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Portman’s Communication Director Leaving for Family Reunion

Portman is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Portman is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rob Portman’s communications director Caitlin Conant is decamping for Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign, where she’ll join her husband.  

Portman’s longtime spokeswoman will join her husband Alex, who is the communications director for the Rubio campaign. Caitlin Conant will run regional communications and surrogate operations for the campaign as the calendar turns into the presidential election year.  

The Conants worked together most recently during the 2014 cycle in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, serving as reinforcements for the Sen. Joni Ernst’s campaign.  

The addition of another experienced communicator could be a sign of the start of an expansion heading into 2016.  

The news comes as a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey gives ammunition to the Rubio team about their candidate’s electability, with him besting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton 48 percent to 45 percent in a hypothetical matchup.  

But, the move could be viewed as a blow to Portman, as the departure comes as the Ohio Republican faces a tough re-election race in which he is one of those targeted by Democrats in their quest to take control of the Senate in 2016. Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the Ohio Senate race as Leans Republican .  

The Washington Post first reported the move, ahead of Ohio-based newspapers. It follows quickly after Ohio’s other senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, lost communications director Meghan Dubyak, who moved to the executive branch to serve as press secretary for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

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