COLUMBUS, Ohio – Republican operative Jai Chabria, a key adviser to Gov. John Kasich, will open an office here for the public affairs firm Mercury LLC.
Among Mercury’s partners is Mike DuHaime, a top strategist for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who like Kasich ran unsuccessfully for this year’s GOP presidential nomination.
Chabria, whose friendliness with DuHaime helped pave the way for the opportunity, will begin June 1 as a managing director. The firm is known for its lobbying, but Chabria said he intends to leave such work to others. Mercury also specializes in public relations and political consulting.
The office will be Mercury’s first in Ohio and one of 19 in the U.S. or Mexico.
“I’m really excited about this,” Chabria said Thursday. “I’m looking forward to building it out.”
DuHaime said Mercury had been interested in moving into Ohio for a while.
“Ohio, obviously, is an incredibly important state,” he said. “Jai is the top in his field. He understands business, understands government. He’s the senior person for the governor of one of the most important states in the country.”
Chabria, 38, served as a senior adviser in the Kasich administration before leaving in February to pursue other projects. Since then he has been leading the Ohio Republican Party’s planning efforts for this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Chabria said he will continue in that role. He also remains close with Team Kasich.
He has been with the governor for 20 years, having started with the then-congressman as a political assistant in 1996. He worked on Kasich’s brief and unsuccessful presidential bid during the 2000 election cycle. He was the second man in the two-man office in Columbus that Kasich often talks about when he downplays his time working for Lehman Brothers. And he helped build the early framework of Kasich’s 2016 White House campaign, which ended earlier this month.
“If John Kasich were a building, Jai Chabria would be a cornerstone of that building,” John Weaver, Kasich’s chief strategist, said Thursday. “He’s excelled at everything he’s done. It’s a smart move by Mercury to grab such a talented, plugged-in guy.”