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McCain hires Boston political operative for exploratory committee
By Dave Wedge Boston Herald Chief Enterprise Reporter

Friday, January 19, 2007- Rob Gray, a longtime GOP operative who helmed former Gov. Mitt Romney’s rise to power in the Bay State, has joined the presidential exploratory team for Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Recognized as the top GOP public relations and political strategy firm in Boston, Gray’s company, Gray Media, has had longstanding ties to Romney. Gray was senior advisor to Romney during the former governor’s successful 2002 campaign.

Gray’s vice president, Dominick Ianno, was Romney’s research director in 2002 and served as Romney’s handpicked director of the state Republican party for nearly two years. Gray’s company also worked for Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey in her race against Gov. Deval Patrick.

Despite the firm’s Bay State Republican ties, Gray said the decision to sign with McCain is not a snub to Romney.

“I like Mitt and I wish him well but I think John McCain is the right candidate to carry our party to victory in November 2008,” Gray said. “I’m pro-McCain, not anti-Romney.”

The move will help McCain combat Romney’s entrenched GOP base in the Boston area as the pair square off in the 2008 Republican presidential primary. McCain is also setting up campaign headquarters in Manchester, N.H. in anticipation of that state’s all-important primary.

Gray, who was a strategist for President George W. Bush’s campaigns in 2000 and 2004, will serve as McCain’s senior advisor on communications and political affairs in New England.

“Rob Gray has a proven track record of providing quality advice and counsel,” McCain said in a statement. “He is an important addition to the team we are building.”

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