Lenny Curry assembles star political team for Jax mayoral campaign

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Republican Lenny Curry is building an impressive team to defeat incumbent Democrat Alvin Brown in the Jacksonville mayoral race next year.

Nate Monroe of the Florida Times-Union reports that many of Curry’s latest additions include some of the minds behind the success of Louisiana Republican Sen.-elect Bill Cassidy over an entrenched incumbent Democrat.

Curry’s campaign manager will be Brian Swensen, a former political director for the Republican Party of Florida who also served as Cassidy’s political director.

Acting as deputy campaign manager is Ashley Noland, a former aide for Republican Rep. Chris Collins from New York. Curry’s political director will be Jessica Laird, a Cassidy field director.

As the newest members of the campaign, the trio will join Meteoric Media Strategies and Data Targeting Research, two of Florida’s high-powered GOP political consulting firms.

“As I have learned as a job creator and entrepreneur, I know success requires a great team,” said Curry in a prepared statement. “Brian, Ashley and Jessica have a perfect combination of experience and boundless enthusiasm to guide this campaign to victory and build something that lasts.”

Swensen is back in Florida after heading Bill Cassidy’s Senate campaign managing political and grassroots staff throughout Louisiana. Swensen also served as RPOF political director, managing field staff, voter registration, outreach, training, the intern program, as well as planning the Presidency 5 and the CNN/RPOF Presidential Debate events at the University of North Florida.

Prior to the RPOF, he was victory director for Gov. Rick Scott’s first-term campaign.

Noland brings to Curry’s campaign a history of both policy and political knowledge. Prior to becoming an aide to Collins on his Washington, D.C., staff, she worked with Florida Congressman Steve Southerland and served as finance director for Collins’ congressional campaign. Noland also worked as field personnel for the RPOF, on Jeff Atwater’s drive to become Florida CFO, and for Southerland’s campaign.

Laird, like Swensen, is also a veteran of the Cassidy landslide in Louisiana, where she was Northshore field director. A Florida native from Pensacola, she also worked as staff for state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, who was majority leader of the Florida Senate in 2013.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.