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Mitt Romney aides joining Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign

Jeb Bush has worked to consolidate support among the GOP establishment.
Jeb Bush has worked to consolidate support among the GOP establishment.Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Two longtime top advisers to 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — Beth Myers and Peter Flaherty — are joining former Florida governor Jeb Bush's presidential campaign to serve in advisory roles.

Myers was Romney's chief of staff when he was governor of Massachusetts and campaign manager for his 2008 presidential run before serving as senior adviser on his 2012 bid. Flaherty, a State House aide who was deputy campaign manager in 2008, became his senior adviser in 2012. They are expected to help Bush prepare for the candidate debates that begin next month.

Flaherty, who said the pair's jump should not be read as an indication of Romney's leanings in the race, called Bush a "man of great character and humility. He has always been a thoughtful conservative, and a leader that possesses a sturdiness that the country needs right now."

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Flaherty said he and Myers had spoken with multiple campaigns and had been in talks with Bush for several months.

The move comes as Bush works to consolidate support among the GOP establishment, and holds on to one of the top spots in a crowded field of 15 candidates.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin formally launched his campaign Monday. Walker is due Thursday in New Hampshire, a state where Romney placed second in 2008 and won in 2012.

Many of Romney's former aides have splintered among the Republican candidates. But Myers and Flaherty are two of his longest-serving advisers and remain close to the former Massachusetts governor.

Another longtime Romney adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, has not publicly lined up behind any candidate. Fehrnstrom did not respond to a voice mail left for him.

Romney, too, has remained out of the 2016 primary fray, though advisers have said he will likely play a role in shaping the debate.

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Flaherty and Myers joining the Bush campaign is a reunion of sorts with several others who were in Romney's orbit and are already on board. Danny Diaz, the campaign manager, was a senior adviser to Romney in 2012. Bush's national press secretary, Kristy Campbell, was deputy communications director for Romney in the last cycle.

David Kochel, who was Romney's top Iowa strategist in 2008 and 2012, is a chief strategist on the Bush campaign. Sally Bradshaw, one of Bush's closest advisers, ran Florida for Romney in 2008.

Another longtime Bush strategist, Mike Murphy, counseled Romney as far back as his 2002 bid for governor in Massachusetts. Murphy is leading a super political action committee for Bush this election cycle.


Jim O'Sullivan can be reached at jim.osullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.