Mike Simpson Hires Ex-Romney Aides for Re-Election Bid | #ID02

Simpson is hiring staff in the wake of a new challenger entering the race. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, has hired two former Mitt Romney aides for his re-election bid in the wake of his new primary challenge from attorney Bryan Smith.

Simpson hired Todd Cranney, Romney's national deputy political director, and Travis Hawkes, who served as Idaho finance chair for the Romney campaign, according to the Idaho Statesman.

An ally of Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, Simpson has come under criticism from some conservatives. Simpson's primary challenger has received an endorsement from the Club for Growth.

The eight-term Republican also tapped Brody Aston as his campaign manager. Aston previously worked on the campaign for Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, R-Idaho, a favorite of the tea party.

“I’m extremely proud of the team we’ve put in place for the 2014 election cycle,” Simpson said in a release. “Each member is an expert in their respective areas and will be critical to ensuring we’re effectively communicating my conservative record and pro-growth agenda to Idaho voters.”

Idaho's 2nd District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Romney received 64 percent of the vote in the district in 2012.