Jon Huntsman, lagging in the polls and apparently low on money, is again shuffling his organization and moving resources from Florida to New Hampshire.
Jim McCray and Monica Notzon, two Washington-based fundraising consultants for Huntsman, are parting ways with the campaign, according to GOP sources. Ann Herberger, a longtime fundraiser in Florida who had been working for Tim Pawlenty, is joining the campaign as the finance director. Also coming on board to work as a senior communications adviser is Ben Porritt, a press hand who worked for John McCain and George W. Bush.
McCray had been the top national finance man for Huntsman and Notzon was working on the former governor’s D.C. fundraising and was assisting with their bundlers program.
McCray’s departure is especially notable because he had been close for years with Huntsman strategist John Weaver and worked with him on past campaigns.
Huntsman campaign manager Matt David said McCray would still help the campaign, but just not on a day-to-day basis. Herberger will now be the full-time finance chief, based out of the campaign’s Orlando headquarters.
But others familiar with the situation said McCray was finished with Huntsman.
McCray declined to comment, but two Republicans familiar with the situation pointed a finger at Weaver, whose treatment of staff has been attributed to partly explain the exit of a number of other Huntsman aides.
“He was spending money without asking anything about how much they could raise or spend,” said one Republican of Weaver. “Then he’d go ape—— at Jim about their money issues.”
This source said Huntsman is “running on fumes” and that the candidate had to put $500,000 of his money into the campaign recently to help make payroll.
Huntsman’s campaign acknowledged that the former governor had put in more of his own cash, but wouldn’t say how much and insisted it was for New Hampshire resources and not to pay staff and consultants.
But in a sign that Huntsman is facing increasing urgency and a financial crunch, he’s also moving some staffers from his Orlando campaign operation up to New Hampshire - a state he must show life in to go forward.
Huntsman’s campaign is framing their Florida retrenchment as a sign of the diminishing importance of the Presidency V, the straw poll later this month, but since launching his bid the former governor has lavished attention on the Sunshine State, making multiple campaign trips and basing his office there.
The governor turned ambassador’s bid got considerable attention when he launched in the spring, but his mild manner and moderate positioning has left him in the back of the pack to date. Huntsman officials were pleased with his debate performance last night and hope that the three forums this month will allow him for a campaign reset.
But he keeps grappling with staff turnover and whispers of financial problems. He’s already replaced his campaign manager and seen a slew of other aides depart.
The addition of Herberger and Porritt and transfer of resources reflect David’s effort to revamp the campaign and keep Huntsman in the mix of what increasingly is a race dominated by Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.
The question now is whether they have the money to keep going and fight their way into the action.
The finance team shake-up was first reported by National Journal.
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