Lance Dutson, CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, will soon run the U.S. Senate campaign for Republican Charlie Summers.

Dutson, a Portland resident, confirmed Thursday that he was leaving the conservative advocacy group effective Friday. Dutson will become Summers’ campaign manager.

Dutson said MHPC will announce his replacement on Monday.

Dutson, 39, is considered a savvy operative whose expertise could help Summers in his bid to defeat independent Angus King and Democratic candidate Cynthia Dill.

Prior to becoming the CEO of the MHPC, a conservative advocacy group, Dutson worked as communications director for state House Speaker Rep. Robert Nutting, R-Oakland. He previously worked on the congressional campaign for New Hampshire Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and was been involved in communications and strategy for the Maine Republican Party during the party’s sweep of the state Legislature and the governor’s office.

Dutson’s new post as Summers’ campaign manager is a step above his previous campaign involvement. He said the importance and the profile of the Senate race prompted him to leave MHPC, a non-profit group that cannot expressly advocate for candidates.

“It’s very important to make sure that the Republicans hold this senate seat,” he said. “Charlie is a good friend. I have a huge amount of respect for him and I think he’s the man to do the job. It’s a totally natural transition and I’m very excited to be able jump right into the fight.”

Dutson is considered among GOP circles to be a savvy operative and messaging strategist. He quickly ascended the ranks of the Maine Republican Party after starting his political career as a conservative blogger.

“Lance is an outstanding leader with a sharp political mind,” Summers said in a release. “His skills and experience will be an incredible asset to my campaign for U.S. Senate. This will be a challenging race, and Lance will help lead us to victory in November.”