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Gubernatorial Campaign Staffs Begin to Take Shape

The gubernatorial campaigns of Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Bill McCollum have made their first few staff hires, choosing party veterans with experience in previous Florida races on both sides.

On the Republican side, McCollum has hired Matt Williams to manage his campaign. Williams has a long resume that includes serving as campaign manager for U.S. House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia when Cantor defeated Ben Jones - “Cooter” on the Dukes of Hazard.

McCollum has hired Greg Ungru as political director. Ungru comes to the campaign from the Republican Party of Florida, where he was absentee ballot and early vote director, and deputy political director.

Sink's staff so far includes Justin Day, who will be the campaign's political director, and spokeswoman Tara Klimek, who previously worked for Sink in the chief financial officer's office.

Williams, 38, brings nearly 15 years experience working on campaigns to the McCollum effort, including work in Florida, New York and Virginia.

In addition to working for Cantor, Williams was an aide to former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore when Gilmore began exploring a 2008 presidential run.

In addition to working for the Florida Republican Party, Ungru, 31, has worked for the Ohio Republican Party as regional field director during the presidential cycle of 2004, focusing on Cleveland and Northeast Ohio as President George W. Bush narrowly carried Ohio in his re-election bid.

On the Democratic side, Day, who will be 29 on Friday, comes to the Sink campaign after working as Cabinet director for the Democratic Party.

Day, a St. Cloud native, also was previously the executive director of Florida Mainstream Democrats, and got his campaign start working on Betty Castor's 2004 Senate race when she lost to Sen. Mel Martinez.

Right now, Klimek is Sink's campaign spokeswoman after working for her in the CFO's office.

Klimek, 31, worked on the 2002 gubernatorial campaign of Sink's husband, Bill McBride, who lost to Jeb Bush. After that, Klimek went to work with Steve Schale in the House Democratic office before going to work for Sink.

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