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Gingrey pulling from Deal network for campaign hands

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Gov. Nathan Deal and Rep. Phil GingreyA senior political adviser to Rep. Phil Gingrey said Wednesday that the six-term congressman has retained a handful of key operatives and is expected to enter Georgia’s GOP Senate nomination contest “in the near future.”

“All indications are he’s going to be running for U.S. Senate,” Gingrey general consultant Chip Lake said by phone.

Lake said the organization was still “a work in progress,” but said that a pair of Republican firms had been retained to manage the would-be campaign’s digital, mail and paid advertising operations.

The Stoneridge Group will oversee digital and direct mail while GOP adman Sonny Scott’s firm, Rising Tide Media Group, will manage television and radio advertising.

Both companies, which Lake said would effectively round out the nucleus of the campaign, previously worked for Gov. Nathan Deal’s 2010 campaign for the governor’s mansion.

Gingrey has already assumed the posture of a candidate–he massaged on Monday his earlier impolitic comments on rape and his congressional office released two politically-tinged statements only hours apart on Wednesday–but has made no firm public declaration of intent.

That delay, Lake said, is merely the product of family considerations. The congressman has four adult children and more than a dozen grandchildren whose varying schedules have complicated the timing of a formal announcement, “assuming he goes through with it,” he cautioned.

- James Richardson