Tim Kraft, the 38-year-old Hoosier who organized Jimmy Carter's 1976 Iowa caucus victory and later became the president's appointments secretary, is leaving the White House to become Carter's 1980 campaign manager.
Kraft's move was announced yesterday by White House chief of staff Hamilton Jordan. It was part of a turnover of senior staff positions that also includes the departure of presidential counsel Robert J. Lipshutz and the elevation of Sarah Weddington to take over may of Kraft's political liaison duties.
Jordan also announced that Alonzo L. McDonald, who headed the U.S. negotiating team in the recently concluded Geneva trade talks, will join Jordan's staff as "White House staff director."
And he said that another ambassador, Esteban E. (Ed) Torres, the American representative to the U N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, will be special assistant to the president for Hispanic affairs.
The moves were part of the promised shakeup that began with the re placement of several Cabinet members late in July and will continue, Jodan said, through the remainder of this month.
White House press secretary Jody Powell, said that by the time it is completed, 20 or 25 White House staff members, most of them at lower levels, will be removed or transferred as a result of an evaluation process still under way.
Except for Gerald M. Rafshoon, who is leaving as assistant to the president for communication sometime this fall to rejoin his advertising firm, which will handle that aspect of the Carter campaign, there are no indications of further changes in the senior White House staff.
Jordan said specifically that Frank Moore, the head of congressional liaison, will remain in that post.
There are widespread reports that Lloyd N. Cutler, the Veteran Washington attorney who is serving as a special White House counsel for matters relating to the strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT) with the Soviet Union, will replace Lipshutz on a permanent basis.
But Jordan said only that Lipshutz will remain as counsel "until we find a suitable replacement."
At that time, he said, the Atlanta lawyer, who served as treasurer of Carter's campaign committee, will go home to Georgia.
He will join another close associate of the president, Charles A. Kirbo, as co-trustee of Carter's private holdings, Jordan said, and will become chairman of a commission to create a Carter presidential library.
Lipshutz received some criticism inside the White House for his handling of the Bert Lance investigation, when he reportedly encouraged Carter to come to the defense of the embattled former budget director.
But Jordan went to some lengths to indicate that Lipshutz was leaving by hiw own choice and in good standing. Referring to the preponderance of Georgians on the senior staff, Jordan said. "Bob [Lipshutz] recognized the need for greater diversity." He also said that Lipshutz "is not interested in a judgeship, but if he were, the president would be honored to consider him."
Jordan also insisted that the dispatch of Kraft to the Carter-Mondale reelection committee was not a sign of dissatisfaction with the work of Evan Dobelle, who has been its top executive for the past eight months and will retain the title of chairman.
"We think the campaign is in good shape," Jordan said, but from now on, Dobelle will concentrate on fund-raising (he served previously as treasurer of the Democratic National Committee) while Kraft "will run the campaign."
In moving Kraft, who has handled political liaison for the White House to a full-time campaign position, Jordan is signaling a setup in preparations for the 1980 race. He said, however, that there had been no decision on when Carter will formally announce as a candidate.
Kraft, a native of Indiana, graduate of Dartmouth College, and former Peace Corps volunteer, hooked up with the Carter campaign while serving as Democratic Party executive director in New Mexico.
After helping Carter score his first 1976 victory in the Iowa caucuses, he ran Carter's campaign in the key Pennyslvania primary and became Jordan's deputy in the general election.
Weddington, a 34-year-old attorney and former Texas legislator, who replaced Midge Costanza as special assistant to the president for women's affairs, now becomes the second woman member of the senior staff. Anne Wexler is Carter's assistant for public liaison.
Jordan said Weddington would take over most of Kraft's political liaison work, but not the supervision of personnel decisions. He said she would retain her jurisdiction over women's issues.
The hiring of McDonald, who has been deputy special trade representative for the past two years, is a move by Jordan to improve coordination of the White House staff.
He said McDonald, who at 50 is 16 years' Jordan's senior, "will serve as staff director, acting and speaking on my behalf in managing White House affairs." He said McDonald, who spent 17 years as a management consultant, would "free me up to do more thinking and planning."
Torres, 49, who spent 14 years in staff jobs with the United Auto Workers union before being named as an ambassador in 1977, will take on the politically sensitive job of serving as White House liaison with Hispanic-American organizations.
That post has been vacant since early this year, when Hoseph Aragon resigned from Jordan's staff to return to business in Los Angeles. Hispanic groups, including one at the White House yesterday, have complained that members of their community have been overlooked in top-level Carter administration appointments.
Jordan used the occasion of the staff change announcements to underline his newly designed role as official chief of staff. He said he had informed the president of the plans, but had basically made the decisions.
He also said he had met individually with other members of the senior staff to go over their aides' evaluation forms, which were filled out three weeks ago.
They "revealed a number of weaknesses," he said, "which will be the basis of changes that will be made" in the supporting staffs in coming weeks. Jordan said he hoped the process will be complete by the time Congress returns after Labor Day.
He said Weddington and McDonald will receive the same $56,000 salaries as Jordan and other members of the senior staff. Torres, a special assistant to the president, will be paid $51,000. CAPTION: Picture 1, TIM KRAFT, has handled political liaison; Picture 2, ROBERT J. LIPSHUTZ, out as presidential counsel