Friday, April 29, 2005

La. Strategist to Run Duncan's Campaign

La. Strategist to Run Duncan's Campaign: "La. Strategist to Run Duncan's Campaign
'Hard-Charger' Has Record of Success

By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 29, 2005; B05
Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan announced yesterday that he has hired a Louisiana Democratic strategist to manage his campaign for governor next year.

Scott Arceneaux, 34, will move to Maryland in a few weeks to lead Duncan's race against Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley for the Democratic nomination.

"He is a veteran campaign manager, a hard-charger and a great addition to our team," Duncan said in a statement.

In an interview, Arceneaux said Duncan will mount "a very aggressive campaign" to raise Duncan's profile outside of Montgomery County by highlighting his record as county executive. "He's got 10 years of success," Arceneaux said. "It's just a matter of getting his message out."

After graduating from Tulane Law School in 1995, Arceneaux began working on Democratic campaigns in Louisiana. He was executive director of the state party from 2001 to 2004.

During his tenure, Arceneaux was credited with helping Louisiana Democrats buck a regional Republican trend. While the GOP was winning governorships and U.S. Senate seats across the South, Sen. Mary Landrieu was reelected in 2002, and another Democrat, Kathleen Blanco, won the 2003 gubernatorial race.

Arceneaux's winning streak ended in 2004 when he managed a bid by then-Rep. Chris John (D-La.) to replace retiring Sen. John Breaux. Republican David Vitter easily won that race.

While some Louisiana Democrats say they wish Arceneaux had run a more aggressive campaign, his reputation at home appears to be solid.

"Scott is one of the best political minds that I know," said Derek Wooley, the current executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. "The guy knows the nuts and bolts of the campaign. He knows how to put together a winning campaign."

Jim Nickel, a former chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, said Arceneaux "knows how to go on the attack and knows how to respond."

Although Louisiana is far more culturally conservative than Maryland, African Americans account for about 30 percent of the electorate in both states, and they are expected to play a critical role in Maryland's gubernatorial race.

Duncan's selection of a campaign manager comes as he steps up the pace of his all-but-announced candidacy. He has been making the rounds of Democratic events across the state, and two weeks ago, he took in a half-million dollars at a fund-raiser in North Bethesda.

On Monday, Duncan launched his sharpest attack so far on O'Malley, criticizing him for not taking a more active role in urging the General Assembly to approve legislation that would have provided state funding for embryonic stem cell research.

O'Malley, who has an early lead in most polls, brushed off the attack. A few weeks ago, he hired Jonathan Epstein -- who helped orchestrate Sen. John F. Kerry's victory in the Iowa presidential caucuses last year -- to manage his campaign.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company"

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