He doesn't even have the GOP nomination yet, but former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie (R) is staffing up in his challenge to Sen. Mark Warner (D).
Gillespie added a number of staffers from the recently completed campaign of Mark Obenshain for Attorney General.
He has a big hill to climb. A new Roanoke College poll, (which is not the most accurate pollster but usually leans republican in their predictions) shows Gillespie trailing Warner by almost 30 points. Conservatives say the head to head number is not relevant given their candidate's early entry into the race. They find encouragement in the fact that Warner's favorability is fading in Roanoke's surveys.
Meanwhile Gillespie still has to survive a GOP convention against two hard core conservatives. He could face another entrant. Conservative Del. Ben Cline confirmed to me yesterday that he is still mulling a challenge, but it is not something he is "actively" seeking.
Here is a list of the new staff team for Gillespie direct from the campaign:
Ed Gillespie for Senate Campaign Announces Four New Staffers
ALEXANDRIA – The Ed Gillespie for Senate campaign announced four new staffers today: Katherine Harris, Director of Scheduling and Operations; Chris Leavitt, Campaign Manager; Paul Logan, Communications Director; and Eric Wilson, Digital Director.
Speaking about his campaign team, Ed Gillespie said, “These hires are the nucleus of a talented and experienced campaign team that will help carry our positive message to every corner of the Commonwealth. I’m thrilled to have them on board, and look forward to building out a top-notch campaign over the coming months.”
Brief bios are available below:
Katherine Harris, Director of Scheduling and Operations
Katherine Harris most recently worked at the Republican State Leadership Committee in Washington, DC. Previously, she served as Director of Scheduling in the administration of Governor Bob McDonnell from 2011 - 2013 and as Special Assistant for Appointments in the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Office prior to that. Harris also worked as Finance Assistant on McDonnell's 2009 campaign for governor as well as on his Inaugural planning committee. Harris has a degree in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is from Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Chris Leavitt, Campaign Manager
Chris Leavitt recently managed Senator Mark Obenshain’s campaign for Attorney General during the 2013 election cycle. Chris Leavitt also managed Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s reelection campaign in 2012. Leavitt during the 2011 election cycle managed Senator Bryce Reeves’ run for State Senate, which ousted twenty eight year incumbent Senator Edd Houck of Spotsylvania. In 2010 Leavitt served as a Regional Director for the Michigan Republican party during the general election and as Political Director for Gubernatorial candidate Sheriff Mike Bouchard. During the 2009 campaign cycle in Virginia he served as a Regional Director for the Republican Party of Virginia in Albemarle County. Leavitt graduated from the University of Maine in 2008 with a degree in Political Science.
Paul Logan most recently worked as Director of Communications for Mark Obenshain during his 2013 campaign for Virginia Attorney General and the recount. Paul Logan served in the administration of Governor Bob McDonnell from January, 2011 to June, 2013 as Deputy Press Secretary then Deputy Communications Director. Logan formerly served as Deputy Director of Political Communications for the Republican Governors Association, overseeing their national tracking efforts in the 2010 mid-term elections. During McDonnell's 2009 campaign for governor he served as Research Coordinator. During the 2008 Presidential election Logan worked on Senator John McCain's campaign as Press Assistant to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Communications Director. Logan graduated from Tulane University in 2008 with a degree in English and Economics and a minor in Political Science. He is a native of Arlington, Virginia.
Eric Wilson joins the campaign from the American Action Forum, the American Action Network, and the Congressional Leadership Fund where he served as Digital Director. From November 2009 - February 2013 Wilson worked at Engage as a Client Strategist where he managed the firm's congressional clients and digital advertising. Prior to joining Engage, he worked on Capitol Hill at the House Republican Policy Committee and in the office of Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. Wilson graduated from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee in 2007 with a degree in Mathematics. He is a proud native of Wichita Falls, Texas.