All five paid staffers in New Hampshire for a Super PAC backing Ben Carson’s presidential bid have left the organization to volunteer for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) presidential bid, New Hampshire television station WMUR reported on Monday morning.
Jerry Sickles, a spokesman for the New Hampshire staff at the 2016 Committee, told WMUR that he and four other employees at the Super PAC felt that Carson had not been spending enough time campaigning in New Hampshire. The staffers feel that Cruz has the best chance to win the nomination, Sickles told WMUR.
“We hold Dr. Carson in the highest regard,” he said. “This is a man we revere, but we think it is important that our party nominate a conservative and get behind a single conservative who can win, and we strongly believe that candidate is Ted Cruz.”
Sickles added that following the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Carson supporters are now looking for someone with more national security experience.
“The Paris and the San Bernardino attacks changed everything,” he told WMUR. “I believe Republicans are looking for a voice that is more emphatic and has dealt with issues of national security. We believe that Ted Cruz is a conservative Republican in the mold of Ronald Reagan and understands Reagan’s three-legged stool of social conservatism, economic conservatism and strength on national security.”
The New Hampshire departures from the 2016 Committee follow the resignations of two top Carson campaign advisers on New Year’s Eve. Campaign manager Barry Bennett and communications director Doug Watts left the campaign, complaining about the influence of Carson adviser Armstrong Williams. Deputy Campaign Manager Lisa Coen also quit her role at the campaign.