ABC News’ Christine Byun reports: In his not-yet-announced bid for the Republican nomination, former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., has announced that Bill Lacy, a former strategist and aide to President Ronald Reagan, will be the new manager of his exploratory committee.
Lacy will have "full operational control of the Friends of Fred Thompson committee and will report directly to Thompson," Thompson spokesperson Linda Rozett said in a statement released Wednesday.
Lacy told ABC News that he will officially start on Monday. He will temporarily relocate from Kansas to Virginia to help out. Lacy said Thompson called him last month and asked him to help out with the testing-the-waters phase. In a phone interview, Lacy said his first task will be to take "the exceptionally good things" going for the committee and "weave them together."
Lacy represents the latest leadership shift for the campaign-in-waiting. Thompson’s first committee manager, Tom Collamore, was bounced out of the top spot in July. GOP strategist Randy Enwright and Spencer Abraham, a former Michigan senator and former energy secretary, were then signed on to lead the committee.
Enwright "was and still is Political Director for the campaign," Rozett tells ABC News. Rozett says Abraham was on vacation when he joined the committee and still needs to sit down with Thompson to discuss his responsibilities as a senior advisor. In an interview with ABC News, Rozett called Lacy ‘s role as the committee manager an "additive move."
"My immediate goal to provide stable, hands-on leadership and to retool the Thompson operation to implement a non-traditional, message-driven effort," Lacy said in a written statement.
Lacy has worked with Thompson before. He managed Thompson’s first senate campaign in Tennessee in 1994, in which Thompson beat out the the Democratic frontrunner. Ironically, Lacy advised Thompson against using his infamous red pickup truck to campaign, which is now somewhat of a Thompson "mascot."
Lacy recently wrote a glowing piece titled "Thompson Knows How to Get There," in the Knoxville News Sentinel, that reads like a job cover letter. He outlines why Thompson is a strong candidate and acknowledges that Thompson faces a "challenging vetting process," which has obviously started as Thompson’s staffing change-ups and wife’s political influence within the operations have come under scrutiny in the news media.
Lacy says he is confident of Thompson in the article: "In the darkest hours of his political career, when the wheels were about to come off his first campaign, he figured out how to scoop them up, put them on a red truck and drive off into the sunset."