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Schneider Announces Team of Strategists for Congressional Campaign

On Tuesday, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider announced her full team of strategists in her campaign for California’s 24th Congressional District seat.

The founding partner of Putnam Partners, Mark Putnam, has been a national political media consultant and campaign strategist for nearly three decades and will serve as Mayor Schneider's media consultant.

Putnam served as one of President Barack Obama's lead media consultants, and has also helped elect nine governors, nine U.S. senators and dozens of members of the U.S. House of Representatives in campaigns across 47 states. At the presidential level, Putnam's experience includes creating national television advertising for four presidential campaigns and serving as chief speechwriter for two presidential campaigns.

Putnam has created some of the most talked-about political advertising campaigns of the last decade. His highest-profile project was writing and producing Obama’s 2008 election eve 30-minute television special that aired simultaneously on seven networks and was viewed by over 35 million people. In 2012, Putnam continued his work on the Obama Media Team, creating many nationally aired television ads, including the  “47 Percent” ad that the Los Angeles Times and Politico both called “the best” ad of the campaign.

In 2014, a disastrous year where only four Democratic candidates for governor won out of 14 “toss up” races, Putnam produced the advertising for two of those winning campaigns — Governors John Hickenlooper in Colorado and Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island. That year, Putnam also helped U.S. Sen. Tom Udall win re-election in New Mexico, despite a strong challenge by a self-funding multimillionaire Tea Party candidate. In his book The Audacity to Win, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe called Putnam “one of the best producers in our party.”

Celinda Lake is one of the Democratic Party's leading political strategists, serving as tactician and senior advisor to the national party committees, dozens of Democratic incumbents, and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Lake and her firm, including top California pollsters David Mermin and Bob Meadow, will serve as Mayor Schneider’s polling team. They are known for cutting-edge research,and have worked for a number of institutions including the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Governor's Association, Next Generation, AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME, NEA, AFT, IAFF, Sierra Club, EcoAmerica, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, EMILY's List, the Kaiser Family Foundation and The RWJ Foundation. The firm has represented California Congress members Raul Ruiz, Mike Honda and Jerry McNerney. In 2008, the firm served as the polling team for Vice President Joe Biden.

Since its formation, Lake Research Partners has become one of the most respected Democratic polling firms in the country. Lake is one of the nation's foremost experts on electing women candidates and on framing issues to women voters. American Politics calls her a "super-strategist or, better yet, the Godmother," and Working Woman says she is "arguably the most influential woman in her field."

She is renowned for her groundbreaking research on single women voters in conjunction with Women's Voices Women Vote and has helped elect numerous female candidates, including Barbara Mikulski, the "Dean" of Women Senators, former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Blanche Lincoln, U.S. Sen. from Arkansas, Patricia Madrid the first Hispanic woman attorney general in New Mexico, and Carol Moseley-Braun in her historic victory to become the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Lake also works for Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House.

Renowned strategist and one of California’s top consultants, John Shallman, president of Shallman Communications, and his firm of veteran campaign operatives Dave Jacobson and Maclen Zilber will serve as Mayor Schneider’s general strategists and direct mail consultants.

Shallman Communications was founded by owner, president and chief consultant John Shallman, who came to national prominence in 1996 when he orchestrated one of the greatest upsets in California political history — the defeat of notorious right-wing Congressman Bob Dornan by an unknown liberal Latina, now nine-term U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. The Los Angeles Times profiled Shallman’s propensity for pulling off political upsets in their article titled, “He’s Led Political Darkhorses to Surprising Wins.”

Shallman Communications represents several other California House members, including Rep. Janice Hahn, Rep. Juan Vargas, Rep. Mark Takano and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, among others. In California, the firm represents State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, Los Angeles City Council President and former Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, and numerous other leaders.

Beyond campaign strategists, Mayor Schneider just hired Jonathan Glasoe, one of the Central Coast’s top nonprofit fundraisers, to lead her district fundraising operation. A nonprofit veteran with over a decade of experience in the field, Glasoe just finished helping to spearhead the fundraising efforts to raise over $5 million for the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation.

In a joint statement, Putnam, Lake and Shallman stated: “We’re very excited to be working for such a talented, down-to-earth and pragmatic leader like Mayor Helene Schneider. We believe her experience as a local mayor and common sense-driven approach to problem-solving will help set her apart in this race. It will also help her get things done in Washington on behalf of the 24th District.”

Schneider was elected to her second term as Santa Barbara’s mayor in November 2013. She has served at Santa Barbara City Hall since January 2004, winning her first election as City Council member in 2003 and first election as mayor in 2009.

Schneider serves in leadership roles on a number of regional-wide policy issues, such as transportation, air quality, solid waste, public education, youth violence prevention and homelessness. She represents the City of Santa Barbara on the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, the Air Pollution Control District, the Multi-Jurisdictional Solid Waste Task Force, Partners in Education, the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs and the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness. She is the immediate past-president of the League of California Cities Channel Counties Division.

Prior to elected office, Mayor Schneider spent 11 years in human resources management at Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties.

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