US campaign guru Jim Messina signed up for Tory election role


A US campaign guru who worked for Barack Obama and helped secure David Cameron's 2015 election win has been signed up by the Conservatives again for the June 8 vote.

Jim Messina, who also worked for the failed campaign to keep the UK in the European Union in the 2016 referendum, has been hired for the general election, a senior Tory source confirmed.

Lifelong Democrat Mr Messina was deputy chief of staff at the White House during Mr Obama's first term and masterminded his successful bid for re-election to the US presidency in 2012 as campaign manager.

He is recognised as a leading expert in digital communications and the use of data to identify voters.

Mr Messina is not the only part of the backroom team behind Mr Cameron's unexpected outright win in 2015 to have been rehired by the Tories.

Political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby will be involved in running the Conservative Party's general election campaign, as he was in 2015.

He will play a leading role in the campaign with his colleague at CTF Partners, Mark Textor, alongside Tory chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin and strategist Lord Gilbert.

Some of his techniques, such as the so-called "dead cat strategy" of using shocking tactics to divert attention away from another issue, and the work of his lobbying firm, including with the tobacco industry, have proven controversial.

His firm's running of Zac Goldsmith's failed London mayoral campaign last year was criticised, even within the Tory Party, for its negative messaging and focus on Sadiq Khan's Muslim background.