Meet Alec Ross’ New Campaign Manager and Other Notes From Across the State

By Josh Kurtz

Democratic gubernatorial contender Alec Ross’ campaign manager has been on the job for a week, and he likes what he sees so far.

Shaun Daniels, a former librarian, is a well-traveled political operative who has spent a significant amount of time in Virginia – most recently working for a political action committee and a direct mail firm that helped Democrats make substantial gains in the House of Delegates this fall.

Maryland Democrats are hoping to sustain momentum and learn lessons from the Virginia elections. Daniels, a 40-year-old Kentucky native, said he was trying to be “pretty selective” about his next move, and found Ross, a tech entrepreneur and former Obama administration official, an unconventional and appealing candidate.

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Shaun Daniels

“In Virginia, the person that was working and proposing original ideas, those were the people who won their primaries,” he said, calling Ross’ background “a refreshing difference – it sets him apart from the other candidates.”

“It’s not going to be a traditional primary,” Daniels added. “There’s not going to be a frontrunner…so people are going to have to get to know a lot of candidates.”

Like his fellow Democratic candidates, Ross has spent a substantial amount of time raising money in recent weeks, ahead of the mid-January deadline for filing annual campaign finance reports. Daniels would not comment directly about Ross’ fundraising performance, but said, “I’m happy with it.”

Of course, all Democratic fundraising will pale in comparison to Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who took in $2 million alone at a single fundraising event in Baltimore on Thursday night.

The Ross campaign recently moved into new space in the Station North neighborhood of Baltimore and has seven full-time staffers. And Ross has a consultant team with vast experience in Maryland: David Dixon of Dixon Davis Media Group for media; Rachael Rice of Rice Consulting for fundraising; Global Strategy Group for polling; and Gabby Adler of Gumbinner & Davies for direct mail.

“Alec made early strategic decisions to invest in the race,” Daniels said. “I think he’s built a campaign here that’s going to serve us well.”

Baltimore Business Group Gets New Chairman

The board of directors of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the regional business organization, last week elected Paul Tiburzi, senior partner at DLA Piper and a stalwart of the Annapolis lobbying corps, its new chairman.

Tiburzi is taking over for Stephanie Hill, senior vice president for Corporate Strategy & Business Development at Lockheed Martin. Hill, who is stepping down as GBC chairwoman due to increased responsibilities at the defense contractor.

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Paul Tiburzi

Tiburzi will serve the remainder of Hill’s term, which runs through next May.

“I’m looking forward to working with the entire board to bring private sector ideas and solutions to the pressing problems facing the city and region,” he said.

GBC President and CEO Donald Fry said Tiburzi will bring fresh ideas and energy to the organization.

“Paul Tiburzi has an incredibly sharp mind and a commitment to the Baltimore region,” Fry said. “He will ensure the GBC remains a powerful source for new ideas and an ally that fosters positive lasting change for not just business and government, but communities throughout the region, too.”

Trone’s Five-County Plan

The timing may be coincidental, but David Trone, the wealthy liquor retailer seeking the Democratic nomination in the 6th congressional district, released his top priorities for each of the sprawling district’s five counties late last week.

Candidates emphasize local priorities all the time, but this is one of the rare occasions where the priorities are listed by jurisdiction. That may have something to do with the fact that the district, which stretches from Potomac in Montgomery County to the farthest reaches of Western Maryland, is so different from one end to the other.

It was also released just days after Stuart Rothenberg, the national political analyst, excoriated Trone for apparently campaigning at a venue outside the district – albeit one within close proximity where at least a few of the attendees may have been 6th District voters.

If this was an answer to Rothenberg’s column, a “Yes, I do know my district” rebuttal, its comprehensiveness was notable.

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