Who is Danny Diaz, Jeb Bush’s expected new campaign manager?
The question unleashes a torrent of descriptions that all point to a take-no-prisoner, rough-around-the-edges type who relishes a fight.
“Tiger,” “lion,” “a hair-on-fire-guy,” and “a [expletive] animal” are just a few of the tamer modifiers in recent news accounts used to describe the 39-year-old son of Spanish immigrants who has been tapped amid a staff shakeup to head the former Florida governor’s presidential campaign, which is scheduled for a launch next Monday.
The selection of Diaz, who has been with Bush’s campaign this year as a consultant, is seen as a key indicator that the candidate-to-be is shifting to less kinder and gentler approach to his run for the Oval Office.
“I’ve worked with Danny, and he’s a [expletive] animal,” Politico quoted an unnamed “adviser to a rival Republican candidate” as saying of Diaz. “If Danny is capable of transmitting a third of the energy he possesses, it will be a marked improvement over where Jeb had been.”
Bush reportedly took the shocking step of passing over Dave Kochel – a well-known Republican operative who worked on the Mitt Romney 2012 presidential run and who was expected to be his campaign manager – after several scorching news stories, including one where he misunderstood a question about supporting the Iraq war, and feeling he was losing momentum against GOP rivals Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Wallace.
“Danny’s skill at rapidly moving content and campaign organization makes him perfectly suited for running the day-to-day operations,” said senior Bush adviser Sally Bradshaw in a statement quoted by various news outlets.
Diaz is known for his explosive temper and biting sarcasm.
“Those who’ve worked with Diaz describe him as tenacious — and sometimes overbearing. In political circles, his fiery temper — often used against co-workers and reporters covering the campaigns he’s working on — is widely known,” Politico said.
Those who’ve seen him in action say he’s simply intensely driven to win.
Steve Schmidt, who advised the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), depicted Diaz in a Washington Post interview as “the Jim Harbaugh of politics,” comparing the GOP operative to the University of Michigan’s famously competitive football coach. “The degree to which there is a feeling of not having it together, that era is coming to a decisive end.”
This isn’t Diaz’s first experience with the Bush family.
In 2004, he was the southwest regional press secretary for the Bush-Cheney ’04 presidential campaign and was a member of its Latino outreach staff.
Diaz served as the Republican National Committee’s communication director in 2008, where among his key duties was to highlight deficiencies of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination.
Time Magazine published a story about Diaz in his RNC post titled: “The GOP’s Ambassador of Ill Will.”
In 2010, he was a senior campaign adviser to Susana Martinez when she ran for governor of New Mexico.
Diaz grew up in the Washington D.C. area, receiving a communications degree from George Mason University.
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