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Altmire Hires a New Manager

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Rep. Jason Altmire has a new campaign manager, he announced today. Just in time for his primary battle with Rep. Mark Critz. Angela Ruslander is a former staffer for Rep. Bruce Bailey (D-IA), SEIU, and the successful 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate effort in Delaware.

It’s an interesting move for Altmire, whose organization has a reputation for keeping it in the family.

Ruslander joins Abigail Silverman, a veteran of Altmire’s 2010 campaign, currently serving as Altmire’s fundraising assistant and director of new media. Rachael Heisler, now based in Washington, D.C., managed Altmire’s successful 2010 campaign and continues as his political advisor and Finance Director.

She will square off against Mike Mikus who led both of Critz’s successful 2010 campaigns and Rich Fitzgerald’s surprising victory in the primary for Allegheny County Executive. Perhaps most interesting, Mikus will be working against his former boss: he managed Altmire’s 2008 race against former Rep. Melissa Hart.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Keith Rothfus is in the process of hiring a new CM. Current manager Steph Miller will pursue another opportunity, and is organizing and hiring staff in preparation for the transition.

“It has been my intention and Keith’s all along that I would transition out around the first of the year,” Miller said.

Rothfus remains the only declared GOP candidate. Pa. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai is rumored to be considering a bid; Pa. Rep. Jim Christiana ruled out a run.

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    Fitzgerald aide to lead driller group

    By Mike Wereschagin, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Mike Mikus, who managed Allegheny County Executive-elect Rich Fitzgerald’s campaign, will take over as head of the state chapter of a pro-Marcellus shale drilling group, the group announced on Wednesday.

    The Consumer Energy Alliance, which drums up public support for drilling, announced Mikus’ position as state director about 15 hours after Fitzgerald gave his victory speech at a South Side union hall. Opponents criticized Fitzgerald during the election for a fund-raising e-mail he sent to the executives of drilling companies. Mikus said his new position won’t involve lobbying his old boss, or anyone else.

    Last year, Mikus ran two successful congressional races for U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, a Johnstown Democrat whose victories were a rare bright spot for a Democratic Party that lost control of the House of Representatives.

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