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More Golden Horseshoe Awards

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

* The 2013 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best campaign staffer - Illinois House Democrats goes to Kristen Bauer

I’ve worked multiple campaigns for House Dems, and my vote would be Kristen Bauer. She’s 8 am to midnite and beyond, seven days a week. She is 200 percent dedicated and loyal. It’s a chore just to get her to eat some food every once in a while. Very organized, very efficient, and very kind to her fellow staff and volunteers. She’s Boom Shaka Laka

* Runner-up is Julia Larkin, who was pushed hard by HDem staff…

When it comes to cool, calm and coordinated that is Julia Larkin all the way. I surely do not know how she keeps all the plates spinning in perfect sync without dropping one. In the thick of a competitive campaign, she is able to keep a smooth running campaign team without the normal drama of campaign egos. She does her homework and her recruitment is always top notch. Level headed and very rational she can get things done.

* The Golden Horseshoe Award for Best campaign staffer - Illinois House Republicans goes to Nick Bellini

Without a doubt, this should go to Nick Bellini. He goes above and beyond for his members and candidates. He’s who is called in when things go south and expected to turn them around. They can always count on him to be one step ahead of everyone else on a campaign and no one can beat “Bitter Bellini” or the “Angel of Death” when it comes to writing clever mail pieces. If everyone on their staff cared as much about campaigns as him, they might not be a super minority.

Bellini was the overwhelming favorite. He’s won this award so many times that I may just name it after him so we can move on.

* Runners-up…

My vote in that race is a toss up for Ray Soch, who ran Skip’s last campaign. Ray was everywhere and while he was everywhere, knew where everyone else was. He is organized, calm, cool and collected, and put up with so much poop. He has such a bright future ahead of his young life. My other vote would be for Garrett Hill. He’s the definition of cool, calm and charisma. He’s a computer geek with an uncanny ability to relate to people. He has a great personality, and a great personal story. I’m proud to call them both my friend.

* An important point…

Staffers from both sides of the aisle are unique human beings, that are underpaid, overly abused, but so desperately needed on every campaign. Without the word loyalty attached to these people, no candidate for office could possibly succeed short of a million prayers

Exactly right.

* OK, let’s move on to today’s category, shall we?…

* The Steve Brown Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Government Spokesperson

The winner can flak for legislative, judicial, executive or even local branches. Take your pick, but make extra sure to explain your nomination. This isn’t a contest of numbers, it’s about intensity of the nominations.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


23 Comments
  1. - MOD - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    I’d like to nominate Patti Thompson, the PIO for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. She has one of the most chaotic jobs a spokesperson can have dealing with the amazing flood of inquiries that come with disasters in the national media eye and the November tornados were no exception. Calls were coming on from around the globe (literally) and she was at it 20 hours a day for a week to make sure people were getting answers. On top of all that she has to maintain a good working knowledge of everything from school safety programs to the complexity of the nuclear safety programs. She keeps up a great socail media campaign and keeps the monthly preparedness themes relevant and useful. Great PIO!


  2. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    The winner must be Joe Tybor at the IL Supreme Court. He has survived many chief justice turnovers, helped get cameras in the courtroom and now the renovation of SC building all while fronting for clients who cannot comment.
    Sweet gig. Plus he gets credit for bailing the Tribbies at the right time.


  3. - Com'on Dawgs - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:45 am:

    My vote is for Rikeesha Phelon, the Spokesperson for the Senate President’s Office. She has a tough job while she handles professionally and with class. For example, while the pension issue was difficult for any caucus, I have to think it was more difficult for the Senate Dems, but through it all, she did a great job of communicating and at times defended some unpopular stances.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    I have to vote for Brooke Anderson for the Governor.

    You had the Pension Reform AND Squeezy, and the “Salaries” and the idea of keeping the governor in the discussion, while not part of the deliberations.

    Anderson has made the pagaentry of the Quinn celebrations on Same Sex Marriage and other successes part and parcel of what will be the Quinn record, which that by itself has been tough to pull off this year.

    Keeping the governor relevent in the discussions of the issues of the day, this year, is reason enough to consider her for this award.

    I like to always point out whose names bare these awards, because although they no longer are “eligible”, and it is an honor, no question, to have a Golden Horseshoe named for you, but Steve Brown remains, unquestionably, the Golden Horseshoe standard for all flacks to aspire to, and there is no slowing of that fact today. A well deserved honor that is proven to be worthy every day, so although not “eligible”, props to Mr. Brown for continuing to be that high standard you set.


  5. - Soccermom - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 11:15 am:

    Abdon. Jumped in and did a great job. Exemplary.


  6. - A guy... - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 11:17 am:

    Give me Vicki Crawford. She strikes a tone that doesn’t offend, but can be as relentless as anyone else. She’s kind too. That might disqualify her in some books, but not mine.


  7. - Rayne of Terror - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    I’m going to nominate my former SenDem office-mate Januari Smith at DHS. I was so pleased to see her quoted on ABC news the Saturday LINK was down. Januari was on top of it even on the weekend.


  8. - Alias - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 12:39 pm:

    Soccermom, What? Abdon? Is it possible you’re Abdon? Say it ain’t so. Even if you’re not, Brooke should get the heavy lifting flak in that hot mess.


  9. - Soccermom - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 1:53 pm:

    Alias, is it possible you’re Abdon? because it is very Abdon-like to give credit to colleagues.


  10. - Powell - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    I vote for Rikeesha. her boss was the single largest impediment to pension reform, but it never seemed that way in the msm press. Then her boss totally capitulated on pension reform, and again that wasn’t a story in the msm press. And, both she and her boss have kept message discipline even when being criticized pretty harshly by mjm.


  11. - LittleLebowskiUrbanAchiever - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    My vote goes to Rakesha. The Senate Dems have been out on a limb a number of times this year and she’s done a great job of articulating their position. She is tough and smart.


  12. - BillyGoat - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    I have to second Patti Thompson at IEMA. The ability to stay calm and consistent in a crisis is invaluable. Much more so when there is a real-world life and death crisis like IEMA handles all the time. The sheer volume of things she has to deal with should make her a contender every year.


  13. - walkinfool - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    Brooke gets my vote. Anyone who can follow the Governor’s feints, jabs, and roundhouses, and make sense to the scorers and ringside press, is a master communicator. Through thick and thin of really difficult issues, she stands above the rest.


  14. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 4:44 pm:

    Rikeesha Phelon, no question. She deftly handles difficult issues on a routine basis. She’s smart, and she gets media.


  15. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 5:07 pm:

    I’d like to second Abdon (and no, I’m not him either). The guy fights like hell for his boss’ position in all kinds of up front and subtle, behind the scenes venues (like last night at City Club where he was jawboning with Bruce Dold for more than an hour). He is compelling, has credibility from his years at CST and is an all around class act.


  16. - Soccermom - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 5:46 pm:

    Cynic, rem acu tetigisti.

    “I am Cincinnatus.”

    “No, I am Cincinnatus.”


  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 5:52 pm:

    “No! I am - Cincinnatus -!”


  18. - Lee County - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 6:15 pm:

    Dave Druker. Jesse White’s longtime press secretary is honorable, honest (and there’s a distinction between the two), responsive and self-effacing, and never makes himself the story. He’s the one the Secretary puts in front when there’s bad news, and never minds when the good news is given to others to deliver. He’s the one journalists call when they need a personal favor, and I’ve never heard an unkind word said about him.


  19. - Sneadly - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 6:27 pm:

    In the “switch hitter” category: nominate former Daley doorman , Homero Tristan. Not only does he work to defend democrat power brokers at UNO, but he (through his wife) is sponsoring a fundraiser for reform Republican Rauner.


  20. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 6:54 pm:

    Rikeesha Phelon. Always the adult in the room. Unflappable on everything from impeachment to pensions.


  21. - Frozen - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 7:49 pm:

    Tom Alexander does a great job for a Mayor who makes news every day and has high standards for communications work and the stage and message-craft of events.


  22. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 8:11 pm:

    Patti Thompson is the best agency PIO in state government. Not only does she handle every inquiry during a disaster, she is excellent at promoting the wide variety of things IEMA does. There is no PIO in state government that knows their agency inside out the same way Patti does.


  23. - Twenty-one - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 9:00 pm:

    My vote is for Patti Thompson of IEMA. She actively builds relationships with subject matter experts in the Agency before disasters strike and prepares herself well to communicate critical information in any of the array of potential threats to Illinois’ citizens. Patti is passionate about informing the public through traditional and social media outlets to help all Illinoisans prepare for disasters. She truly exemplifies IEMA’s mission - Always Ready.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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