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UCP leader Jason Kenney names senior campaign team, new chief of staff

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney on Wednesday announced the members of his senior campaign staff, which will be led by his former caucus chief of staff and includes a pollster who helped get Doug Ford elected premier of Ontario.

New senior strategic adviser Dimitri Pantazopolous recently helped Doug Ford get elected premier of Ontario

UCP Leader Jason Kenney has announced the senior members of staff for his party's 2019 election campaign. (CBC)

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney on Wednesday announced the members of his senior campaign staff, which will be led by his former caucus chief of staff and includes a pollster who helped get Doug Ford elected premier of Ontario.

Dimitri Pantazopolous was named senior strategic adviser for the campaign. He was an adviser and pollster for the Ontario PC party during the June 2018 election.

The Vancouver-based partner in Maple Leaf Strategies worked last year on Kenney's campaign to become UCP leader. He once worked as a pollster for former prime minister Stephen Harper and former B.C. premier Christy Clark.

Nick Koolsbergen, who became chief of staff after Kenney won the UCP leadership in October 2017, has been named the party's campaign director for the 2019 provincial election.

The campaign has named Andrea Smotra as director of election readiness. She worked as deputy director of issues management for Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, the Prairie regional affairs adviser for Harper, and director of the regional office for former Conservative agriculture minister Gerry Ritz.

The next provincial election is expected to be called in the spring of 2019. The UCP is currently Alberta's Official Opposition party, but polls suggest it is leading the governing NDP by a significant margin. 

Jamie Huckabay will take over Koolsbergen's former job as chief of staff to the UCP caucus. He was in charge of convention operations for Kenney's successful Progressive Conservative leadership campaign in March 2017. The PCs and the Wildrose party merged a few months later, and that fall Kenney was elected as leader of the new party.

Huckabay was born and raised in Lethbridge. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Lethbridge and an MBA from Oxford University.

He was a Fulbright Scholar at Johns Hopkins University, where he received a master's degree in international relations and economics.

Huckabay's latest job was as director of enterprise services with Taplytics, a mobile tech firm based in Toronto and San Francisco. According to his LinkedIn profile, Huckabay has experience working in Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea. 

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