Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele has reportedly hired Gentry Collins to be the party's new political director. Could be a sign of Romney making inroads with Steele. Collins has been a Romney guy for several years.
Back in 2005, when Romney became chairman of the Republican Governors Association, he made a strategically savvy move in hiring Collins as RGA political director. Why so savvy? Because Collins hails from Iowa, the most important state in Romney's 2008 Presidential plan. Collins was executive director of the Iowa GOP, and ran the statewide campaign for the gubernatorial candidate there in 2002. He was one of the best possible people to have running Iowa's caucus for a GOP candidate, and Romney scooped him up early.
After Romney's two years as RGA chairman, he immediately made Collins his Iowa State Director.
For the general election, McCain-Palin hired him on in a minor role as a regional campaign manager, but Collins is clearly a Romney guy.
Hey wait, you're thinking now -- didn't Romney lose the Iowa caucus -- despite an enormous lead in the polls, a massive monetary advantage, and most of the other candidates skipping the state?
Why yes. And Republican governors lost every seriously contested race in the 2006 election cycle that Collins ran. And the 2002 candidate for governor of Iowa lost. And Iowa Republicans lost seats in the 2004 elections when he was running the state party. And McCain got killed by Obama in Iowa, the crucial state Collins was running for the general election. (The others were Illinois, where McCain had no chance, and Missouri, where McCain was favored and barely squeaked out a win.)
To be fair, these days it's hard to find Republican political directors with a recent history of success. But not all of them have quite the history of failure that Collins sports on his resume.
In any event, Romney now has his guy -- good or not -- in a key spot to set the national Republican message and agenda.