Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has parted company with his short-tenured campaign manager, Ryan Reynolds.
Multiple sources told Maryland Matters that Reynolds, who previously worked for Hogan’s pollster, WPA Intelligence, was abrasive and did not mesh with other campaign staffers and people in the governor’s broader political circle.
Hogan and his top advisers also concluded that the work Reynolds was doing largely duplicated the portfolio of Jim Barnett, the campaign’s general consultant, who started at roughly the same time as Reynolds, in mid-June. Now Barnett has taken over day-to-day operations of Hogan’s re-election effort.
“Jim is in full control,” said Dirk Haire, the chairman of the Maryland Republican Party who doubles as Hogan’s campaign lawyer.
Barnett is a seasoned strategist who specializes in handling races for Republicans in traditionally unfriendly territory, particularly in the Northeast.
Barnett was chairman of the Vermont Republican Party in the early and mid-2000’s and a top aide to then-Gov. Jim Douglas (R), whose campaign he had guided. He also worked for the George W. Bush White House. From 2013-2015, Barnett served as vice president of political affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute of Legal Reform.
Reynolds has been gone from the campaign for about two weeks. A person who answered the phone at WPA Intelligence this week said she did not know how to get in touch with him.
Even though Reynolds did not work out as manager, a Hogan campaign official credited him for laying the early groundwork that has gotten the governor’s re-election effort up and running.
“The campaign’s going to benefit in the long term because of the role he played,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Republicans are bringing in reinforcements for their field operation, which will benefit Hogan’s re-election and other targeted races. The state GOP has hired Meredith Glacken to be its new executive director.
She comes from the Pennsylvania GOP, where she worked during the 2016 cycle as the deputy chief of field operations – and balanced the priorities of President Trump’s campaign and those of Sen. Pat Toomey (R) – even though the two were not fans of one another and occasionally operated at cross purposes.
Despite the title, Glacken won’t be a typical executive director. She’ll principally be heading the party’s field operation, with Haire largely continuing to oversee day-to-day operations at the state party. Patrick O’Keefe remains the state GOP’s political director.
Glacken has previously worked for Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), according to Legistorm, a website that tracks Capitol Hill employment. She’s not the first Maryland GOP staffer to come from the Pennsylvania Republican Party this cycle: Gerry Wosewick, who most recently worked as finance director for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, was hired as the state party’s political director for municipal elections in the spring.
GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER Former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is headlining a fundraiser for the man who served as his lieutenant governor, U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown (D).
O’Malley will help Brown raise money at a cocktail-hour reception Sept. 29 at the Wine Market Bistro in Baltimore’s Locust Point neighborhood, according to an email invitation to the fundraiser.
Immediately after Hogan’s upset victory over Brown in 2014, there was some tension between O’Malley and Brown and their individual camps. Some O’Malley fans thought Brown ran a lackluster campaign that didn’t adequately trumpet the O’Malley-Brown administration’s accomplishments; some Brown loyalists thought O’Malley proved to be a drag on the Democratic ticket.
But they are back together and, apparently, willing to help each other politically.
TEAM OF RIVALS? One little-noticed aspect of the recent merger between two Maryland political strategy firms – Mayson-Dixon Strategic Consulting and TruBlue Politics – is that it brings together operatives with ties to the two leading contenders to replace House Speaker Mike Busch (D).
Mayson-Dixon and its leader, Jayson Williams, have long been advising House Economic Matters Chairman Dereck Davis (D). TruBlue Politics used to have a strategic partnership with House Appropriations Chairwoman Maggie McIntosh (D), who has run a political consulting business of her own.
McIntosh and Davis are considered the top contenders to succeed Busch, whenever he retires, and have been eyeing each other warily for the past several months. Political insiders have breathlessly speculated about which Democrat has the advantage.
But with Busch’s health apparently improving, the Davis-McIntosh battle may be put off indefinitely. Busch has already filed for re-election.
At any rate, it’s kind of interesting to note that the merger has brought together political associates of Davis and McIntosh – just another example of how small and incestuous the Maryland political world can be.