Carson loses most of NH super-PAC staff to Cruz

Getty Images

Ben Carson's presidential aspirations have taken another hit, with nearly his entire super-PAC staff in that state quitting to support rival Ted CruzTed CruzWould internet transition have an impact on current US election? Trump haunts McCain's reelection fight The Trail 2016: On the fringe MORE

The original report , from New Hampshire's WMUR, said that all five paid New Hampshire staffers at the main pro-Carson super-PAC, The 2016 Committee, resigned on Sunday.
 
But a source familiar with the political action committee's operations told The Hill on Monday that one paid staffer, Sarah De La Cerda, remains in New Hampshire supporting Carson "and intends to remain there."
 
ADVERTISEMENT
This latest damaging news follows the resignations of two top Carson aides — campaign manager Barry Bennett and communications director Doug Watts — on New Year's Eve after a power struggle with Carson's business adviser, Armstrong Williams.
 
Carson's support has plunged in recent polls, and the leader of the New Hampshire super-PAC staff, Jerry Sickles, told WMUR.com that while they continue to respect the retired neurosurgeon, they have concluded that Cruz, a senator from Texas, has a better chance of winning the Republican nomination.
 
"We hold Dr. Carson in the highest regard," Sickles told WMUR. "This is a man we revere, but we think it is important that our party nominate a conservative and get behind a single conservative who can win, and we strongly believe that candidate is Ted Cruz."
 
Sickles also criticized Carson for not visiting New Hampshire frequently enough to give their ground game a chance at success.
 
"I can't tell you how many times I would be out talking to voters who liked Dr. Carson but said, 'Can you get him to come here?' " Sickles told WMUR.
 
Carson has spent most of his time in Iowa, where he was once leading in the polls, with high popularity among evangelical Christians. But after stumbling on national security questions, his support has drained away and been captured overwhelmingly by Cruz, who is now leading in the Hawkeye State.
 
Carson has made a total of 32 campaign stops in New Hampshire, according to the New England Cable News campaign tracker, compared with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has made 140, the most stops in the state.
 
Responding to the super-PAC departures, Carson campaign spokesman Jason Osborne said, "As the two are separate we don't know why they left but the campaign is excited about the support we have on the ground and the revitalized energy of the campaign in general. 
 
"Our NH campaign is going strong.  We have ten staff members and hundreds of volunteers on our Carson NH team going door to door and making phone calls for Dr. Carson.  
 
"We are looking forward to the next few weeks and are confident that our support will continue to grow."
 

More in Presidential races

Trump super-PAC chairman: If election were today, Trump would 'lose badly'

Read more »