Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Georgia: Handel Announces Senior Campaign Team

Secretary of State Karen Handel today announced the top members of her campaign team, a group with more than 145 years of accumulated campaign experience and a solid record of political victories in Georgia and around the country.

“I am very excited to have been able to have put together such a top notch team for my campaign for Governor,” Handel said. “We are going to run a strong grassroots and issues-based effort that focuses on solving the problems that face all Georgians and giving them a government that truly serves them.”

The members of Karen’s senior campaign team are:

Marty Ryall – Campaign Manager

Marty Ryall has over twenty years of political experience in more than 25 states and two foreign countries. In Georgia, he managed the successful campaigns of Senator Paul Coverdell (the first Republican Senator to be re-elected in Georgia history) and Karen Handel for Secretary of State. He also managed campaigns for Governor Ernie Fletcher in Kentucky and Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina. He was a senior advisor for the campaigns of Governor Mike Huckabee and Senator Tim Hutchinson in Arkansas, and for Elizabeth Dole’s Presidential Campaign in 2000.

He has extensive party experience, having served as Executive Director of two state parties, Arkansas and Delaware, as state party chair in Arkansas, and Southern Political Director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He has also done extensive political work promoting democracy in Liberia and Nigeria.

Ryall has a degree in International Relations from Florida State University.

Dan McLagan – Communications Consultant and Spokesman

Dan’s political clients have included four presidential candidates (Bush ’88 and ’92, Alexander ’96, and McCain 2000) Governors (including current Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue), U.S. Senators (including the late Paul Coverdell), Oliver North, Rick Lazio (against Hillary Clinton in 2000) as well as the National Republican Senatorial Committee where he served as Press Secretary.

McLagan attended the School of International Service at the American University in Washington, D.C. and is also a graduate of the university’s respected Campaign Management Institute. A native Minnesotan, long-time resident of Washington D.C. and short time resident of a dozen U.S. states, he now resides in Atlanta.

Leigh Ann Gillis – Finance Director

Leigh Ann Wood Gillis is a native of Macon, GA. During 2007-2008, she served as Georgia Finance Director for John McCain for President as well as McCain Victory 2008. She was Executive Director of Georgia Inaugural 2007. During the 2006 election cycle, Gillis served as finance consultant for Governor Perdue’s re-election and the Georgia Republican Party. She served as Finance Director for Perdue for a New Georgia in 2002. Following Governor Perdue’s swearing in, she served as his Director of Executive Appointments for two years. Gillis has spent 15 years electing Republicans to office in Georgia, beginning in 1994 with the first campaign of then Congressman Saxby Chambliss.

Gillis is married to Jordan Gillis, an Iraq war veteran. They are parents of two small children and worship at the Northside Methodist Church.

Sherry Roedl – Deputy Finance Director

Sherry M. Roedl, comes to the Handel team from the non-profit sector, having served as Executive Director for the Cobb Symphony Orchestra, where her primary responsibilities included fundraising and marketing. During her tenure with the Cobb Symphony, Sherry helped to found the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble (MAYWE) and served as its Executive Director. In addition, Sherry served as President of the Board of Directors of Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra of Atlanta (MYSO). Under Sherry’s leadership, these two youth ensembles had the distinct honor of performing at Carnegie Hall. She is also a licensed real estate broker and a graduate of Kennesaw State University. Sherry is the wife of Frank Roedl, Executive Vice President with Bank of North Georgia. The Roedls have two grown daughters and are long-time residents of East Cobb.

Andrew Claxton – State Field Director

Andrew is an experienced field director on local and statewide races in Georgia. Most recently he managed State Senator Judson Hill's campaigns in 2004 and 2006.

Andrew was a paratrooper in the Georgia Army National Guard and is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has a BS in Political Science from Kennesaw State University and has conducted graduate studies at George Washington University.

Emotive – Online Campaign Consultants

emotive, llc and its employees bring over 80 years of cumulative political experience and over 40 years in the Internet space. In the last two cycles they have worked on dozens of statewide campaigns including George Allen for Senate, Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor, Green For Governor, McConnell Senate Committee, Dino Rossi For Governor, and work for major national political institutions including the Heritage Foundation, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Dr. Whit Ayers – Pollster

Whit Ayres provided polling for Georgia Senator Paul Coverdell's upset of Wyche Fowler in 1992 and Tennessee Senator Bill Frist's upset of Jim Sasser in 1994. Other political clients include U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former Governors David Beasley and Carroll Campbell of South Carolina, and the 1996 Lamar Alexander for President campaign. Other Georgia political clients include Karen Handel for Fulton County Commission Chair and Secretary of State, Mike Kenn for Fulton County Commission Chair, Wayne Hill for Gwinnett County Commission Chair, Bill Byrne for Cobb County Commission Chair, Congressman Bob Barr, Guy Millner for Governor and Mike Bowers for Governor. Corporate clients include the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts of America, Georgia-Pacific Corporation, America's Health Insurance Plans, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and Environmental Defense Fund.

His comments and analysis appear periodically in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and numerous regional newspapers. He also appears periodically on Fox News, CNN, and National Public Radio. He has been a guest speaker at the prestigious Sperling Breakfast for Washington's leading journalists, and he has on several occasions addressed the Policy Lunch attended by most Republican members of the United States Senate.

He graduated cum laude from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, with a major in political science. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ron Butler – Direct Mail

Ron Butler is President of Creative Direct, LLC, a direct mail firm located in Richmond, Virginia specializing in voter contact direct mail. Prior to forming Creative Direct, Ron managed many successful campaigns, including the campaign of Virginia Lieutenant Governor John Hager. He served for five years as Political Director for the Republican Party of Virginia and worked as Field Director for the Republican National Committee. Ron Butler has been working full-time on behalf of Republican candidates since 1985.

Under Ron Butler's leadership, Creative Direct has worked on behalf of more winning US Senate and Governor races than any other direct mail company. Ron Butler was a key part of Sonny Perdue’s 2002 campaign for Governor, as well as the 2006 reelection effort. In addition, he worked with the Georgia Republican Party during the 2004 campaign when they won control of the Georgia House and Senate.

In 2002, other Creative Direct clients included Governor Bob Riley (AL), Senator Susan Collins (ME) Senator Jim Talent (MO) and Congressman Eric Cantor (VA). In 2004 Creative Direct was involved in every winning GOP challenge race for the US Senate – including the toughest races: John Thune (SD), Mel Martinez (FL), Tom Coburn (OK) and David Vitter (LA). Creative Direct also produced the winning mail for Governor Matt Blunt (MO) and the Georgia Republican Party’s successful effort to take control of both the House and Senate for the first time in history.

In 2006, the toughest year for Republicans in decades, our clients were beating the odds, including Senator Bob Corker (TN), Governor Sonny Perdue (GA), Secretary of State Karen Handel (GA), Attorney General Bill McCollum (FL) and two of the top targeted congressional races in the nation.
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