Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush would rather have people focus on this week’s trip to Europe and next week’s 2016 campaign announcement, but right now he and his people are dealing with a staff shake-up.

In a move  that took some observers by surprise, Bush has appointed Republican strategist Danny Diaz as his campaign manager.

That job had been expected to go to top Bush aide David Kochel, who will instead serve as a chief strategist for the early caucus and primary states on the Republican calendar next year.

Kochel “can best position us for success by playing a key leadership role focusing on how Jeb wins primaries, caucuses, and ultimately the general election,” senior Bush adviser Sally Bradshaw told The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on Diaz’s elevation to campaign manager.

“Danny’s skills in rapidly moving content and campaign organization makes him perfectly suited for running the day-to-day operations,” Bradshaw said.

The moves, coming  a week before Bush makes his formal entry into the race, drew intense media interest.

The New York Times reported that Bush “shuffled his political team” in order “to address persistent questions surrounding his presidential candidacy a week before he plans to announce his formal entry into the race.”

The Washington Post described Diaz’s promotion as “a frank acknowledgment that Bush’s six-month ‘exploratory phase’ has not met expectations and that the former Florida governor needed a new consultant to take the reins ahead of his campaign kickoff in Miami on Monday.”

The news comes as Bush prepares to make what aides are billing as a major foreign policy speech Tuesday in Berlin, kicking off a Europe trip that will take the Florida governor to Poland and Estonia as well as Germany.

In his remarks, Bush is expected to promote free trade between the United States and Europe, and to criticize Russia President Vladimir Putin over aggression in Ukraine.

Bush’s announcement speech comes Monday in Miami.

Reports Reuters:

“He (Bush) is at or near the top of Republican polls, but has been unable to break away from a host of challengers for the nomination. Many conservatives remain skeptical of Bush, who was Florida governor from 1999 to 2007.

“Still, he has raised huge sums of money to bolster his candidacy and is expected to announce in weeks that his super PAC has raised at least $100 million and possibly more, a figure that far surpasses what other candidates have raised, a Republican familiar with the campaign said.”