Last week, there was a mass exodus of Michele Bachmann’s New Hampshire campaign staff, and it seems that the Minnesota Congresswoman’s already ailing campaign is barely hanging on by a thread.
We reached out to the former staffers to get the real story behind the dramatic departure and their accompanying statement excoriating the national campaign staff.
Their accounts indicate that Bachmann’s New Hampshire meltdown is merely a symptom of deep-rooted organizational and behavioural problems that are rapidly derailing Bachmann’s White House bid.
Tension has been building between Bachmann headquarters and the New Hampshire staff since the campaign got underway in June, said Karen Testerman, a senior volunteer for Bachmann’s New Hampshire operation who has been elected to speak for the five paid staffers who left the campaign.
“This has been festering for a long time,” Testerman said. “When the current national team took over there was a hope that things would improve, but it actually deteriorated further. There was no communication from the national campaign.”
But the New Hampshire team reached its breaking point when Bachmann returned to the state earlier this month, Testerman said.
“The national team was less than professional in dealing with the people of New Hampshire, and we would have to go back and smooth over ruffled feathers,” she said. “They were aggressive — it was really bizarre behaviour. They’ve been doing this for some times, you would think they would know how to behave.”
In one particularly strange incident, a senior campaign staffer walked up to a Bachmann supporter holding a handmade sign and “rather brusquely” pulled the sign out of her hands, refusing to provide an explanation, Testerman said. At another point, a senior campaign aide made “demeaning” remarks to a fan who was taking pictures of the Congresswoman.
After the trip, at least two of the five New Hampshire staffers decided that working for Bachmann was no longer worth the risk to their professional and personal relationships in the state, Testerman said. The rest of the staff reached out to the national campaign to indicate that they wanted to stay on but never heard back from anyone. By Friday, all five decided it was time to go. At least one former Bachmann staffer has moved to Rick Perry’s campaign.
“This reflects very badly on the Congresswoman,” Testerman said, adding that she was not sure whether she would continue supporting Bachmann. “It all depends on what she does now, whether she decides to bring on a new campaign manager. If she doesn’t bring on someone else, then that shows she can’t disassociate from people who aren’t reflective of who she is. And that raises questions about what kind of people she would have around her if she was President.”
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