Feb 9, 2015 2:21 PM
NH1 Political Pulse: Marco Rubio snags top NH GOP operative Jim Merrill
NH1 Political Pulse - NH1.com
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, has landed one of New Hampshire's top political operatives as a senior adviser to Rubio's political action committees in the Northeast.
Jim Merrill, a chief architect in Mitt Romney's two presidential primary runs in New Hampshire, will first work for the Reclaim America Super PAC in New Hampshire and Northeast.
"Obviously if he decides to run for president, I will be working for his campaign,'' Merrill told NH1.
Jonathan Martin, national political correspondent for The New York Times, was the first to report on Merrill's decision on his twitter feed.
After Romney took himself out of running a third time two weeks ago, several, potential 2016 GOP contenders and their allies went hard to Merrill.
"I'm excited. I was honestly really thinking hard about it,'' Merrill said.
"This one feels really good. I think he's a tremendous guy, a tremendous talent and looking forward to doing it with him.''
For Merrill, Rubio matches the advice Romney gave to Republican voters heading into this wide open race.
"Mitt talked about it being time for the next generation of the Republican leadership; I think he represents that next generation,'' Merrill said.
"He's a guy with a lot of substance, a great career with a record of appealing to a broad array of voters that I believe is going to be critical in 2016,'' Merrill added.
"That makes him particularly appealing.''
Merrill's move came on the same day of flattering profile on Politico of Rubio the lecturer teaching politics at Florida International University.
"I think it underscores what a great communicator he is, reaches out to different demographics in different ways, the next generation campaign,'' Merrill added.
Rubio will have some explaining to do with many conservatives given the leading role he played in passing immigration reform through a Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate in 2013. The bill died in the GOP controlled House.
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, ultimately went along with Rubio's immigration bid.
Rubio will next be in the state two weeks from today at Manchester's Barnes & Noble as a stop along his national book tour for "American Dreams.''