Idaho’s Rep. Simpson lands top Romney aides for re-election bid

Two Idahoans who played leading roles in Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid are part of eight-term Republican Rep. Mike Simpson’s re-election campaign.

Travis Hawkes, who helped Romney raise $6 million in Idaho, and Todd Cranney, Romney’s national deputy political director, are senior advisers to Simpson.

Simpson, who hasn’t had a close race since he was first elected in 1998, faces tea party Republican Bryan Smith in the May 2014 primary. No Democrat has yet emerged as a general election opponent, but the prospect of Smith upsetting Simpson is likely to draw a candidate.

Simpson announced the news Monday morning, along with other additions, including campaign manager Brody Aston, finance director for Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador’s 2012 campaign; fundraiser Kendra Waitley, who worked for Gov. Butch Otter’s 2010 campaign; and media consultants Brandon Waters of Arena Communications and Sonny Scott of Rising Tide Media. Portland pollster Bob Moore will remain with the campaign.

“I’m extremely proud of the team we’ve put in place for the 2014 election cycle,” said Simpson in the news release. “Each member is an expert in their respective areas and will be critical to ensuring we’re effectively communicating my conservative record and pro-growth agenda to Idaho voters.”

The news release follows:

Simpson Announces Campaign Team

Boise, ID – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today announced several additions to his campaign team for the upcoming election. Simpson is running for re-election in Idaho’s Second Congressional District and enjoys strong support across Idaho from farmers, ranchers, business leaders, recreationists and many others.  Simpson enjoys an A Plus rating from the National Rifle Association, a 100 percent rating from National Right to Life, and is a frequent recipient of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Free Enterprise award.

Simpson’s re-election campaign leadership will include Senior Advisors Todd Cranney and Travis Hawkes. Cranney has served in leadership roles with multiple national campaigns, most recently as the National Deputy Political Director for the Romney Ryan 2012 campaign. Hawkes served as the Idaho Finance Chair and on the National Finance Committee for the Romney Ryan campaign. Both are Idaho natives.

Brody Aston is Simpson’s Campaign Manager. Aston, with Elect Idaho LLC, operated by Skip Smyser and Jason Kreizenbeck, previously worked on Congressman Raul Labrador’s campaign.

Kendra Waitley is Simpson’s state fundraiser. Waitley owns her own fundraising company and most recently worked on Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s re-elect campaign. Waitley also works with Leadership Idaho Agriculture, City Club of Boise and Julia Davis Park.

Simpson has also put in place an experienced, nationally known team to handle outreach and media which includes Brandon Waters with Arena Communications and Sonny Scott with Rising Tide Media.

Long-time republican pollster Bob Moore will continue his work as a Simpson consultant as well.

“I’m extremely proud of the team we’ve put in place for the 2014 election cycle,” said Simpson. “Each member is an expert in their respective areas and will be critical to ensuring we’re effectively communicating my conservative record and pro-growth agenda to Idaho voters.”

 

 

 

 

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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