WASHINGTON -- Former Minnesota operative Jeff Larson was brought on to the Republican National Committee as a senior adviser, just as the organization begins to build up for the 2016 presidential race, officials said Thursday.

Larson was toiling in the trenches last year working at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, steering independent cash to races. His fundraising efforts were successful: the NRSC raised just over $125 million and the Senate flipped red last November. Republicans hold a 54-46 advantage. 

(The Dems still raised more at $145 million.)

Larson was former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman's right-hand man during his recount fight against current Sen. Al Franken. Larson also was largely credited for the success of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

In a quick phone interview Thursday, Larson said he will be advising RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

Asked what he thought Republicans vying to be a presidential contender needed to hear, Larson said he hoped "civility was part of the process."

"I think they need to be respectful and that's what Reince has talked about and that's the right messaging," he said.

Larson noted the field of challengers was promising.

"They stack that up with Hillary, who is older and tired and has the same policies Barack Obama has," he said, "I don't thinik they (voters) want a third term for Barack Obama."