If labor reporter Mike Elk was Politico‘s oddest hire for 2014, GOP operative Brad Dayspring may be an even weirder one for 2015. He is now the publication’s Vice President of Communications.
The NYT, in a story published Thursday night, described Dayspring as “outspoken” and “occasionally” combative. But that doesn’t really cut it.
Known for being a hothead who left then-House Maj. Leader Eric Cantor‘s (R-Va.) office after he almost came to blows with a coworker, the longtime GOP operative who worked as Communications Director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee is now Politico‘s spokesman. After the NRSC, Dayspring tried to work for presidential candidate Jeb Bush but wound up working for a Super PAC for his second choice hopeful, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has since dropped out of the race. At the time, Breitbart News raised a big stink and labeled Dayspring an “anti-conservative.”
Somewhat surprisingly, Politico‘s Mike Allen referred to Dayspring as a “great get” for Walker in the publication’s famed “Playbook.”
“Worst. Hire. Ever.,” remarked a longtime Washington journalist who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity. “And I am not just saying that. I truly believe it. You know too. Everyone hates him. I have gotten so many emails. Everyone is talking about this and how puzzling it is. [Politico COO Kim] Kingsley is smart but this is a highly questionable move.”
A Mirror media source asked over text, “How could they pick someone so absurdly partisan? Dayspring +VandeHei and Glasser = disaster.” The source is referring to Politico‘s newsroom editor Susan Glasser.
In a memo, Kingsley bizarrely said Dayspring was “born for this job.” She also said this: “I think we can be clear: this is not a conventional hire. But POLITICO doesn’t do conventional. And we certainly don’t do boring. POLITICO is known for making waves, and so is Brad. He is an unapologetic agitator and we see that as a tremendous asset.”
Really. Politico is known for making waves? Since when? In fact, ever since VandeHarris essentially left the Virginia suburban newsroom — Jim VandeHei is now President and John Harris is now overseeing the worldly operation in Brussels — Politico is now viewed in many circles as a publication that is no longer a must read.
Additionally, Politico is seeing many of its star hires walk, many to CNN and they’ve brought in hires from the notoriously boring Reuters. They also just recently scrapped their highly promoted gossip column written by Kate Bennett, who is now the White House correspondent for IJReview. She barely lasted a year at Politico and went MIA in August and September before returning for a short while. To her credit, she made the column work as best as she could under the constraints of a publication that was never going to allow real gossip.
But perhaps Dayspring will change all that and bring back some of the pizzazz for news and “winning the morning” that it once had before VandeHei insisted in 2013 that “high traffic is overrated.” Politico is charging Dayspring with its entire global communications portfolio. He’s also being tasked with defending the brand against attacks.
Fortunately for Dayspring, the esteemed NYT spoke of his fighting nature on Twitter, but they left out the fact that in 2011 he followed a Twitter account called “SexyTwitPics” and even tried to defend it, saying he only had it because a San Diego model friend was on it. He also reasoned that it was “not official” and his “own opinion.”
Sure, SexyTwitPics is a fine opinion to have when you’re working for the House Majority Leader. See “Tweets and Tits for Cantor Aide” here. He unfollowed SexyTwitPics shortly thereafter.
They also failed to report that Dayspring and his now wife, CNN publicist Lauren Pratapas, had planned to have Sen. Lamar Alexander‘s (R-Tennessee) Chief of Staff Ryan Loskarn in their wedding party. Loskarn is the Senate flak who sadly committed suicide in his parent’s home in late January 2014 after child porn was discovered on his computer. Close friends widely predicted he’d take his own life. The feds picked him up in December, 2013 for possessing and distributing materials. The Daysprings were close with Loskarn up until the news came out.
Needless to say, Loskarn did not wind up in their wedding party.
One might imagine that the Daysprings mounted a fiery offensive to get the news of Loskarn being in their wedding party scrapped from The Daily Caller. They failed, but the couple’s attempt was impressive.
Which may or may not bode well for Politico.
Update: A few quotes were added after the original publishing of the story.