NEW YORK (CNN) - Warren Tompkins, the hard-hitting South Carolina Republican consultant who worked against John McCain during the state’s vicious primary battle in 2000, is now toiling in North Carolina alongside McCain’s campaign on behalf of the Republican National Committee, according to sources.
Tompkins has been working in the state for two weeks, participating in conference calls and traveling up from South Carolina for meetings, said one southern GOP operative.
A McCain campaign official said that Tompkins is volunteering for the campaign, doing so through the RNC, but that he has only been in the state for “a few days.”
The presidential race in North Carolina has tightened in recent weeks, and CNN has moved the reliably red state into the “toss-up” category. The state’s down-ballot Republican candidates - Senator Elizabeth Dole and gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory - are also in tough races.
“He is working for the RNC, so therefore coordinating with all the campaigns,” the operative said of Tompkins. “It’s the final few weeks of a campaign and you need people with experience, and frankly there are not many people in the southeast with near the experience that he has.”
Tompkins, known for hardball tactics, has long been accused of orchestrating a smear campaign against McCain in 2000, but he has never been formally linked to any of the attacks carried out against the Arizona senator. The Columbia-based strategist was a senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s primary campaign in South Carolina last year.
The McCain official said Tompkins was just one of many Republicans coming on board to help the McCain campaign in its final weeks.
“We’re deploying hundreds of political operatives to the battleground states,” the official said.