McCain Campaign Returns to Its Stopgap Model

Sen. John McCain favors regional campaign operations.
Sen. John McCain favors regional campaign operations. (Mary Altaffer - AP)
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Sunday, April 6, 2008

When Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) began running for president last year, he built a campaign staff modeled on the successful blueprint employed by President Bush in 2004: a strong and large centralized staff with a series of local and state operatives reporting up to the national advisers.

Then the bottom fell out. McCain ran out of money over the summer and experienced a staff exodus that left him with a skeleton national crew and a group of largely volunteer staff in the early-voting states. And, yet, somehow it worked.

That success has emboldened McCain's campaign to re-create its primary model for the general-election campaign, bypassing a huge national staff in favor of a series of nine regional operations led by operatives who report to campaign manager Rick Davis.

The hiring of these regional campaign managers is ongoing. But The Fix got a look at those who have agreed to serve and the regions they will oversee. Take a look:

· Jim Barnett (New Hampshire/Northeast): A former chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, Barnett was a regional political director for McCain's presidential bid before being made New Hampshire campaign manager in May 2007.

· Doug Davenport (Mid-Atlantic): Davenport launched the government affairs (read: lobbying) practice at DCI Group in 2000. Before that he was director of government relations for a lottery company.

· Buzz Jacobs (Florida): Jacobs served as South Carolina state director for McCain in the primaries and was part of a spartan group, which included longtime adviser Richard Quinn, that directed the senator to a crucial victory in the Palmetto State.

· Gentry Collins (Iowa/Midwest): Collins is the only regional campaign manager hired so far who worked against McCain in the primaries. Collins was Iowa state director for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's presidential bid and, before that post, served as political director of the Republican Governors Association during the 2006 cycle.

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