The New Hampshire staff for Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) presidential campaign are said to have all quit, with one of the staffers joining Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) campaign.
Bachmann said there was “no truth to that story,” adding that she was shocked to hear claims that her Granite State staff was fleeing, but an adviser to Perry confirmed to The Hill that former Bachmann staffer Caroline Gigler was joining Perry’s campaign.
“I have no idea where this came from, but we’ve made calls and it’s certainly not true,” Bachmann said Friday on Radio Iowa.
Messages left for the New Hampshire staffers were not immediately returned. But Perry’s campaign said Gigler would start work on behalf of the Texas governor within a few days.
“We’re excited to have a new member come on to our field staff,” Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said. “It’s an indication we have a strong organization, in addition to strong grassroots support and strong fundraising.”
Bachmann campaign manager Keith Nahigian said in a statement Friday they knew of no staff departures. But he did concede that Bachmann will be spending most of her time in Iowa."
"We have a great team in New Hampshire and we have not been notified that anyone is leaving the campaign," Nahigian said. "We look forward to spending more time in the Granite State between now and the primary, but our campaign has emphasized that our main focus is the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa and we are continuing to build efforts there. While she will campaign in other states, Michele will spend the majority of her time in Iowa, doing what she does better than all the other candidates - retail politics - leading up to the all important caucuses."
Bachmann’s campaign has been upfront in the past that it was focusing more heavily on Iowa and South Carolina than on New Hampshire. WMUR reported that the departing staff members emphasized the lack of focus on the New Hampshire contest as their reason for quitting — not a lack of support for Bachmann.
Her presidential campaign has steadily lost momentum since she won the Ames straw poll in August. Her campaign reported raising nearly $4 million in the third quarter of 2011, well behind Perry’s $17 million and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s $14 million.
The campaign’s departures are the latest in a series of personnel losses for the Minnesota congresswoman’s campaign. In September, Ed Rollins quit as campaign manager, citing health reasons.
“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 of the Rollins departure. “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.”
Bachmann also lost her top pollster, Ed Goeas, in early October. Goeas said he left because the Bachmann campaign planned to focus primarily on winning Iowa.
“Doing a lot of polling is not what you do in Iowa. You spend your money on voter identification,” Goeas said, according to Reuters.
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— This story was originally posted at 11:35 a.m. and last updated at 5:28 p.m.