On Tuesday, we opined that Mayor Tom Leppert's U.S. Senate campaign was moving full steam ahead regardless of whether Kay Bailey Hutchison resigns before her term expires at the end of 2012. Why? The donations to his mayoral campaign completely dried up in the last half of 2009; his annual fund-raiser turned into a charity event; and we keep hearing from credible sources that Leppert won't run for reelection and State Senator John Carona has plans on becoming Leppert's replacement.
Then on Friday, DMN editorialist Tod Robberson discovered more evidence: Leppert's Web site is under construction with the promise of something new to come, not to mention the creation of a new Facebook page and other social networking accounts for Leppert. (Although the Twitter and YouTube accounts would appear to dispel rumors of a Senate run as the names are "MayorLeppert" as opposed to the others, which are "TomLeppert.")
Robberson did some minor digging, tracking the owner of the site to Stan Olshefski, which can be easily accomplished by running a search on Network Solutions. But Robberson didn't take it one step further.
The obvious unanswered question is: Who the heck is Stan Olshefski? And a simple Google search told us the answer. He's a former Internet strategist for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and he worked on former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's 2006 reelection campaign. (Santorum suffered the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent senator since 1980 when he was drubbed 59-41 by Bob Casey.) Olshefski now works as the chief Internet strategist for Autumn E-media in Washington, D.C.
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Leppert's top consultant, Carol Reed, says the mayor can't be expected to make a decision about his future not knowing if or when there will be a race for Hutchison's seat. "As far as I know, everything's up in the air just like it's always been."
Have the two reached an agreement about her serving as his consultant if he does in fact run for Senate?
"We haven't even had a conversation like that to be real honest with you," Reed tells Unfair Park. "I have a great relationship with the mayor. Whatever he does in his future, I intend to be involved. In what capacity, who knows? If he runs for reelection, we'll certainly be there."
Reed says she knows nothing about Leppert's new Web site and directed us to her daughter, Laura Reed Martin. We'll post an update when she gets back with us.