There has been much discussion of the position of University of Arkansas lobbyist over the last few weeks. State Senator Johnny Key has been the focus of various news reports after announcing that he would not seek re-election and instead take a shot at becoming the next U of A
leech government relations expert. Recently former Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr has also made some waves after he submitted his application for the gig. (Perhaps he has a future in sales as well.) However, yet another lobbyist hopeful has thrown his name into the hat and his candidacy (so to speak) has been largely overlooked. That person is Randy Massanelli.
A little background: Randy Massanelli is Senator Mark Pryor’s right-hand man. Not only did Massanelli serve as Pryor’s campaign manager when Pryor first ascended to Washington in 2002, but Massanelli has served as Pryor’s state director for over a decade. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not like Massanelli is just some low-level staffer who has hung around Pryor for a few years. He’s Pryor’s top dog; his longest standing political operative. He’s Pryor’s Doug Stamper. So then doesn’t he know that his boss is in the the biggest reelection fight of his life? Why would he leave him now?
To state the obvious, I think Randy Massanelli is coming to the same realization as the rest of us: Mark Pryor’s reelection hopes are dismal (at best) and he needs to start looking for other career options.
I have no special insight into who will ultimately be hired by the U of A to
grease the palms of lobby state legislators, but if Randy Massanelli is looking for work, perhaps it’s a sign that Mark Pryor will soon be doing the same.