GOP 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has hired people close to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to head his campaign in Florida.

The Miami Herald reports:

Some of the biggest and deep-pocketed Republican heavy-hitters opened their wallets Monday for Sen. Marco Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC, which pulled in an easy $200,000.

Organizing the event: Rubio fundraiser Esther Nuhfer, whom we just learned is going to be Gingrich’s finance director.

Nuhfer is a political consultant who also has ties to Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, whom the Federal Election Commission asked to explain personal and campaign finance accounts in August. The St. Petersbrug Times reported in February that “criminal investigators in Miami and Tallahassee comb[ed] through [Rivera’s] personal finances and campaign accounts — including the Senate account that fattened Nuhfer’s paycheck. Investigators are focusing on Rivera’s tight relationship with Nuhfer.”

The Herald also reported Monday that “Republican presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich has hired” Jose Mallea, “U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s former campaign chief [to] be his Florida director.”

According to the Herald, Mallea “has ties to former Gov. Jeb Bush’s political machine as well as Miami City Hall” and “brings Gingrich’s campaign a wealth of connections to Florida Republicans and Miami-Dade’s Hispanic community. Mallea is also a co-owner of Local Craft Food & Drink in Coral Gables.”

The conservative political blog Shark Tank writes that Mallea’s “hire may be an indicator of a significant shift of support towards Gingrich, as there is speculation around the state that a good portion of former Rubio staffers and operatives- including many others from current and ‘suspended’ presidential campaigns are lining up to get on board Gingrich’s campaign.”

According to the Herald, Rubio said that as House speaker, Gingrich “was pretty consistently in favor of the positions of the Cuban exile community.”

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