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April 26. 2012 6:09PM

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Manchester's Biundo, former Santorum campaign manager, moves to key post in Romney camp

MANCHESTER -- Veteran Manchester Republican activist Mike Biundo, the former national campaign manager for Rick Santorum, has signed on with the Mitt Romney campaign in a key post organizing conservative voters for the presumptive presidential nominee.

UnionLeader.com has learned that after guiding Romney's chief rival's presidential effort, Biundo has now been hired for the general election as the Romney campaign's deputy national director of coalitions.

“Mike Biundo ran an outstanding campaign for Senator Santorum,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. “We are excited that he has agreed to bring his considerable skills and abilities to our team.”

Williams said Biundo's decision to join the Romney camp “is another indication that Republicans are coalescing around Governor Romney's pro-jobs, pro-growth message and quickly uniting to defeat President Barack Obama.”

Biundo, a long time political strategist in New Hampshire, rose quickly in the Santorum campaign to become the former Pennsylvania senator's national campaign manager. Focusing on grassroots organizing skills honed in campaigns ranging from Pat Buchanan to Rep. Frank Guinta, he guided the campaign as Santorum rose to become Romney's chief challenger for the nomination.

When Santorum dropped out of the race on April 10, the Romney camp moved quickly to recruit him.

“They called shortly after Rick dropped out,” Biundo said. “We had several conversations. I spoke with Rick and made sure it was OK with him before I moved, and he gave his full blessing on it.”

He said he agreed to go to work for Romney after two meeting with top campaign officials.

“I feel comfortable with the decision,” Biundo said. “You fight for the nomination, but our main goal is to beat Barack Obama and the people in Boston at Romney headquarters made me feel good about what we did in Rick's campaign.”

Biundo said that in his role, he will work to build coalitions, especially key conservative coalitions, for Romney by speaking with “Tea Party activists, evangelicals, the pro-life community and the Second Amendment community to make sure those folks are plugged into the general election and are ready to fight to bring Mitt Romney to the White House and Republicans into office throughout the country.”

He said he will also work to attract Santorum backers to Rommey. While Santorum himself has not yet endorsed Romney, “Obviously we had a good cross section of the Republican base on board and my first calls will be to our supporters in swing states that Rick did well in, trying to build coalitions.”

Biundo said he is confident that Republicans will unite for Romney.

“We need to strongly get behind the nominee to defeat Barack Obama,” said Biundo. “We can't rest on what happened in 2010. We have to work harder and I think the base will realize that.”

The Romney campaign has not yet announced who will be its coalitions director, but Biundo will work closely with Romney national political director Rich Beeson, Williams said.

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