On Thursday, the campaign of Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson experienced a major shake-up.
On New Year’s Eve Carson’s Campaign Manager Barry Bennett, Communications Director Doug Watts and approximately 20 other staffers quit the campaign after alleged infighting and falling poll numbers.
“Barry Bennett and I have resigned from the Carson campaign effective immediately,” Watts said in a statement. “We respect the candidate and we have enjoyed helping him go from far back in the field to top tier status. Having just announced raising $23m(illion) for the 4th Q(uarter), more than any other Republican candidate, and passing 1 million contributions and over 600 mm unique donors since March, we are proud of our efforts for Dr. Carson and we wish him and his campaign the best of luck.”
Tensions in the campaign seem to have stemmed from friction between figures like Bennett and Watts on the one side and Armstrong Williams, Carson’s close confidant and business manager on the other.
“Some of his advisers just have gotten him to do some things that are not very smart,” Bennett told NBC News in a televised interview to discuss his differences with Williams. “I can’t stop them, but you know, I don’t need to bang my head on a wall anymore.”
One of the ill-advised moves that Bennett apparently opposed was Carson’s decision to invite The Washington Post and The Associated Press to his Maryland home two days before Christmas, at Williams’ urging, to discuss a possible campaign shake-up.
Carson made this decision without consulting either his Campaign Manager or Communications Director first.
Carson released a statement on his website in reaction to Bennett’s and Watts’ departures.
“As we enter a new phase of the campaign cycle, it is necessary to invigorate my campaign with a strategy that more aggressively shares my vision and world-view with the American people. I commend Barry Bennett and Doug Watts for their efforts to help me share my vision for America,” Carson said.
Williams announced that retired Army General Robert F. Dees would be taking over as chairman of the campaign.
[Washington Post] [NBC News] [Reuters]