Gingrich campaign hit by more departures

at 03:20 PM ET, 06/21/2011


Newt Gingrich’s two top fundraisers quit his presidential campaign Tuesday. (Patrick Semansky/AP)
Two top fundraisers for Newt Gingrich have quit, the latest in a series of staff departures that have badly hamstrung the former House Speaker’s 2012 presidential bid.

Fundraising director Jody Thomas and fundraising consultant Mary Heitman have both abandoned the campaign, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond confirmed Tuesday.

Neither Thomas nor Heitman returned an e-mail seeking comment on their departure.

Their resignations come less than two weeks after more than a dozen staffers — including the campaign manager, chief strategist and key operatives in states like Iowa and South Carolina — departed en masse.

“The campaign will continue to reorganize,” Hammond said. “We are going to duct-tape together one coalition of Americans after another that believe in his large, bold vision of change.”

Hammond added that the campaign still has “over a dozen staffers” and that the finance director job would be filled internally by a longtime Gingrich loyalist.

The latest departures come just a week before the fundraising deadline for the second quarter — an early test of strength for the Republican field.

They also come on the heels of reports that Gingrich is struggling to raise money — his former advisers said he didn’t have the $25,000 to pay the filing fee to enter the Ames Straw Poll or the $30,000 needed to buy the list of previous Iowa caucus attendees — and spending heavily on luxuries like chartered jets.

Many of the people who left Gingrich’s campaign said that he showed little interest in dedicating himself to the day in, day out grind of raising money.

Given those fundraising realities, Gingrich will likely be left with a campaign that centers on appearances at candidate forums and debates and making speeches on a variety of policy topics.

“Newt’s strength is his ability to put forward bold and new ideas,” Hammond said.

Campaigns, of course, require money to run — even if they are operating on a bare-bones level like Gingrich appears to be doing at the moment. Two sources familiar with the Gingrich operation said that the campaign was operating with $800,000 to $1 million in debt.

There’s always the possibility that Gingrich can rebuild his finance and political operations over the next few months, but the continued departures make it extremely difficult for him to gain any meaningful momentum.

“It’s highly improbable,” said one former Gingrich adviser of a political comeback. “ He has no donors, no political support [and] no campaign.”

 
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