House Republicans tap veteran GOP voice Wilkinson

WASHINGTON, DC: Faced with the task of defending a slim five-seat majority in Congress, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has poached Jim Wilkinson, a top GOP voice, to serve as its communications director.

WASHINGTON, DC: Faced with the task of defending a slim five-seat majority in Congress, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has poached Jim Wilkinson, a top GOP voice, to serve as its communications director.

WASHINGTON, DC: Faced with the task of defending a slim five-seat

majority in Congress, the National Republican Congressional Committee

(NRCC) has poached Jim Wilkinson, a top GOP voice, to serve as its

communications director.



Wilkinson arrives at the NRCC fresh off a stint as press secretary for

House Majority Leader Richard Armey. He had also overseen Armey’s

national political operations during campaigns in 1996 and 1998.



Among Wilkinson’s other recent accomplishments is managing a ’war room’

of more than 30 GOP press secretaries during last year’s budget battles.

The group met daily to ensure that the House GOP was ’on message.’



Most analysts currently spot the Democrats an edge in this year’s House

races. But the NRCC thinks that given the current healthy economic

climate, an effective selling point may be asking the country whether

they can afford to take a risk by handing control of the House back to

the Democrats.



’In a year like this, when we’re dead even, there’s always someone who

says, ’Oh my gosh. This happened. We’re finished,’’ Wilkinson said.

’There has to be somebody who is always upbeat, and it’s going to be

this office.’



Wilkinson emphasized that one of his missions is to be a ’consensus

builder.’ Last year, House Republicans were beset by reports of

divisions within the leadership ranks. Wilkinson, however, disputes the

veracity of these rumors, noting the close cooperation that occurred

during the budget battle.



Wilkinson succeeds Ed Blakely, who served as interim director throughout

most of last year. A VP at the political consulting/PR firm of Smith &

Harroff, Blakely served as communications director during the 1983-84

political cycle.



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