Political Insider

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A Georgia-bred operative is at center of Pence's potential 2020 bid

Georgia-bred operative Nick Ayers may already be revving up Vice President Mike Pence's 2020 election machinery.

A must-read New York Times story reported that Pence was methodically working to establish his own identity in case President Donald Trump doesn't run for a second term - and that "sharp-elbowed" Ayers was at its center.

It also noted that Pence's hire of Ayers, a former aide to Sonny Perdue who later led the Republican Governors Association, was in contrast to a tradition of vice presidents tapping Washington veterans as their top aides. From the story:

In a June meeting with Al Hubbard, an Indiana Republican who was a top economic official in Mr. Bush’s White House, an aide to the vice president, Marty Obst, said that they wanted to be prepared to run in case there was an opening in 2020 and that Mr. Pence would need Mr. Hubbard’s help, according to a Republican briefed on the meeting. Reached on the phone, Mr. Hubbard declined to comment.

Mr. Ayers has signaled to multiple major Republican donors that Mr. Pence wants to be ready. Mr. Obst denied that he and Mr. Ayers had made any private insinuations and called suggestions that the vice president was positioning himself for 2020 “beyond ridiculous.”

In a Twitter burst, Ayers has dubbed the report a "total lie." The NYT report was also the topic of a Monday morning Tweet from President Donald Trump: "The failing @ nytimes , which has made every wrong prediction about me including my big election win (apologized), is totally inept!"

Insider's note: This item was ripped and expanded from the Morning Jolt

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.