By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Jeb Bush has picked a veteran of party politics, Danny Diaz, as his campaign manager in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, his team said on Monday.
The choice of Diaz was a bit of a surprise since Bush had been expected to appoint another experienced political strategist, David Kochel. Instead, Kochel will be a senior strategist focused on organizing Bush support in the early voting states.
Kochel is a veteran of Iowa Republican politics and his skills will be put to the test in the state early next year when it hosts the first nominating contest on the road to the November 2016 presidential election.
"David can best position us for success by playing a key leadership role focusing on how Jeb wins primaries, caucuses, and ultimately the general election and Danny's skill at rapidly moving content and campaign organization makes him perfectly suited for running the day-to-day operations," said Bush senior adviser Sally Bradshaw.
Polls of Iowa Republican voters put Bush in the middle of the crowded Republican field with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker leading the pack. Many conservatives remain skeptical of Bush, Florida governor from 1999 to 2007 who is expected to formally announce in Miami on June 15 that he is running for the White House.
Bush's campaign will split functions, with some duties done by a traditional campaign apparatus and others performed by his Right to Rise SuperPac.
Diaz will lead the traditional campaign organization while Bush strategist Mike Murphy will be in charge of the SuperPac. Murphy was the chief strategist for Bush in his campaigns for Florida governor.
Bradshaw, a long-time confidant to Bush, will continue to be a senior adviser.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Grant McCool)