Perry Campaign Announces Top Staff

Deirdre Delisi, Chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, attends a meeting on July 29, 2010.
Deirdre Delisi, Chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, attends a meeting on July 29, 2010.

Gov. Rick Perry announced who's running his presidential campaign Friday, finally bestowing official titles on the staff that has already brought him into hallowed front-runner status in a matter of a couple of weeks.

There weren't any big surprises, but one job that hadn't been widely discussed before Perry announced on Aug. 13 was political director. That role will be filled by Wayne Hamilton, former longtime executive director of the Texas Republican Party and a former aide to U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington. Hamilton, an expert at staging political events, has deep ties to evangelical leaders and activists. Courting them is a key part of Perry's strategy.

Perry's former speechwriter, Eric Bearse, also got an official title Friday. Bearse, who most recently handled press for The Response prayer event in Houston, will be deputy communications director. As expected, Ray Sullivan, Perry's former chief of staff, will be serving as communications director. Longtime spokesman Mark Miner, a former top aide to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (and Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore before that), will be national press secretary.

Katherine Cesinger, longtime spokeswoman in the Texas governor's office, has moved to the presidential campaign to serve as state press director, dealing with coverage from state media outlets around the country. Robert Black, who served as Perry's spokesman from 2003 to 2008, is hitting the road as traveling press secretary. Black most recently served as director of governmental affairs for American Electric Power.

As expected, Rob Johnson, the former chief of staff to David Dewhurst who went off to head up Perry's successful re-election effort in 2010, will be the campaign manager. And Deirdre Delisi, chairwoman of the Texas Transportation Commission and a former Perry chief of staff, is "policy and strategy director" for the presidential campaign.

There was no mention in the press release of Dave Carney, the New Hampshire-bred political guru who has run Perry's statewide campaigns since 1998, but he likes it that way. Carney remains the governor's top consultant and uber-strategist.

 

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