Huckabee Hires Ed Rollins as Campaign Manager

Mike Huckabee has named Ed Rollins, a legend in Republican political circles, his national campaign manager, earning Political Play of the Day honors from the AP.

Former Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has named Republican political strategist Ed Rollins, the man who lead Ronald Reagan’s 1984 landslide victory, as his National Campaign Advisor.

“I am proud to announce the addition of Ed Rollins as my National Campaign Advisor,” said Huckabee. “Ed is an unparalleled strategist and is well-known as the man who directed the most successful Presidential campaign in the history of the United States. Ed’s experience and track record of building winning coalitions within our party, bringing together social, economic and foreign-policy conservatives, and reaching across party lines, makes him a good fit for our campaign.”

Rollins served as the National Campaign Director to Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential election in which Reagan won 49 states.

More from CNN:

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee announced Friday that veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins will serve as his national campaign chairman and senior advisor.

Rollins, considered by many the architect of Ronald Reagan’s 1984 landslide election victory, said in a New Hampshire press conference Friday that Huckabee reminds him of the former Republican president more than any other current candidate. “There’s a lot of people going around talking about the Reagan days, who’s the next Reagan,” he said. “I was with the old Reagan and I can promise you this man comes as close to anyone in filling those shoes.”

The longtime GOP strategist who worked in the Reagan White House, ran former Rep. Jack Kemp’s 1988 White House run, and played a key role in Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential bid also joked Huckabee’s campaign is a “unique” one for him. “It’s the only campaign I’ve ever been in where there’s no donuts and no booze, so it’s going to be a real struggle for me,” he said. “But one of the good things is [Huckabee] can look at me every day and he can say, I am not going back to being a fat old guy like him, I am going to stay slim and keep jogging.”

Rollins is not without baggage, however. The Ross Perot campaign was an embarrassment, with his candidate dropping out accusing President George H.W. Bush and the Republicans of a zany plot to disrupt his daughter’s wedding and all but endorsing Bill Clinton.

The next year, he managed Christine Todd Whitman’s successful run for New Jersey governor, restoring his reputation as a political guru, only to come out and issue bizarre claims which he was later forced to retract.

Rollins claimed to TIME magazine that he secretly paid black ministers and democratic campaign workers in order to suppress voter turnout. “We went into black churches and we basically said to ministers who had endorsed Florio, ‘Do you have a special project?’ And they said, ‘We’ve already endorsed Florio.’ We said, ‘That’s fine, don’t get up on the Sunday pulpit and preach. We know you’ve endorsed him, but don’t get up there and say it’s your moral obligation that you go on Tuesday to vote for Jim Florio.'” After public outcry and calls for an investigation, Rollins partially retracted some of these claims telling People magazine that his comments were “an exaggeration that turned out to be inaccurate.”

I’m not sure Rollins’ skills are worth the baggage at this point.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.