Bachmann staff shakeup: Chief of staff, campaign fundraiser both out

Update: I reached Ron Carey late Tuesday. His comments have been added to the story – DW

WASHINGTON — Rep. Michele Bachmann’s chief of staff has left her office just five months after arriving, and her campaign finance director is out as well in a major staff shakeup today.

Bachmann spokeswoman Rachel Horn confirmed that Chief of Staff Ron Carey, a former state party chair who had only held the job for five months, was out but declined to say why because “details of personnel decisions are always confidential.”

Carey is the fifth chief of staff Bachmann has had in her three-and-a-half years in office, an unusually high turnover rate for that position on Capitol Hill.

“Congresswoman Michele Bachman thanks Ron Carey for his service to her and to the district and wishes him the best for his future,” Horn said. “Effective August 1st, she also welcomes Andy Parrish back as a Senior Advisor to the Congressional office and expects a smooth transition that will continue to put the needs and priorities of the 6th Congressional District first.”

Carey said he reached his decision over the 4th of July weekend and notified Bachmann of it then. His last day is Friday.

“I’m really proud of the team that we created,” he said, “and I’m really proud of not only the congressional staff but the campaign staff as well.”

Carey declined to say anything further about his departure. Asked if he had anything lined up, he said he had “several irons in the fire.”

Also out is Zandra Wolcott, Bachmann’s long-time finance director whose departure comes days after Bachmann reported a staggering $1.7 million haul for the second quarter of this year, bringing Bachmann north of $4 million for the cycle in what could be the most expensive race this fall.

Bachmann Campaign Manager Gina Countryman declined to address the cause of the split, but sent me the following:

Congresswoman Bachmann thanks Zandra for her service and looks forward to opportunities to work with her again in the future.”

Calls to Walcott were not immediately returned, and she offered only a vague explanation for the departure when reached by POLITICO’s Kasie Hunt.

“I am leaving the campaign,” said Wolcott, a successful Minnesota operative who was a lead consultant for President George W. Bush’s campaign in the state.

“It’s just time to move on,” she told POLITICO. “I have other things to do here in Minnesota.”

Wolcott would not say whether she decided on her own to leave the job or if the campaign asked her to leave.

Carey said the two departures weren’t related.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 07/13/2010 - 06:27 pm.

    Bewildering, given the money that’s come in and the recent poll giving Bachmann a 9 point lead. Perhaps it’s because Bachmann polled at less than 50%. That or they’re confident the job’s done and are moving on to other battles.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/14/2010 - 09:17 am.


    Perhaps it’s just gotten too challenging to deal with the level of crazy so clearly visible in Ms. Bachmann. She seems to demonstrate a high level of “they’re out to get me (us)” in her attitudes, but I suspect this is the case in her personal life as much as her public life.

    I don’t believe her striking and strident statements to that effect are just attention-seeking political posturing.

    That, and of course, her tendency to be all over the map in her mood and attitude from one minute to the next may make her a very challenging boss.

    Indeed, when the boss wants one thing one day, and exactly the opposite the next, without ever acknowledging (or realizing?) that she’s completely contradicting herself, it can make the life of underlings very difficult.

    And, of course, it can get very tiresome and difficult to keep trying to figure out how to keep the crazy under wraps and explain away the things your boss says, day after day after day.

    With the fall campaign heating up, these talented operatives may have seen it all as just too much to bear as they sat there in mortal fear that Ms. Bachmann would, at any moment, express an attitude so offensive, and so far from reality as to turn even the public of the Sixth District against her,…

    in the sure knowledge that it would be their job to try to explain it away and that they would be blamed for failing to figure out how to do so.

    Meanwhile Rep. Bachmann would just do as she always does, go on to blather her way through the next interview, shooting from the hip every step of the way, seemingly (and unconsciously) trying to find a way to destroy her own career by constantly trying to hit new lows in her gaffiness, day by day.

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