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Former Romney senior aide to work for Bush campaign

Team Bush has snagged a key Romney aide. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

A top aide to Mitt Romney in both of his presidential campaigns has accepted a job working for Jeb Bush's political action committee, as both Romney and Bush weigh 2016 White House bids.

Bush's spokeswoman Kristy Campbell confirmed Thursday that the Iowa-based David Kochel will be a senior strategist for Bush's PAC.

"If Governor Bush were to move forward with a potential campaign, Dave is in line to play a senior role in a potential campaign," Campbell said in an e-mail. "Dave is one of the most respected political strategists in the country and his expertise and leadership will be critical to helping Governor Bush outline his vision for expanding opportunity for all Americans in the coming months."

Romney and Bush, both viewed as establishment candidates, are both fighting for the same pool of donors and advisers as they gear up for their potential 2016 campaigns. Both are conferring with supporters and starting to build (or in Romney's case rebuild) their teams.

"Though the Republican Party has a deep bench of individuals that I respect and admire, I'd encourage Gov. Bush to take his record of accomplishment and dynamic, conservative ideas to the whole nation," Kochel said in a statement, adding that there was "no person better prepared to lead this country ..." than Bush.

The news of Kochel's move was first reported by the New York Times and the Des Moines Register.

Kochel will move to Miami to advise Bush, bringing his considerable expertise about the political landscape in Iowa, a state crucial in the beginning of any presidential race.

Romney narrowly lost the Iowa primary in 2012 to Rick Santorum.

Many Iowa political insiders have long thought whoever Kochel got behind would be the "eventual mainstream consensus pick," according to The Des Moines Register.

Bush advisers also told the newspapers that if Bush does run, Kochel is likely to manage the national campaign.