Politics & Policy

Rubio Campaign Snags Former Romney Policy Director

Lanhee Chen (via stanford.edu)

Lanhee Chen, the Hoover Institution fellow who served as policy director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, is signing on as a policy adviser to Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.

Chen’s decision, which was confirmed by the Rubio campaign, underscores Rubio’s commitment to being one of the 2016 candidates most conversant and fluent on policy issues. Chen will advise Rubio on both domestic and foreign policy and also lend a hand on debate prep, as he did for Romney in 2012.

Rubio is running a streamlined campaign and has maintained a small policy team. Chen, who will serve in a part-time capacity, keeping his day jobs at Hoover and at Stanford University, joins policy director Jonathan Slemrod, who came to the Rubio campaign from the office of Majority Whip John Cornyn (R., Texas), and Jamie Fly, the senator’s longtime national security and foreign policy adviser, who is volunteering his time on the campaign while maintaining his role in Rubio’s senate office. He’ll also have company from a number of former Romney strategists already on the Rubio team. Rich Beeson, who served as political director for the Romney campaign in 2012, is Rubio’s deputy campaign manager. Jim Merrill, Romney’s New Hampshire strategist, is playing the same role for Rubio.

#share#Chen is the first outside adviser announced by the Rubio campaign, which has remained a small circle even as some of the senator’s challengers, such as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, have brought on marquee names. Bush in February unveiled a team of foreign policy experts comprising dozens of members of his father’s and brother’s administrations. In the spring, Walker announced that former Missouri senator Jim Talent and former Romney adviser Robert O’Brien were joining his foreign policy team.

— Eliana Johnson is Washington editor of National Review.

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