Mass Exodus From Georgia Republican Senate Campaign

Four top staffers for Rep. Phil Gingrey’s (R-GA) Senate campaign resigned on Monday.

The staffers included consultant Chip Lake, campaign manager John Porter, political adviser Justin Tomczak, and political director David Allen.

“We were just at a crossroads and I decided that it would be best if both parties moved in a different direction,” Lake said in an email to TPM on Tuesday. “I have nothing but respect for Phil Gingrey and wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the departures had to do with a “leadership struggle” on Gingrey’s campaign. Lake refused to elaborate on the disagreements to TPM. The exodus of the staff seems to be, in part, the result of longstanding tensions between Gingrey and his family and members of the campaign staff over leadership and the campaign’s directions.

“We had a preliminary meeting yesterday morning and I don’t think we agreed as a team to resign. I think we all made our own decisions,” Allen told TPM in a separate interview on Tuesday. “We all believed the campaign needed to go one direction and I think we all just came to the same realization this is not serving Phil well, it’s not serving us well.”

In an interview with Roll Call Lake said he and Gingrey disagreed about aspects of the campaign. 

“We just had some disagreements on overall campaign vision and structure, and everything kind of falls under that umbrella,” Lake said. “When that happens, you try to work it out, and when you can’t work it out, you sit down and have difficult discussions on how to move forward.”

The departures come a week after Gingrey’s campaign released an ad in which Gingrey promises to either help repeal Obamacare during his first year in office or go home.

Gingrey’s office released a statement thanking the departing campaign staff for their work.

“I’m deeply grateful and appreciative of their efforts on behalf of my campaign, without which we could not have gotten this far,” Gingrey said in a statement. “They helped us get up and running and saw us through its first phase, up to my ‘Repeal or Go Home’ pledge. And now as my campaign enters its next phase, I remain committed to my pledge to repeal Obamacare or return home and am energized by the support and encouragement I continue to receive.”

In September Gingrey complained that while his staff could leave government and make $500,000 as lobbyists he is stuck in Congress making just $172,000 a year. And in January, Gingrey defended former Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) “legitimate rape” comment as “partly right.”

This post was updated. 

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