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Staffing the war rooms 

Atlanta's mayoral candidates are putting their key players in place.

Hired to manage the campaign of Robert L. "Robb" Pitts is Daphne Bryson, who will take a leave up absence from E.R. Mitchell & Co., where she is manager of business development and special projects, says Dana Bolden, spokesman for the Pitts campaign. Bryson hasn't managed a campaign before, but she's been one of Pitts's key volunteers.

Mark Mellman, a well-known Democratic pollster, is slated to handle polling and focus group activities, Bolden says. And the Pitts campaign retained Laguens Hamburger Stone -- a Democratic, Washington, D.C.-based media consulting company -- to develop advertising.

Bolden says the campaign held an April 21 fund raiser and raised $16,000. But all signs point to May 19 as a big day in the Pitts campaign. Lou Rawls is scheduled to play a party at supporter Charlie Loudermilk's Northside Drive estate.

Meanwhile, State Rep. Kasim Reed, D-Atlanta, took over Tuesday, May 1, as campaign manager for Shirley Clarke Franklin.

Strother Duffey Strother, the same company that handled advertising during Gov. Roy Barnes campaign, is set to do ad work for Franklin. Lake Snell Perry & Associates will do polling for the Franklin campaign.

Finally, Gloria Bromell-Tinubu is currently searching for a new campaign manager. She says she is devoting the next two months "almost exclusively" to fundraising.

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