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With 2012 Field Solidifying, Talent Market Heats Up

Ken Lambert/AP
Doug Gross, shown here campaigning for Iowa governor in 2002 with President George W. Bush, had hoped that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels would run for president. Gross would give a candidate access to the state’s GOP governor.

“We’ve had a number of conversations with different people, but I’m trying to just determine if I want to get involved,” Tompkins said. “Now that things are starting to settle in and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any more entries into the field, it’s time to make a decision what direction to go in and how to best fit in and be the most effective.”

Tompkins has another major asset in his corner: He’s a past supporter and adviser to the state’s resident conservative kingmaker, Sen. Jim DeMint (R), who he said is on the fence so far about endorsing in the 2012 presidential field.

Jim Dyke

Dyke was supposed to run Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s South Carolina operation in what was expected to be a pivotal state for the Southern Republican. But now that Barbour isn’t running, Dyke is a free agent again — or as his partner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney adviser Kevin Madden, put it, “I’m very glad that the awkward silences over lunch are a thing of the past.”

But that might not be the case for long. Even though Barbour is out, Dyke said he’s open to joining another race and told Roll Call that he believes Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Romney “are all great candidates, and I suspect one of them will be the nominee.”

Even though Dyke resides in South Carolina, he is best known for his national experience, stemming from his time as communications director for the Republican National Committee, as well as his gigs as a communications adviser to President George W. Bush and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Most importantly, Dyke has worked on four presidential races, including Rudy Giuliani’s South Carolina bid in 2008.

Jason Miller

Miller has loads of national political experience but boasts a speciality in the Palmetto State. As former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R) campaign manager in 2006 and his deputy chief of staff in 2007, Miller escaped unscathed from Sanford’s team several years before the governor took his infamous trip to Argentina. As a result, he has South Carolina experience but isn’t tainted from the scandal. Most recently, Miller produced television advertisements for the state’s new attorney general and treasurer in the 2010 cycle.

Miller has a connection to one of the most sought-after Republicans in the country after his firm wrote the ads for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s successful 2009 race. Miller has also served as a national deputy communications director for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign and has worked for a couple of candidates in another key early state, Florida.

Miller has already been approached by several campaigns, including Donald Trump’s when he was still considering a bid, but he has yet to sign on with anyone. Miller confirmed that he wants to be involved in the presidential race somehow, but he added, “We’ll see how the field develops, and we’ll see how some campaigns develop.”


Sally Bradshaw

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