WASHINGTON -- Tim Miller, a rising star in the world of Republican political opposition research, has joined Jeb Bush's political action committee as a senior adviser. Miller co-founded America Rising, a GOP tracking group that digs up and distributes negative information about Democratic candidates. Miller is expected to join the former Florida governor's as-yet unofficial presidential campaign as communications director.
Miller is part of a new generation of opposition researchers working for groups like American Bridge to the 21st Century on the left, and America Rising on the right. Using increasingly sophisticated methods, these groups churned out reams of negative information on candidates in 2012 and 2014, helping to sink the campaigns of hopefuls such as Democratic Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley in 2014 and Republican Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin in 2012.
For Jeb Bush, an establishment candidate with a reputation for reasoned and well-informed policy positions, Miller promises to bring a communications style to the campaign that is sharper and grittier than the candidate's own. Bush's decision to hire Miller, a prolific Twitter user, also reflects the growing importance of social media as a key element of political communications, a shift from just a few years ago when candidates' Twitter and Facebook pages were often managed by lower-level staffers, while communications directors interacted mainly with the press.
Miller, who is openly gay, is no stranger to presidential politics, having previously worked on the campaigns of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) and Arizona Sen. John McCain (R). Just this past week, Miller used his very active Twitter account to take repeated jabs at Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, both potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidates.