Forbes builds up PR troops to curb GOP switch fallout

WASHINGTON, DC: When Rep. Michael Forbes recently switched political parties, it was a PR boon for the Democrats. But with Republican operatives vowing revenge - and an election year approaching - Forbes has juggled his communications staff to handle what promises to be a highly volatile situation.

WASHINGTON, DC: When Rep. Michael Forbes recently switched political parties, it was a PR boon for the Democrats. But with Republican operatives vowing revenge - and an election year approaching - Forbes has juggled his communications staff to handle what promises to be a highly volatile situation.

WASHINGTON, DC: When Rep. Michael Forbes recently switched

political parties, it was a PR boon for the Democrats. But with

Republican operatives vowing revenge - and an election year approaching

- Forbes has juggled his communications staff to handle what promises to

be a highly volatile situation.



Dave Williams, currently the chief of staff to Rep. John Tierney, has

been tagged as Forbes’ new chief of staff and communications

director.



He will formally join the Forbes team early next month.



Forbes’ decision to switch parties was motivated by his concern over the

influence wielded by Republican conservatives. In the wake of this move,

he lost his entire staff, which walked out to express disenchantment

with his political flip-flop. Forbes’ switch, however, has helped House

Democrats politically, moving the party from six to five seats away from

regaining a majority.



Williams naturally intends to use Forbes’ move as a PR play, arguing

that it demonstrates that ’there is no room within the Republican Party

for moderate, independent voices’ on issues ranging from HMO reform to

improving public education.



A former political reporter for public broadcasting stations WBUR-FM and

WGBH-TV in Boston, Williams is a veteran not only of Democratic politics

but also of the public employee labor movement. He was a key presence in

Tierney’s 1994 congressional campaign and became his chief of staff

after his 1996 reelection, in which he was said to have played a major

role.



Williams said Forbes is banking on his record of accomplishment to be a

PR plus in his upcoming reelection bid. His theme of political

independence is likely to prove attractive to citizens in his suburban

Long Island district.



Forbes’ reelection, however, is by no means guaranteed. Several

Republicans have already thrown their hat into the race for Forbes’

seat. Opposition from within his new party is likely as well, as Tony

Bullock, former chief of staff for Sen. Patrick Moynihan, is said to be

considering a run.



Bullock has already criticized Forbes for having ’no political or moral

compass.’



Republican Opponents will be scrutinizing Forbes’ past voting record to

find fodder for their own PR efforts and portray him as being

inconsistent.



The National Republican Congressional Committee has already charged

Forbes with having abandoned his pledge of ’no new taxes.’



One area in which Forbes has been consistent over time is in his

opposition to federally funded abortions. That may prove a hot issue if

he faces a primary challenger that can receive backing from his new

party’s influential pro-abortion rights wing.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.