Pence To Replace Chief Of Staff With Senior Campaign Adviser

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a rally to gather support for the Republican plan for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act at the Trans Parts and Distribution Center, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a rally to gather support for the Republican plan for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act at the Trans Parts and Distribution Center, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in... Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a rally to gather support for the Republican plan for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act at the Trans Parts and Distribution Center, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) MORE LESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff will leave the White House and be replaced by a senior Pence campaign adviser who has been helping lead a pro-Trump group.

Pence’s office said Thursday that chief of staff Josh Pitcock will be succeeded in August by Nick Ayers, a longtime political operative from Georgia. The changes were first reported by The New York Times.

The move is the first big shake-up of the vice president’s team since he took office.

Pitcock has served as a top aide to Pence for more than a decade, including during the vice president’s time in Congress and as Indiana governor. Ayers advised Pence during the 2016 campaign and while Pence served as governor.

Ayers has been a leader of America First Policies, a pro-Trump outside group. The organization had prepared ads targeting Republican holdouts on the Senate’s health care bill, and aired ads pressuring Nevada Sen. Dean Heller to support the plan.

Pence said Pitcock has “played an invaluable role throughout my public career” and credited Ayers’ “friendship, keen intellect and integrity.”

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