Newt Gingrich’s already rocky 2012 campaign start got even rockier Thursday when he faced a mass exodus of his senior campaign staff. His campaign manager, spokesman, senior strategists, and other top staff fled Gingrich’s camp. “The candidate and the campaign have different visions for victory,” former spokesman Rick Tyler told The Hill. “The candidate’s vision should prevail; and that’s why the staff has to leave.”
Gingrich, who had just returned from a midcampaign, two-week Greek cruise with his wife Callista (the oddly-timed vacation reportedly ruffled staff feathers and may have been the last straw), posted on his Facebook wall: “I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring. The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles.” He also reportedly sent a reassuring email to supporters Friday morning. “This will be your campaign,” the letter said, according to Politico. [See a slide show of GOP 2012 contenders.]
Gingrich may be committed, but are his supporters? Is this a sign of the end for Gingrich?
“The reality is that Gingrich's serious career in elected politics lasted for 20 years and ended in 1998,” writes Salon editor Steve Kornacki. “One way or the other, he'll soon be taking the same walk of shame off the political stage that he took 13 years ago.”
But, as Christian Science Monitor’s Peter Grier points out, even though it’s likely Gingrich is done, “anything can happen in politics, and has, so you can’t say with surety that Newt is toast.” [Check out political cartoons about the 2012 GOP field.]
And Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, the campaign’s Georgia chairman, as well as former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller, the campaign’s national co-chair, are both sticking with Gingrich, though the other co-chair left the campaign and endorsed another GOP 2012 hopeful, Tim Pawlenty. [Vote now: Who is your pick for the 2012 GOP nomination?]
What do you think? Will Gingrich’s staff exodus kill his 2012 chances? Take the poll and post your thoughts below.
Previously: Should Democrats stand by Rep. Anthony Weiner?