Extreme Makeover? Angle Hires Mainstream GOP Team For Her Outsider Campaign

Tom Williams

The teams that brought us Rick Santorum, Rudy Guiliani and John McCain are gearing up to bring America a new conservative hero: Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle.

Just back in the Silver State after her week in D.C., Angle is rolling out her new team of consultants and staff. The group is pulled together from past Republican campaigns and prominent firms on the national circuit. For Angle — charged with pulling off the most high-profile incumbent defeat of the cycle — the team provides a mainstream sheen to her decidedly outsider campaign. National Republicans said they were going to come to her aid, and now we see they have put their money where their mouths were.

The team of consultants has a tough job ahead of it. Angle is facing a hostile local media, a skeptical national media and an opponent in Sen. Harry Reid who has made it clear he intends to put her on the defensive over some of her more extreme positions.

Let’s meet the team tasked with selling Sharron Angle to Nevada’s voters:• John Yob, Senior Adviser — The former McCain ’08 deputy national political director, Yob has taken the strategic helm of the campaign, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this week. More on him, from the paper: “He’s from Michigan and is a Wolverine alum, was big with the College Republicans, is in his early 30s, is the son of national committeeman Chuck Yob.”

The Yob family is a big one in Michigan GOP politics. Notably, they publicly turned on McCain — after years of supporting him — when he made the decision to pull out of Michigan in the height of the ’08 general election. That led to a lasting relationship with Sarah Palin, who also publically voiced her frustration with McCain when the campaign abandoned Michigan in the face of falling polls. (The Washington Examiner reported the connection between the Yobs and Palin may have led to her kicking off her book tour in Cedar Rapids, MI last year.)

Yob’s last job? He was an adviser to Massachusetts independent gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahil, who would clash with both Angle and Palin in a policy debate. (Cahill is pro-choice and pro gay marriage, for example.)

• John Brabender, Media Adviser — Another veteran of the losing side of the 2008 presidential race, Brabender was an adviser to Rudy Giuliani’s campaign two years ago. As The Hill reported, Brabender’s career includes a long stint with a man closer to Angle’s end of the political spectrum than Giuliani: former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), of Jack Abramoff scandal fame, is a past Brabender client. So is Lousiana Sen. David Vitter — no stranger to scandal himself.

In a 2006 article, Salon‘s Joe Conason reported Brabender has “a reputation as a smart, tough and sometimes nasty competitor.”

• Gene Ulm, Pollster — The Hotline reports that Angle has been in talks to hire Ulm’s firm, Public Opinion Strategies, to handle polling for the campaign. The firm is one of the biggest on the GOP side of the business.

• ProsperGroup, New Media and Fundraising — As we reported earlier this month, one of Angle’s first hires was the ProsperGroup — the same group that helped Scott Brown leverage the internet to great success in Massachusetts back in January. So far it looks like that was the right move — according to her website, Angle has raised almost a million dollars online since winning the nomination.

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