Vice President Mike Pence just made a huge hire in bringing on board 34-year-old hotshot political consultant Nick Ayers as his chief of staff.
— Nick Ayers (@nick_ayers) June 18, 2017
Ayers is well-known among Washington insiders; his career has advanced at an absolutely astounding rate for someone so young:
In 2007, Ayers burst onto the scene as the 24-year-old executive director of the Republican Governors Association. But his political break came even earlier, when Ayers, then 19, hit it off with a longshot candidate for Georgia governor named Sonny Perdue. Perdue hired Ayers as his driver, and then won the governor’s mansion a year later. Four years later, Ayers ran Perdue’s successful reelection in 2006 and then went with Perdue to the [Republican Governors Association], when the Georgia governor helmed the committee tasked with electing Republicans to governors’ mansions.
Ayers became the executive director of the RGA at age 24. During his tenure, Republicans went from holding 25 governors seats in 2007 to 32 in 2011, including Scott Walker in Wisconsin and John Kasich in Ohio.
But Pence didn’t hire Ayers based on credentials alone. They’ve worked together on damage control efforts before:
Pence had met Ayers while he was at the RGA and signed him up for his 2016 bid, but Ayers started early after a 2015 religious-freedom bill in Indiana both ignited controversy in the state and took Pence from a 62 percent approval rating to a number in the mid-40s.
“When Gov. Pence was looking for outside consulting help, his team talked extensively with Nick,” said Bob Grand, a longtime Pence adviser and Indianapolis lawyer. “All of us were very impressed, at a young age he has great insight. And I think the governor, now vice president, was very comfortable with his style and his advice.”
Ayers was also “intimately involved” in Pence’s campaign for vice president – so clearly he’s someone Pence trusts.
— Nick Ayers (@nick_ayers) November 8, 2016
According to Nathan Daschle, a Democratic lobbyist who was the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association when Ayers ran the RGA:
“In Nick, Mike Pence will get a very savvy and aggressive political mind,” Daschle said. “He’ll also get intense loyalty. He won’t have to worry about Nick and that he’s got 100 percent loyalty out of his top person.”
This is Pence’s first major staff shakeup, and it’s a smart move. As vice president, Pence needs to support Trump while also maintaining his own stable “brand,” so to speak, and Ayers will help him do exactly that.
What do you think of Pence’s decision to hire Ayers as his new chief of staff? Share your thoughts in the comments below!