Gingrey loses top campaign staff

Four top campaign staffers have resigned from Rep. Phil Gingrey's (R-Ga.) Senate campaign.

General consultant Chip Lake, campaign manager John Porter, political director David Allen and political adviser Justin Tomczak have all resigned, dealing a major blow to Gingrey's election hopes and signaling turmoil within his campaign.

"It just wasn't working out. It was no one thing here or there. Its as a difference of opinion on an overall vision of how a campaign should be executed," Lake tells The Hill. "Ultimately, that difference of opinion led to a meeting yesterday, and we decided it was best for everybody." 

Gingrey, one of many Republicans vying to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), said his campaign would not have gone as far as it has without the contributions of the exiting staffers.

"They helped us get up and running and saw us through its first phase, up to my “Repeal or Go Home” pledge," he said. "And now as my campaign enters its next phase, I remain committed to my pledge to repeal ObamaCare or return home and am energized by the support and encouragement I continue to receive."  

Gingrey's campaign has struggled from the start with gaffes.

Gingrey, an obstetrician, said earlier former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) was "partly right" when he said women rarely get pregnant from "legitimate rape." He later apologized for the remark.

He has also suggested requiring grade school children to take classes teaching them about traditional gender roles, and most recently complained about his congressional salary in a closed-door GOP meeting, saying he was "stuck here making $172,000."

Lake, who's worked with Gingrey since his first House race, said "the gaffes created a challenge for the campaign, but they had nothing to do with what transpired yesterday.

Gingrey is running against Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) as well as former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) and David Perdue (R), a self-funding businessman and cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R). The crowded primary is a wide-open battle, with the top two candidates advancing to a runoff.

The eventual primary winner will face businesswoman Michelle Nunn (D), the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.). Democrats are hopeful they can make the race in the Republican-leaning state competitive, especially if the GOP nominates a flawed candidate.

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