Jeb Bush is making moves in New Hampshire, the critical first-in-the nation presidential primary state, announcing he will visit there next month for the first time in 15 years and has hired one of the state's most seasoned and sought-after Republican political operatives, the New Hampshire Journal reports.
Former Florida Gov. Bush, who is already faring well in GOP candidate polls
ahead of his expected leap into the 2016 race, will visit on March 13 and 14, with political consultant Rich Killion as his host and top state campaign strategist, Journal political correspondent John DiStasio writes.
Killion in 2012 guided Mitt Romney to a decisive New Hampshire primary win that helped the former Massachusetts governor secure the nomination. His title will be senior adviser in New Hamsphire for Bush's recently formed Right to Rise PAC
, the Journal reports.
"Bush's schedule for the two days has yet to be determined, but it is clear that he intends to focus intently on the Granite State moving forward — as he must if he hopes to win the GOP nomination," writes DiStasio.
He described new Bush hire Killion as "a veteran of many Granite State political battles" and an asset for his deep connections to the state's political and business communities, whose support and endorsements can help determine the GOP primary outcome.
Bush has also signaled his seriousness about running for president with a similar hire in Iowa, presidential campaign veteran David Kochel, who will guide Bush when he attends the Iowa Agriculture Summit on March 7, McClatchy News reports.
The Granite State push follows a brief spate of bad news
this week for the early frontrunner.
Bush on Tuesday accepted the resignation of another campaign hire, a technology officer who was found to have made racially and sexually offensive comments on Twitter.
Bush also had to retract thousands of emails from his Florida constituents that he published online in a show of transparency, because the correspondence contained sensitive personal information, including Social Security and telephone numbers, and computer viruses.
Polls find Bush leading his likely Republican challengers, but trailing early Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton
in many states including New Hampshire.
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