AP sources: Bachmann staff in New Hampshire quits

By Steve Peoples

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Oct. 21 2011 2:30 p.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011.

Jeff Chiu, Associated Press

EXETER, N.H. — Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is losing her New Hampshire staff.

As many as five staffers formally left Bachmann's campaign this week, two people with direct knowledge of the situation said Friday. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose internal workings of the campaign.

Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart disputed reports of a staff shakeup, saying: "We have a great team in New Hampshire. We haven't been notified that anyone's left the campaign."

Still, Stewart said that she hadn't been able to reach the top New Hampshire staff to confirm they were still on board. She said she had reached some junior staffers who didn't say they were leaving.

Campaign finance reports show that Bachmann, who has fallen in polls and struggled to raise money, had five paid staff in New Hampshire as recently as late September.

The Republican presidential contender has largely ignored the first-in-the-nation primary state in recent months. She has been focused on Iowa and South Carolina, where her social conservative message has more appeal.

Bachmann has visited New Hampshire twice since launching her presidential campaign in June, and Stewart acknowledged a greater focus on Iowa, where Bachmann was born and where she won the GOP's presidential straw poll in August.

Her Iowa staff is small. The paid Iowa team consists of her caucus campaign director, state Sen. Kent Sorenson, as well as two staff and a communication director who had been an Iowa aide to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty until he left the race two months ago.

Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.

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