Barbour nabs former Mitt Romney aid, moving forward with Presidential campaign

Jeff Winkler Contributor
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The intra-party poaching begins as Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour hires one of Mitt Romney’s top advisers, Sally Bradshaw. It’s the first serious defection from one potential 2012 Republican Presidential candidate to another, according to the National Journal.

Barbour is setting his sites on one of the country’s most ubiquitous swing states with the hire of Bradshaw, a long-time adviser to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose endorsement every Republican Presidential candidate will be seeking in 2012. The veteran Florida GOP strategist formerly worked on Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Barbour, the former head of the Republican National Committee and the Republican Governors Association, is expected to announce his candidacy next month.

On Tuesday, Barbour will travel to another key swing state, Nevada, where he will meet with Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, according to the Washington Post. The pre-campaign efforts, which included a speech at the California Republican convention this past weekend, reflect the image of Barbour as a savvy politician very capable playing the strategic game needed to win the nomination.

The next challenge for Barbour will be limiting any public damage from previous race-tinged gaffes and accusations from other candidates that voters can’t stomach the Mississippi Governor’s inside-the-beltway politicking.