Rich Beeson, a Republican operative who has worked as a political director at the Republican National Committee and was most recently a partner at the voter contact firm FLS Connect, will be Romney’s political director. Beeson has already moved his family to Massachusetts for his new role.
A GOP source who worked against Romney in the last campaign said Beeson was a savvy hire for Romney’s team, as he brings an outsider perspective to Romney’s Boston inner circle.
And for polling, Romney is bringing on Neil Newhouse, a partner at the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, GOP sources told RealClearPolitics.
Newhouse was named “pollster of the year” by the American Association of Political Consultants for his polling efforts in Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown’s successful campaign last year.
I suspect we’ll be seeing a few more of these stories as the campaign ramps up and we approach an official announcement. It’s only a matter of time now.
UPDATE by Jayde: Politico’s Ben Smith believes Governor Romney is making preparations for an April presidential campaign announcement:
UPDATE 2 by Nate: Being unfamiliar with Beeson and Newhouse I tried to find some photos or bios on them. Here is a bio for Rich Beeson at FLS connect.
His aides have told other Republicans that he expects to launch his campaign in April.
Also here is a Washington Post article co-written by Neil Newhouse in January of 2010.
UPDATE 3 by Nate: Jennifer Rubin of The Washington post adds some valuable background and insight into Team Romney and of the need to make changes from the 2008 team:
It should be noted that close Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom was the top strategist on the winning Brown campaign.
This is classic Romney — hire the best people. Although he came up short in 2008, it was widely agreed upon in GOP circles that the Romney staff was the best organized, the most effective and took its candidate as far he could go in that election cycle. A GOP operative familiar with Romney’s operation (but not on the campaign) sees something else: “These are really strong moves that bring a fresh perspective to Boston.” In other words, the Romney team in 2012 won’t be identical to the 2008 team.
This is not a function of Romney’s chances in 2012 or the experience staffers had in 2008. It is simply the reality that many former Romney staffers have wound up in plum D.C. jobs. For example, his 2008 director of communications, Kevin Madden, is now the executive vice president for public affairs for JDA Frontline. Carl Forti, Romney’s 2008 political director, now is a major figure in Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. Joe Pounder, who was the 2008 rapid response director, had a stint as then-Minority Whip Eric Cantor’s press secretary and is now Marco Rubio’s communications director. Rubio’s office has other Romney alums, including policy director Sally Canfield and media director Alex Burgos. Perhaps obtaining a job in the GOP’s newest rock star’s senate office is the best indicator of the people Romney employed last time.
Meanwhile, Gail Gitcho, who was a press secretary for Romney, and Romney’s former head of rapid response, Colin Reed, are now in Brown’s office.