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Staffing Up: John Kasich's Super-PAC Hires Fred Davis as Media Strategist

Mark Halperin
June 9, 2015

The Ohio governor is staffing up ahead of an expected run for the White House.

With more than a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls in the 2016 field, the supply of experienced and talented campaign operatives is going to be spread thin.

Looking for a pollster, a finance director, an opposition researcher honcho, or an admaker who can dramatically increase your chances of winning the nomination? Well, the competition to sign top talent is already fierce. Add into the mix that every campaign is trying to staff its main super-PAC with a parallel array of strategists in all of the same roles, and it is clear just how intense the battle is for top shelf players.

In the media strategist category, Ohio Governor John Kasich has snagged a big prize.

According to two people close to Kasich, his super-PAC, New Day for America, has hired Fred Davis to do its media work and strategy.

Davis has toiled on five presidential campaigns, including for John McCain and George W. Bush, and has won numerous statewide races throughout the country. He is also known for a series of TV ads and web videos (McCain's anti-Obama "e;Celeb" spot featuring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears; Christine O'Donnell's “I'm not a witch” ad; Carly Fiorina's “Demon Sheep” video) that have garnered a lot of attention.

Watch Fred's interview with Mark Halperin on the Bloomberg Politics site as they discuss Fred's campaign status.

Kasich recently signed pollster Linda DiVall and has been in talks with John Weaver, two other presidential campaign veterans. Weaver is close to joining the campaign as a chief strategist.

Davis and Weaver have worked together on many campaigns, including the successful election and re-election of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. The pair had helped lay the groundwork for an anticipated presidential run by Snyder. When he unexpectedly decided to not make the race s‎everal weeks ago, Davis and Weaver were left without a candidate for 2016. Their work for Snyder caught the eye of Team Kasich, who found it appealing.

While Davis is slated to be on the super-PAC side of things, Kasich's senior advisers are still sorting out who else should be placed at the PAC and who should work for the campaign. Team Kasich has been holding a series of meetings in Columbus over the last few months, with another slated for this coming weekend, featuring several of Kasich's Ohio advisers as well as others with national experience. Former New Hampshire Senator c has been a regular participant and is expected to play a major role in Kasich's campaign.

Kasich has yet to say when he will formally announce his plans on whether to make a White House run. Although his late start and low name recognition leaves him in a bit of a hole, his growing team and record in Ohio have some Republican Party veterans touting him as an instant first-tier candidate.