by Javier Manjarres
Haridopolos seems to be in a bit of a pickle with the most recent shake up of his campaign- not one like Newt Gingrich’s Presidential campaign recently endured, but a significant one nonetheless. Haridopolos’ top political consultant and campaign manager have left the campaign, bringing that to a total of five staffers and consultants that have left his campaign.
The Politico and the Miami Herald are now reporting that long-time Republican operative Arlene DiBenigno will be the campaign’s new manager. DiBenigno is well respected in political circles and has proven herself to be up to the task of running the day-to-day of U.S. Senatorial campaign.
The Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo makes the following interesting points regarding the presumption that Haridopolos’ campaign is stagnant and in trouble:
The departures from his campaign mirror the situation in his legislative office, where spokesman David Bishop left to work for the Florida lottery and chief of staff Steve MacNamara departed to take the same position with Gov. Rick Scott. Haridopolos’ other close aide, Chris Finkbinder, is also set to leave for Scott’s office.
There are no announced campaign-staff replacements. Haridopolos’ campaign has struggled to find a spokesperson in recent weeks. One possible replacement for Bainter could be Public Concepts, a hard-hitting West Palm Beach-based consulting firm. Owner Randy Nielsen said he was unaware of the changes in Haridopolos staff.
But, Nielsen said, Haridopolos has a trump card in the crowded Republican race: He has the most money, which can buy television ads that move the needle of public opinion.
How long Haridopolos can retain that edge is unclear. The upcoming session should provide him some extra opportunities to get more contributions from lobbyists and people seeking to do business with the state – his primary source of campaign income.
Haridopolos raised $2.5 million in the first quarter of the year. But his fundraising dropped sharply to about $900,000 over the last three months, according to his campaign. Former Sen. George LeMieux announced he raised the most: about $950,000.-Miami Herald