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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

From OPM to the Campaign Trail


Living in the swing state of Virginia means seeing a healthy dose of campaign ads this election season. When President Obama and Mitt Romney aren't duking it out in dueling spots that seem to run back-to-back through the course of every evening, the state's two Senate candidates, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen are engaged in their own TV slugfest.

Lately, one of Allen's ads caught my eye. It featured Kay Coles James, the former head of Virginia's Office of Health and Human Resources during Allen's term as governor:

Federal employees, though may remember James for the job she held after she served in Allen's Cabinet: head of the Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush. She served in that job from 2001 to 2005 .

This isn't the first time Allen has featured James in a campaign ad, either. She offered up a testimonial for her former boss in a spot that started running back in July, too:

The word is still out on whether James' ads will have any effect on the Virginia Senate campaign. But it's certainly not every day that a former head of OPM becomes a prominent player in a high-profile Senate race.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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