Potential Candidates for '08 Pair Up With Ad Specialists

McCain, Clinton, Others Already Building Marketing Teams

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The voting may be more than a year away -- and many hopefuls haven't formally declared their candidacy -- but the ad pairings are already forming for the 2008 presidential race.
John McCain
John McCain Credit: AP

Maverick vets abound
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will likely be lining up with Mark McKinnon, who headed the Bush Maverick Media ad team. Mr. McKinnon said that if Mr. McCain runs he expects to form an ad team around the senator, and that Greg Stevens of Stevens Reed Curacio & Potholm, Alexandria, Va., which handled Mr. McCain's 2000 campaign, will be part of it. The team doesn't have a formal name and its members have not all been identified.

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is expected to rely on Alex Castellanos, the veteran Republican at National Media, Alexandria. Mr. Castellanos was also part of the Maverick Media team for the Bush campaign and has done numerous ads for the Republican National Committee and the GOP.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is poised to tap Wilson Grand Communications, an Alexandria-based GOP ad firm. The company's chairman-CEO, Paul Wilson, has worked on previous campaigns for Sen. Brownback.

Collaborative effort
As for Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, his gubernatorial campaigns were done through a collaboration between Dempsey Film Group in Little Rock, Ark.; Dresner, Wickers & Associates of New York and California; and Albright Ideas, Little Rock. But Clint Albright, founder of Albright Ideas, said he doesn't expect to be involved in any presidential effort.

Aides to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and California Congressman Duncan Hunter and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich didn't return calls.
Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton Credit: AP

On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., looks to be aligning with Mandy Grunwald of Grunwald Communications, who handled Ms. Clinton's Senate campaign this year as well as Bill Clinton's 1992 Presidential campaign.

Obama taps Axelrod
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is expected to go with David Axelrod's AKP Media & Message, Chicago. Mr. Axelrod, who handled Mr. Obama's Senate campaigns, also orchestrated former Sen. John Edwards' 2004 presidential campaign. He's done work for several other Democratic senators who could yet get into the race as well as for Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.

Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, has tapped Anita Dunn of Squier Knapp & Dunn, but as a senior strategist, and will hire a media consultant. Ms. Dunn handled Bill Bradley's race for President in 2000, and her agency handled advertising for President Clinton.

A campaign for Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, would likely be handled by Joe Slade White, who has coordinated Sen. Biden's Senate races in the past. Mr. White handled retired Gen. Wesley Clark's 2004 race.

No choice for Sen. Edwards was immediately apparent and an aide said a choice would come later if the former senator runs.
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