Senior staffers bolt from Gingrich’s campaign
Newt Gingrich’s campaign was effectively over when he went on Meet the Press and trashed Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal - just two weeks after saying he’d vote for it - and also endorsed a form of the individual mandate, the centerpiece of ObamaCare. But if there was any question that Gingrich was done, news that his senior campaign staffers bolted yesterday should leave little doubt:
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign imploded Thursday afternoon with his entire senior staff resigning en masse, according to multiple sources familiar with the moves.
“When the campaign and the candidate disagree on the path, they’ve got to part ways,” said Rick Tyler, a longtime Gingrich spokesman who was among those who left the campaign.
Tyler as well as Rob Johnson, Gingrich’s campaign manager, Dave Carney and Katon Dawson, senior strategists to the effort, media consultant Sam Dawson, Iowa strategist Craig Schoenfeld, South Carolina operative Walter Whetsell and Georgia-based adviser Scott Rials have all stepped aside. Much of Gingrich’s early state operation was also headed for the exits, according to a one senior campaign source.
There was a divide over Gingrich’s commitment to the race. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Gingrich and his wife have been on a cruise in the Mediterranian for at least a week; and not in Iowa or New Hampshire working to build grassroots support and votes like nearly every other campaign. Interestingly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that’s Gingrich’s campaign office in Buckhead sits empty indicating that “staff had not been there in awhile.”
Gingrich apparently plans to relaunch what is left of his campaign on Sunday, but he’ll have to do with his national co-chairman, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue; who wasted no time in expressing his support for Tim Pawlenty (it’s worth noting that Nick Ayers, Pawlenty’s campaign manager, served in that same capacity during Perdue’s bid for re-election in 2006). Perdue released this statement through Pawlenty’s campaign:
Tim Pawlenty is a great man, he was a phenomenal governor, and he is the person I now believe stands the greatest chance of defeating President Obama. He is the only candidate who has laid out a real plan to grow the American economy, and his track record in Minnesota is proof he’s the right man for the job.