Perhaps too good a fit — it's hard to see where else his career could have led in journalism. After almost a decade, he left in 1994 to work for Republican state treasurer Joe Malone, who was just starting his second term and gearing up for what would prove an unsuccessful 1998 run for governor.

That race, against fellow Republican and acting governor Paul Cellucci, put Malone staffers like Fehrnstrom and Beth Myers on the outs with the Cellucci administration and the Republican establishment. Fehrnstrom went into political exile at advertising giant Hill Holliday — rescued when Romney came looking for soldiers in his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, which began with the elimination of Cellucci-backed acting governor Jane Swift.

Ever since, every time Fehrnstrom seems in danger within the Romney structure, he has survived. His appointment as Romney's gubernatorial press secretary almost blew up from the start, when Fehrnstrom got into a much-publicized shouting (and allegedly shoving) match with the mayor of North Adams on the set of New England Cable News. Romney stuck with him then, and for his entire term in the State House.

Later, it seemed to many that Fehrnstrom, lacking experience outside the Bay State, was being written out of Romney's 2008 presidential campaign. Somehow, he ended up not only on the team but, at times, the only aide at Romney's side and riding with him on the campaign trail.

This time around, when Romney assembled his team in the spring of 2011, it appeared that Fehrnstrom would play a limited role at most.

Fehrnstrom by then was running the Shawmut Group campaign consulting firm, along with fellow Romney veterans Myers and Peter Flaherty. That trio, who had run Scott Brown's stunning Senate victory, was set to help the Brown 2012 re-election effort. That made it unlikely they could be available for the constant, 24/7 needs of a presidential campaign.

Matt Rhoades, communications director for Romney in 2008, now has the campaign manager role held by Myers last time. For his communications team, he has brought on Evan Yost and Andrea Saul, who worked with him at DCI Group, and Gail Gitcho, who was a regional press secretary for Romney '08 but comes from outside Massachusetts political circles.

When Romney announced his candidacy, last June, journalists and Republican operatives close to the campaign said that the Shawmut Group team had been pushed aside, and were no longer directly involved with strategy or operations.

But, as good as Rhoades, Gitcho, and Saul might be at their jobs, they just can't inhabit Romney's fightin' side. Fehrnstrom eventually maneuvered his way back to become a constant presence with the candidate, and in the media.

CODEPENDENCE

Fehrnstrom's perfect fit with Romney might make him incompatible with any other politician.

After Brown's election in January 2010, the Shawmut Group took on a series of Republican clients. Every one lost, despite the overwhelming GOP success that year. Several were disasters; Rick Lazio, running for governor of New York, suffered a humiliating 20-point primary defeat to underdog Tea Party candidate Carl Paladino.

Fehrnstrom's role with Brown appears to be much-diminished as well — particularly since he got caught anonymously tweeting as "CrazyKhazei" last August.

Fehrnstrom was unapologetic when exposed as CrazyKhazei, telling a Boston Globe reporter, "If you can't stand the tweet, get out of the kitchen."

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