also ran the reelection campaign of U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) in 2012 and state Sen. Bryce E. Reeves’s (R-Spotsylvania) successful ouster of a Democratic incumbent in 2011.

Also coming from Obenshain’s campaign is Paul Logan, who will serve as Gillespie’s communications director. He previously served for more than two years in the press shop of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R).

Katherine Harris will be Gillespie’s director of scheduling and operations, after spending the past three years as McDonnell’s scheduler. Eric Wilson will be digital director, after holding the same title at American Action Forum, American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund, all conservative advocacy groups.

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