WASHINGTON — If former Gov. Rick Perry, as expected, declares his candidacy for the 2016 presidential nomination, he won't have the help of an operative who had worked with Perry after his failed 2012 presidential run.
A political firm that has been part of Perry's brain trust is aligning with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's likely campaign team. On Monday, two veteran GOP consultants, Danny Diaz and Jon Downs of the Washington-based firm FP1 Strategies, joined Bush's Right to Rise Leadership PAC, according to a CNN report.
The move raised eyebrows in Washington, because one of the firm's other founding partners, Terry Nelson, was part of a circle of advisers who aided Perry's effort at redemption after a lackluster 2012 presidential campaign, according to The Washington Post.
The positioning led some in the GOP consultant class to wonder if the firm would split alliances between the two camps.
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That will not be the case, according to a statement from Nelson.
"We have great respect and admiration for Governor Rick Perry as a leader and as a person," Nelson said. "But FP1 has decided that our efforts going forward should be united in the event either Governors Perry or Bush decide to run.”
Nelson was an adviser to a nonprofit called Americans for Economic Freedom that is aligned with Perry advisers.
A representative for Perry didn't immediately respond to a request to comment for this article.
One of the Bush-bound partners, Downs, also produced ads for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in his 2012 primary runoff campaign.