Meet Karen Handel’s Campaign Team

Karen Handel has released the make up of her campaign team. It looks like a good group of folks, which will help make for an interesting next year of campaigning in this race. Here’s the quick run down but the full details are after the break.

  • General Consultant – Chris LaCivita
  • Campaign Manager — Corry Bliss
  • Treasurer – Roger Santi
  • Legal Consultants — Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP
  • Pollster – Whit Ayres
  • Communications Consultant: Dan McLagan, Tactical Communications Solutions
  • Finance Consultant: Ashlee Reid Morehouse
  • Direct Mail: Ron Butler, Creative Direct
  • Internet/Social Media: Vincent Harris, Harris Media, LLC
  • Scheduling: Sarah Beth Kirbo
  • Grassroots Coordinator: Tori Wester



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    CONTACT:             DAN McLAGAN

MONDAY, JULY 8, 2013                                                             678-429-8524

Handel Announces Senate Campaign Team


ROSWELL, GA – Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel today announced her US. Senate senior campaign team.  It includes political professionals with extensive Georgia and national experience.

“Running an ethical and effective campaign that thoroughly addresses the issues is as important to me as winning,” Karen said.  “This team is going to help me do both. They are highly-regarded, experienced and uncompromising in their personal and political standards and I am proud to have them by my side as we work to find solutions for Georgia and America.”

The Handel for Senate Campaign Team includes:

General Consultant – Chris LaCivita

Chris is a nationally known Republican political consultant, former U.S. Marine and recipient of the Purple Heart from his service in the Persian Gulf War. LaCivita has twice served as Political Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). Under his leadership at NRSC, Republicans gained control of the U.S. Senate in 2002 and 5 U.S. Senate seats in 2010.  In 2004 and in 2012, LaCivita served as a strategic consultant to the NRSC.  Also in 2004, LaCivita was  the chief strategist  to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and co-producer of their TV ads.  LaCivita has consulted on races across the country, including campaigns for U.S. Senators George Allen and Bob Corker. In addition to his role in Karen Handel’s campaign for U.S. Senate, LaCivita is currently the general consultant for Ken Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial campaign in Virginia.

Campaign Manager — Corry Bliss

Corry is an attorney who started his political career in Virginia. During the 2012 election cycle, Corry managed Linda McMahon’s Senate race in Connecticut overseeing a $50 million dollar budget and a grassroots campaign that made over 2 million voter contacts. Prior to that he managed a Governor’s race in Vermont and several races in Virginia at the state and federal levels. Corry is a graduate of Boston University and the CUNY School of Law.

Treasurer – Roger Santi

Roger received his CPA designation in 1990 from the Georgia State Board of Accountancy and the North Carolina State Board of Accountancy. Roger graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration majoring in Accounting. He has practiced in the field of public accounting for 28 years.   He served as Treasurer for Karen’s Secretary of State and gubernatorial races and as an advisor to John Linder’s congressional campaigns.

Legal Consultants — Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP

Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP is an Atlanta law firm recognized for its expertise in election law and campaign finance.  The firm represents candidates, campaign committees, political action committees and SuperPACs in state and federal elections. The firm has a long history of doing legal work in government and politics, including representing the Georgia General Assembly and the State of Georgia during the successful 2011 redistricting and in the Voter ID litigation.

Pollster – Whit Ayres

Dr. Whit Ayres is a leading Washington, D.C. political consultant with over 30 years of experience in polling and survey research for high profile political campaigns and associations.

As President of North Star Opinion Research, ( a national public opinion and public affairs research firm located in Alexandria, Virginia, Whit provides message development advice and strategic insights to high level political clients including U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham, and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, and association clients including the Boy Scouts of America, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.  He also served as Karen’s pollster in her Secretary of State and gubernatorial campaigns.

Whit is a frequent commentator on network and cable media outlets including NBC’sMeet the Press, FOX News, CNN, NPR and the BBC.  His comments and analysis appear in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and numerous regional newspapers.

Whit founded his company after a career as a tenured professor at the University of South Carolina. Whit is a graduate of Davidson College and holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Communications Consultant: Dan McLagan, Tactical Communications Solutions

Dan McLagan served as a spokesman and public relations strategist for some of the highest profile political candidates of the last two decades; and also fought intensive PR battles in the private sector.  

In Georgia, Dan served as Communications Director for Sonny Perdue’s long-shot gubernatorial campaign in 2002, and as the Governor’s spokesman at the State Capitol from 2003 to 2007.  He also served as spokesman for Karen’s campaign for Governor in 2010.  His political clients have included four presidential candidates (Bush ’88 and ’92, Alexander ’96, and McCain 2000) Governors, U.S. Senators (including the late Paul Coverdell), as well as the National Republican Senatorial Committee, where he served as Press Secretary.

Finance Consultant: Ashlee Reid Morehouse

Ashlee Reid Morehouse is the founder of Oorbeek Morehouse Strategies, a Republican fundraising and campaign consulting firm with extensive relationships in Georgia and Washington, D.C.  Ashlee has served on numerous campaigns for Governor, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives in roles including campaign manager, political director, finance director, and as senior strategist in polling and fundraising.

Direct Mail: Ron Butler, Creative Direct

Ron Butler is President of Creative Direct, one of the most successful Republican voter contact direct mail firms in the nation.  Creative Direct’s clients have included The Republican Governor’s Association, The National Republican Senatorial Committee, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Congressman Tom Graves, Governor Sonny Perdue, Karen Handel for Governor, Senator Bob Corker, Senator John Thune, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and more than a dozen members of the Georgia House and Senate.  Prior to forming Creative Direct, Ron managed many successful campaigns, and he served for five years as Political Director for the Republican Party of Virginia and worked as Field Director for the Republican National Committee.

Internet/Social Media: Vincent Harris, Harris Media, LLC

Harris first garnered national attention for his work on behalf of Mike Huckabee’s Presidential campaign, and subsequently ran digital for the Presidential campaigns of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. Recently he head up digital operations for Ted Cruz’ successful U.S. Senate campaign.  He was named the youngest “Rising Star” in politics by Campaigns & Elections Magazine.  Other clients have included Florida Governor Rick Scott, Governor Nikki Haley, and Governor Jan Brewer. 

Scheduling: Sarah Beth Kirbo

Sarah Beth has served as a communications specialist in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office under Karen Handel and Brian Kemp.  She was also the scheduler and fundraising coordinator for Barry Fleming’s 2008 congressional campaign.  She took an early interest in public policy and communications as a staff writer for theAuburn Plainsman and as an intern in Governor Sonny Perdue’s office.

Grassroots Coordinator: Tori Wester

Tori is a GOP activist and political science student at Kennesaw State University. In 2011, she founded the Cherokee County Young Republicans, is the current chair of the KSU College Republicans, and has served as a field representative, campaign manager, and legislative aide for various candidates and elected officials around the state.




  1. Three Jack says:

    Interesting that she would choose as her primary consultant someone who has never run a campaign in Georgia.

    • F. Underwood says:

      Must be getting advice from Jack’s folks. And I didn’t see Bull Moose listed on there…

  2. xdog says:

    Corry Bliss ‘managed Linda McMahon’.

    I wonder if he signed off on the Obama t-shirt giveaway on election day.

    • F. Underwood says:

      Well, at least he won’t have to fret about managing a $50 million budget this time.

      • MouthoftheSouth says:

        Aw, ease up, 50 million for 2 million voter contacts is only $25 a contact,what a deal!

  3. James Fannin says:

    It looks to me like Karen has put together an experienced team of professionals who have been involved in some serious campaigns. The lack of Georgia campaign experience shouldn’t be an issue as Karen knows more about running statewide than anyone else in the race and she has Dan McLagan on board who has something going for him that few Republican communicators do – reporters actually like him because he’s a straight shooter, he’s clever and he’s very funny. Also gotta love the fact that she has a decorated combat veteran Marine on board who worked with my favorite group ever – Swift Boat Veterans. He probably knows a thing or two about taking hills and fighting on through the pain and I’m guessing this race will be painful.

    • xdog says:

      No hills in Kuwait. He did teach at Regents and work for George Allen, Bill Frist, James Tobin, and Ken Cuccinelli, so I understand his right-wing chops are in order, but I doubt his military service will matter to most Georgia voters.

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