Updated at 3 p.m.:
We’ve learned that Republican candidate for governor John Oxendine will name a new campaign manager — Tim Echols, a conservative Christian organizer who helped U.S. Rep. Paul Broun of Athens win his seat.
This is the first staff shake-up by a candidate in the 2010 race, which has already been underway for more than a year.
“There are some similarities between Oxendine and Broun,” Echols said. “When a guy is willing to take on the establishment — I’m really drawn to people like that.”
Echols will replace Kathryn Ballou, who will shift to head a separate Oxendine support group, Transform Georgia. Her husband, Jeff Breedlove, will remain as a chief strategist for Oxendine.
Echols is the founder of TeenPact, an organization that introduces kids — often home-schooled — to the workings of government. He’ll remain as president of the TeenPact board, we understand.
Echols, who gave some thought to a run for the state Senate to replace Ralph Hudgens (R-Hull) this year, was a significant player in this year’s fight to defeat Sunday sales of beer and wine in the Legislature.
Echols said nothing should be read into his appointment. “As a campaign ramps up, you need to bring more people to the table. There’s nothing about their campaign plan that I’m changing,” Echols said.
Except for raising money. “I’m going to put a tremendous effort on fund-raising,” he said.
June 30 is the deadline for candidates to disclose their campaign contributions for the first six months of the year. And the amount raised often reflects on a candidate’s viability.
Oxendine also has been dealing with a state Ethics Commission investigation into $120,000 funneled by two connected insurance companies to his campaign through 10 Alabama political action committees. Oxendine returned the money but the investigation is ongoing.
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