COLUMBIA, S.C. - U.S. Sen. John McCain hired his former national field director to run a possible presidential campaign in South Carolina.
Trey Walker, field director during McCain's unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2000, began working for the Arizona senator on Monday, McCain's exploratory committee said in a news release.
Walker, 39, a former state GOP executive director, will be responsible for lining up potential staff and volunteers as well as setting up an exploratory office in South Carolina.
In 2000, Walker was field director when then-Texas Gov. George Bush beat McCain in the South Carolina primary after McCain won New Hampshire.
Walker had been working as chief executive assistant to Republican state Attorney General Henry McMaster. He also worked for McMaster when he was the state GOP chairman during most of the 1990s.
Walker was a campaign consultant to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2002 when he ran to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond.
Walker has been working informally for McCain for months, sending e-mails to reporters of news stories favorable to McCain or critical of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
The Palmetto State will hold the first-in-the-South GOP presidential primary in 2008.