Governor Mitt Romney announced today that Warren Tompkins, a veteran South Carolina political strategist, has joined his Commonwealth PAC as a senior adviser for the Southeast. The Globe reported earlier this month that Romney, who's preparing for a 2008 presidential run, was in talks with Tompkins, but yesterday's announcement makes it official.
Curiously, though, the press release issued by the PAC omits perhaps the most relevant chapter of Tompkins' long resume: His involvement in President Bush's bruising victory over Arizona Senator John McCain in the 2000 South Carolina presidential primary. As Bush's Southeast regional director, Tompkins helped engineer attacks against McCain that helped end his candidacy. Does Romney's hiring of Tompkins for 2008 mean we'll see a 2000 redux?
The State, the daily paper in Columbia, SC, reported yesterday on Romney's hiring of Tompkins. Here's the press release from the Commonwealth PAC:
November 27, 2006 - Governor Mitt Romney’s Commonwealth PAC today announced that long-time South Carolina political strategist J. Warren Tompkins, III has joined the PAC in a Senior Advisor for the Southeast region.
“Few people know the Southeastern political landscape better than Warren Tompkins,” Romney said. “I am pleased that he has joined our team. For nearly 20 years he has been an influence in South Carolina and the region.”
J. Warren Tompkins, III is a long time political strategist who has helped with many local, state and national races. Tompkins burst onto the political scene in 1978 by helping re-elect South Carolina’s Senior Senator, Strom Thurmond. In 1980, the Reagan-Bush campaign sought Tompkins’ advice and made him the campaign’s Executive Director for South Carolina – a role he would repeat in 1984.
Following his work for Reagan’s campaign in 1980, Tompkins was appointed Executive Director of the South Carolina Republican Party in 1981. Under his leadership voter registration exploded and the number of Republican Legislators in the South Carolina Statehouse doubled. In 1986, then Congressman Carroll Campbell tapped Tompkins to help him become only the state’s second Republican governor.
In 1988, Tompkins was a strategist for George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign.
More recently, Tompkins helped Lindsey Graham win the U.S. Senate seat once held by Strom Thurmond. He also advised Senator Jim DeMint’s successful campaign for the Senate. In 2004, Tompkins was the Atlantic Region Chair for the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign.
For the Commonwealth PAC, Tompkins will serve as a Senior Advisor for the Southeastern Region as the PAC shifts its focus to help state and local Republican organizations following the mid-term elections.