DSCC - UNION LEADER: Ayotte's First Hire Is Registered Lobbyist

Nearly a week after we first reported in our online column update that Washington-based political consultant Tom Daffron was the leading candidate to sign on to the fledgling Kelly Ayotte senatorial campaign as a consultant, campaign spokesman Pam Kocher confirmed yesterday that Daffron is in fact now the campaign's volunteer general consultant.


Kocher said Daffron has begun "giving guidance" to Ayotte and her advisers.


Daffron, the chief operating officer of a Washington-based lobbying firm, the Jefferson Consulting Group, has worked in the past for Sens. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, William Cohen of Maine and Charles Percy of Illinois. He also managed Elizabeth Dole's brief presidential campaign in 1999.


Daffron recently managed or consulted for Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who, as we have reported, has been befriended by Ayotte.


The state Democratic Party points out that the Jefferson Consulting web site lists Daffron as one of its "lobbying professionals," and like us, wonders who Daffron is lobbying for. We've called him for this and other comments, but have received no response.


Jefferson Consulting publishes a long list of "representative clients" of the firm on its web site, but there is no way to know from the site which ones were represented by Daffron.


State Democratic Party spokesman Victoria Bonney said that Ayotte's "first move as a Senate candidate was to break her pledge" to Gov. John Lynch to serve a full term as attorney general.


"Her second was to recruit a Washington lobbyist to run her campaign. If she thinks that is the type of leadership the people of New Hampshire are looking for, Kelly Ayotte may want to rethink her candidacy," Bonney said.