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Gingrich Senior Campaign Staff Resigns

Thursday, 09 June 2011 11:06 By Jeff Zeleny and Trip Gabriel, The New York Times News Service | Report
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Newt Gingrich’s campaign manager and a half-dozen senior advisers resigned on Thursday, two aides said, dealing a significant setback to his bid to seek the Republican presidential nomination and severely complicating his plan to make a political comeback.

The campaign manager, Rob Johnson, along with longtime spokesman Rick Tyler and advisers in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, joined together to step down after a period of deep internal disagreements about the direction of the campaign.

Mr. Gingrich, a former House speaker who has been fighting to regain his political footing after a rough campaign roll out last month, had been absent from the campaign trail for about two weeks on what aides had described as a pre-planned vacation. He made his first return to the campaign trail on Wednesday in New Hampshire, one day before the resignations were announced.

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The defections included several veteran Gingrich political advisers, along with new aides who were recently hired. The list, according to two aides, included: David Carney, a New Hampshire-based political strategist, Sam Dawson, a strategist, Katon Dawson, a South Carolina consultant and Craig Schoenfeld, an Iowa consultant.

The resignations were first reported on Thursday afternoon by The Associated Press. Two aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the resignations to The New York Times. The aides said the future of Mr. Gingrich’s campaign was not immediately clear.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page Thursday afternoon, Mr. Gingrich said he would not abandon his presidential campaign. He said that his next public appearance would be this week in California at an event sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition.

“I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring,” Mr. Gingrich wrote. “The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles.”

The shakeup comes as the field of Republican presidential candidates remains unsettled. Two of the advisers to Mr. Gingrich also have been top political aides to Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who is taking a second look at exploring the party’s presidential nomination.

Jeff Zeleny

Jeff Zeleny is a political correspondent for The New York Times

Prior to joining The New York Times in September 2006, he was a national political correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.

Mr. Zeleny joined the Chicago Tribune in 2000 as a reporter on the Metropolitan desk in Chicago, where he was a member of the reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize in explanatory journalism for documenting gridlock in the nation's air traffic system.

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