Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams has hired a new campaign manager with ties to the Tea Party to run his statewide bid in the fall election.The campaign will be run by Luke B. Marchant, who currently serves as a special assistant to U.S. Sen. Marc Rubio, R-Fl., after working as the political director on the freshman Senator’s 2010 race.
Marchant will replace Scott Jennings, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and public relations consultant in Louisville. Jennings will remain with the campaign in an advisory role.
For weeks it had been rumored that Jennings was leaving the Williams campaign and after the the poor showing in the GOP primary last week, observers believe this is a step by Williams to court Tea Party voters.
From cn|2 Pure Politics:
Republican leaders have downplayed the significance of Williams garnering less than 50% of support against two candidates with far less resources. One of Williams’ rivals, Louisville businessman Phil Moffett, defeated Williams in the most populous areas of the state largely because of strong support from the tea party.
Jennings said Marchant brings experience from a campaign that successfully harnessed tea party activism last year.
“We’re bringing in someone from Marco Rubio’s world, who is obviously a tea party favorite. That shows that this is a guy who has the ability to deal with tea party volunteers and activists,” Jennings said.
But bringing in someone from “Rubio’s world” to “Rand’s country” could exacerbate an ongoing rivalry between Rubio and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who are jousting over the Tea Party mantle nationally.