Despite Republican efforts to promote the hiring of GOP loyalists for significant lobbying jobs, Timmons and Co., which has solid Republican bona fides, has made two new big lobbying hires -- both Democrats -- from the Hill.

The two, who will start after the first of the year, are Daniel Turton, senior floor assistant for the House Democratic leadership and a longtime aide to outgoing House Democratic leader Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), and Alan Hoffman, chief of staff to Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.).

Timmons President Larry Harlow noted the firm is currently 6 to 1 Republican; only Richard J. Tarplin, the chairman of the company's board, is a Democrat, after moves by Timothy J. Keating and Ellen Fitzgibbons.

"Our clients obviously have a need for us to be bipartisan," Harlow said, adding that he and his Republican colleagues give to the legal limit for GOP political candidates.

Turton and Hoffman got high marks from Republican staffers on the Hill.

Peter Jeffries, head of communications for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), said Turton has always been professional and a "straight shooter," who worked closely with the staff of the Republican House leadership.

Makan Delrahim, staff director for Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) while Hatch was chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said of Hoffman: "He's a good friend of mine."

Delrahim noted that with the slim majority in the Senate, Democrats cannot be ignored by lobbyists: "You still need 60 votes [to break a filibuster]. You need both sides of the aisle."

Also at the lobby shop, Bill Timmons Jr., who joined in 2000 as director of research, has moved up to vice president.

Cassidy & Associates Hires Ex-Lott Aide

While Timmons has been busy hiring Democrats, Cassidy & Associates is going after Republicans. And with the change of party control of the Senate, Cassidy may have picked up a hot one.

The new Cassidy lobbyist is C. Stevens Seale, a government relations consultant on his own, who had been chief counsel to then -- and soon-to-be-again -- Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.). A fellow Mississippian, Seale was elected to two terms of the state Senate but says he resigned at Lott's request that he come to Washington.

Seale left the Hill in 1999 and joined the law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, moving on in April 2000 to be co-chairman the government relations practice of the Washington office of Reed Smith. He's been on his own since April, lobbying for the Business Roundtable and Dow.

"It's a good platform," Seale said of Cassidy & Associates. "They're the No. 1 show."

Although the lobby shop began talking to Seale before the Republicans took back the Senate, Gerald Cassidy, chief executive of Cassidy & Associates, noted that the company had sought Seale partly because he had "very unique legislative experience" as chief counsel to Lott, as well as knowing how to navigate the Hill.

The lobby shop has a "Democratic" reputation -- Cassidy is a prominent Democrat -- but he said the 40 lobbyists are evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

Said Cassidy: "Timmons has been around a long time, and so have we. To stay around a long time" one must recognize "it's a business, not a political campaign."

Trio Leaves Qorvis for Clark & Weinstock

Judy Smith, who provided crisis management communications for such high-profile clients as Monica S. Lewinsky, and grass-roots specialists Bernie Merritt and James D. Weber are leaving Qorvis Communications, the company they help found to join the Clark & Weinstock lobby shop.

Qorvis -- no "u" -- had been founded about two years ago to be a player in the area's lobbying-high tech-investor relations-public affairs community, formed by Michael Petruzzello, the former CEO of what was Shandwick North America, Smith, Merritt, Weber and the Poretz Group. A key investor in Qorvis is the Patton Boggs law firm. Qorvis has been in the news this year for its multimillion dollar effort at trying to improve the image of the government of Saudia Arabia with the American people

Smith, Merritt and Weber said in a statement that they wanted "to move into more strategically driven relationships with clients in the public affairs arena."

Vin Weber, a former GOP House member, said yesterday that the lobby shop's clients increasingly have been asking for a "grass-roots-lobbying and high-level public relations" capability.

Petruzzello said there were "no real problems. But somebody turned their head. I think they got an offer they couldn't refuse . . . they're going to a good firm." The loss of Smith, Merritt and Weber, Petruzzello said, won't hurt Qorvis' bottom line; 2002 revenues are approaching $11 million and employees number 45, he said..

At the same time, Qorvis is bringing on as partners Michael Tucker and Curtis Robinson from The Direct Impact Co., a "grass-roots constituent response" firm. Petruzzello said the addition of Tucker and Robinson "will add a new dimension to our campaign-style approach to public affairs.

U.S. Telecom Appoints Lobbying Chief

J. Brad Edwards moves up at the U.S. Telecom Association to head the trade group's congressional lobbying, political action committee activities and grass-roots efforts. Edwards, a former lobbyist for the American Council of Life Insurers, started out in Washington as an aide to Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). He succeeds Michael Rubin, who left earlier this year to do federal relations for Qwest.