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Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign suffered a major shake-up on Monday as her campaign manager and his close deputy, although her aides tried to downplay the changes.
Veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins stepped down as campaign manager for health reasons. The Bachmann campaign stated a strategist is filling in until a replacement is named. Rollins will continue to advise the campaign, according to Bachmann.
“In less than 50 days and with fewer resources than other campaigns, Ed was the architect that led our campaign to a historic victory in Iowa,” Bachmann said in a statement released late Monday, pointing to her win in the Ames Straw Poll last month.
“I am grateful for his guidance and leadership, and fortunate to retain his valuable advice even though his health no longer permits him to oversee the day-to-day operations of the campaign.” Rollins told CNN that the front-runners of the GOP race are Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, stating that Perry’s late entry has affected fundraising for Bachmann.
“I think legitimately it’s a Romney-Perry race,” he said. “I think she’s the third candidate at this point in time – which is way different and better than we’d thought when we started this thing – and she’s very much in this thing.”Rollins suffered a stroke a year ago and doesn’t feel he can carry on as campaign manager.
“I have great affection for her. I’ll do everything I can to help her. It’s still very much the team I put in place. I just don’t have the endurance to go 12-, 14-hour days seven days a week anymore,” he said.
His deputy, David Polyansky, who worked with him when they ran former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid in 2008, also planned to step aside, Rollins told CNN.”David and I have been a team for a long time,” he said. “It’s just a good time to make a change.”
Campaign strategist Keith Nahigian is taking over as campaign manager for the short-term. Prior to the Bachmann campaign, he was a government consultant at the Health and Human Services Department to the Homeland Security Department, as well as to the National Security Council.
“Keith has played a vital role in the success we have had to date and I’m confident he can lead us to a strong finish in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and across the country,” Bachmann said in her statement.
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