James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

More signs of a 2010 Republican surge

March 3, 2010

Forget the polls. Look at what the lobbyists are doing. Not only are campaign contributions to Republicans on the rise, advocacy firms are looking to hire more GOPers. So says CQ:

With dozens of House Democrats looking vulnerable in November, lobbyists are prepping for narrower Democratic majorities on Capitol Hill next year — or a possible Republican takeover. “Democratic control initially caused a pendulum swing to Democratic-leaning firms,” said Drew Maloney, a Republican, who is managing director of Ogilvy Government Relations. “You’ll see a swing back towards the middle, where firms that have a bipartisan balance of strong players will be well-positioned in the new environment.”

Lobbying shops began adding Democrats to their rosters when the party won the House in 2006. The hiring trend crested two years later, when Barack Obama won the White House and Democrats took a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Since then, tales of hefty six-figure paydays for even junior Democratic aides have wafted throughout the Capitol, enticing many staffers to depart for once-in-a-lifetime salary offers. But with downtown firms now teeming with Democrats — and GOP party leaders betting big on Election Day 2010 — Maloney and other executives are putting Republican resumes on the top of the stack for the first time in four years. Ogilvy recently hired Republicans Justin Daly and John O’Neill to round out the firm’s practice.

Even the Podesta Group and other Democratic-leaning shops are succumbing to the GOP feeding frenzy. Podesta CEO Kimberley Fritts, a Republican, said she has recently hired three Republicans — Steve Northrup, Molly McKew and Robert Taylor — and is looking to perhaps add more.

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