It’s every man for himself when it comes to presidential campaigns.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, expected to run for president, is hiring Jose Mallea for his Right to Rise political committee, officials with the committee have told Fox News Latino.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of Mallea, he is best known to many as a longtime friend and 2010 Senate campaign manager of Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who already has launched his presidential campaign.
Mallea would be hired as Hispanic outreach adviser for Bush,who long has been described as Rubio’s mentor and friend, though lately both of those ties seem frayed.
The conventional wisdom in political circles was that if Bush ran for president, Rubio would defer his Oval Office ambitions out of courtesy as well as for practical reasons, since both are seen as vying for the same supporters and donors.
Politico noted: “Jose Mallea’s hiring by Bush’s Right to Rise political committee is a one-two punch for the former governor: It underscores the depth of loyalty Florida Republicans have for Bush and it shows his intense interest in turning out the Latino vote.”
Despite Mallea’s history with Rubio, he also is a Bush family loyalist, Politico said.
Mallea held various roles in President George W. Bush’s administration.
He has been working as the national strategic director for the LIBRE Initiative, a Latino-outreach organization tied to the influential Koch brothers.
“Jose has a good body of experience from working at the White House to where he is today – he understands Hispanic voters, their behaviors and their beliefs,” said David Custin, a Florida political consultant, to Politico. “He’s really competent.”
“You’re going to see a lot of this: guys going to work for Bush who worked for Marco or are even his friends. But Jose is a Jeb guy first, politically,” Custin said to Politico. “This race between Jeb and Marco is amicable right now – and we’ll see how long that lasts – but it will filter out who’s really a Marco person and who wasn’t really a part of Jeb World. It’s going to be very transparent.”
A source that Politico identified only as “a Cuban-American Republican from Miami who supports Rubio more than Bush,” said Mallea’s hiring “is going to advance the narrative that there is a division in Marco World. I believe both sides are going to do this. But look, it’s a good get for Bush. That’s just a fact.”
Rubio’s camp has made it amply clear to Mallea that it’s not happy about the Bush love-fest.
After Mallea participated in a panel with Bush’s youngest son, Jeb Jr., that focused on the former Florida governor and Latino outreach, Rubio’s supporters let it be known to Mallea that his presence in the discussion did not sit well with them.
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