Ed Rollins, Jesse Unruh, Redistricting, etc.

Lloyd Grove interviews Ed Rollins, now campaign manager for Mike Huckabee, at Portfolio.com:

L.G.: And you were working for Big Daddy [Jesse Unruh, the speaker of the California assembly and then state treasurer, who famously said, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics”].

E.R.: I worked for Big Daddy, who was sort of the master.

L.G.: And let’s not forget that Jesse Unruh was the quintessential Democratic-machine politician in California.

E.R.: He not only was that, he was someone who would take the staff and run them as candidates through reapportionment and what have you. Basically half the people who were in the assembly were Democrats who didn’t live in the district and had been Unruh staff people. He would basically say, “Ken Khoury, you’re my chief of staff, I’m going to run you in Orange County.” You know, pick a district, and they’d draw the map and they’d pick the district. And it was ongoing. You’d have the caucus staffs that were political, and everybody would go off the government payroll, and he’d go out and run the campaign. And there really weren’t political consultants at that point in the 1960s. One of the first in California was Stu Spencer, who had been a recreation director, and his company was called Spencer Roberts, and they had great organizational skills. And originally, you would hire a general consultant, and they would put the pieces together. And there aren’t many general consultants—which is what I sort of do: oversee the whole thing. What happens today is the candidate will hire a pollster, and more and more pollsters would be coming as strategists, and you hire the media consultants, the people who would really make a lot of money, because they spend $10 million to $15 million on campaign advertising and they take 15 percent of it for the buy. They make a lot of money. The guys that make a lot of money are the Shrums [Democratic media consultant Robert Shrum] and the other media consultants.

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