U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann continues to go through staff at a high rate in her first term. Richard Dunn, who had been Bachmann’s second chief of staff, left that job in the last few days, along with legislative aide William Schirano, formerly of the Heritage Foundation, and the office manager of her district office, who has the wonderful name Destiny Mask.
Mask has apparently moved to the Bachmann reelection campaign (although no one was answering the phone at the campaign to confirm that). So Mask shouldn’t be viewed as a refugee from the atmosphere that has led to so many changes in Bachmann’s staff to date.
During Bachmann’s first 13 months in office, there has been at least one turnover in every one of the top leadership positions in the Bachmann office: the chief of staff, the legislative director, the district director and the communications director. All four of the jobs dealing with substantive legislative work have also turned over.
A certain amount of turnover in the office of a first-term congressman is common. But losing or firing all of her original leadership team and all of her legislative team and now starting on her third chief of staff puts Bachmann toward the high end of the spectrum in terms of turnover.
The only people still working for Bachmann’s office who were around in the first quarter of her term are in lower-level positions, handling phones, scheduling and grants.
A call Tuesday morning to Bachmann’s spokester, Steven Miller, seeking comment on the changes and the high level of turnover, was not returned.
Bachmann, a conservative Republican and former state senator, is heading for her first reelection bid in November.
Two DFLers are competing for the opportunity to oppose her. Bob Olson is a banker and lawyer who has been an activist on the issue of alternative energy. Olson briefly sought the DFL endorsement for U.S. Senate last year before switching to the race in Bachmann’s Sixth District.
The frontrunner for the DFL endorsement is Elwyn Tinklenberg, former mayor of Blaine and state transportation commissioner. Tinklenberg lost an endorsement contest in the district in 2006 to child welfare advocate Patty Wetterling, who went on to lose to Bachmann.
Tinklenberg recently won the support of Education Minnesota, adding to a long list of labor endorsements.