Bush PAC hires NH operatives Varsalone, Lamb for likely primary push

Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise PAC has added two well-known political operatives to its New Hampshire operation as the former Florida governor gears up for a likely presidential run and prepares for his first visit in 15 years to the Granite State on Friday.


Rob Varsalone, who has been involved in New Hampshire politics since the 1990s, has been tapped as a senior advisor. Also joining as a senior advisor is Nathan Lamb, who in 2013 worked for the Republican National Committee in New Jersey as regional field director as Chris Christie ran successfully for reelection.


Both join veteran strategist Rich Killion on Bush’s New Hampshire team.


GOP sources told the New Hampshire Journal that both were pursued by Christie team in New Hampshire, while Lamb was also pursued by Scott Walker’s team.


Varsalone said, “I am proud to join Governor Bush’s New Hampshire team and, should he decide to run for President, to be part of his New Hampshire Primary effort. As governor of Florida he had a fiscally conservative record that New Hampshire Republicans will find appealing.”


Lamb said,  “I am excited to join a strong team in New Hampshire with Rich Killion and Rob Varsalone. Governor Bush’s record is that of a fiscal conservative and, should he decide to run, I look forward to having the opportunity to help bring that message to Granite Staters.”

Varsalone has recently been a partner at Global Strategic Partners, a Washington public affairs firm, but his New Hampshire political roots date back to the early 1990s, when he was a researcher at the state Republican Party. He was elected a member of the New Hampshire House in 1994, serving for a term.


He was also deputy director for New Hampshire of the former issues group Citizens for a Sound Economy, which later split into Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity.


He was a political advisor, strategist and speechwriter for former Gov. Craig Benson and then headed the RNC’s “Victory” operation during the George W. Bush reelection campaign of 2004.


Varsalone was a staffer for the nonprofit, U.S. government-funded International Republican Institute in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq for five years before becoming the senior strategist of Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s 2010 Senate campaign. He remains a close Ayotte confidante.


Lamb was in New Hampshire in 2012 as a field representative on Ovide Lamontagne’s campaign for governor. He returned to the state in November 2013, following his stint in New Jersey, as deputy campaign manager for Dan Innis’ campaign for the 1st District U.S. House seat.


After Innis lost to Frank Guinta in the GOP primary last September, he joined Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate campaign as state field director.


Bush is headed to the state on Friday for private meetings and two public events: a business roundtable at Integra Biosciences in Hudson and a meet and greet at the home of former NHGOP chairman Fergus Cullen in Dover.


Author: John DiStaso

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