ABC News’ Kevin Chupka Reports: As ABC News confirmed Friday, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., announced some new political muscle for his campaign during an afternoon press conference in New Hampshire.
Ed Rollins, Ronald Reagan’s 1984 national campaign director officially joined the Huckabee campaign as national campaign chair and senior advisor.
"Ed Rollins has served Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan and has held significant positions in a number of White House staffs including running the 1984 campaign for President Ronald Reagan," Huckabee said. "It was the largest landslide campaign in history of the United States where 49 states were carried by President Reagan."
Rollins joked to reporters Friday, "This is going to be a unique campaign for me. This is the only campaign I’ve ever been in where there are no donuts and no booze," referring to Huckabee’s strict diet.
No stranger to controversy, Rollins might also be a familiar name because of his notorious stint as Christie Todd Whitman’s campaign manager during her successful 1993 run for governor in New Jersey.
After her victory, Rollins was quoted in a Time magazine article to have secretly paid black ministers and Democratic activists to stay home on Election Day leading to Whitman’s slim victory over then- incumbent, Jim Florio.
"We went into black churches and we basically said to ministers who had endorsed Florio, ‘Do you have a special project?’ And they said, ‘We’ve already endorsed Florio.’ We said, ‘That’s fine — don’t get up on the Sunday pulpit and preach. We know you’ve endorsed him, but don’t get up there and say it’s your moral obligation that you go on Tuesday to vote for Jim Florio.’ " said Rollins, according to the Nov. 1993 Time article.
Rollins also claimed in the same article that Republicans offered compensation to Democratic "key workers" to "go home, sit and watch television."
More recently Rollins has been an active part of the Senate campaigns of New York’s KT McFarland and Florida’s Katherine Harris. That campaign proved tumultuous and, according to a May 2006 Wall Street Journal article, after failing to attend a meeting where Harris announced bringing in "new blood," Rollins soon quit the campaign.
On Friday Rollins said this would be his last campaign.
"Over the last six months I’ve watched [Huckabee] build his campaign, and build his communication skills, to inspire people to where I think we are in a very exciting place," he said.
"This is my last campaign; my wife will divorce me, my daughter won’t talk to me and I’m too old. I still don’t know if I’ll survive without the booze and the donuts."