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Jeb Bush has snagged Mitt Romney's chief Iowa operative to lead his national campaign if he decides to run for president.
David Kochel, who was Romney's top strategist for the first-in-the-nation caucus state in the 2008 and 2012 elections, told the Des Moines Register that he wants Bush "to take his record of accomplishment and dynamic, conservative ideas to the whole nation."
The move illustrates how both Bush and Romney, perceived as favorites of the GOP establishment, are competing for the same donors and staff, with alumni of both camps torn about which to support in a primary battle if both men decide to run.
In a statement, Bush spokesman Kristy Campbell confirmed that "if Governor Bush were to move forward with a potential campaign, Dave is in line to play a senior role in a potential campaign."
"Dave is one of the most respected political strategists in the country and his expertise and leadership will be critical to helping Governor Bush outline his vision for expanding opportunity for all Americans in the coming months," she added.
Mike Murphy, another former Romney adviser, has also signed on with Bush as a top strategist.
- Mark Murray, Alex Moe and Kasie Hunt