Anytime you see the staff become the topic in a political campaign, you know a candidate is in trouble.
Today, it’s the turn of GOP presidential wannabe Tim Pawlenty – and his Atlanta-based campaign manager, Nick Ayers.
The Huffington Post started the ball rolling last week with a few lines suggesting that Ayers, a twenty-something wunderkind who only a few years ago was a go-fer for Sonny Perdue, was ready to jump ship to the campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. It was forcefully denied:
“That’s insane. That’s on the record,” said Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant. Ayers laughed out loud when asked about the rumor and dismissed it out of hand.
On Monday, it was the turn of Matt Lewis and the conservative Daily Caller, with this harsh assessment:
If Mitt Romney was the most hated candidate among his 2008 GOP peers, Nick Ayers is probably the most hated among the political operative set — and for many of the same reasons: His self-promotion is utterly transparent — and his early successes have made him a target of jealous contemporaries.
As if Romney and Ayers had the only two egos in all of Iowa.
That said, Jennifer Rubin over at the Washington Post today has the proper feel for the situation:
What is clear is that Pawlenty’s campaign is in danger of losing any semblance of professionalism. It is taking on a frazzled, if not chaotic, aura. And that’s the last thing the campaign needs as it tries doggedly to make a respectable showing in Ames.
GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is in town today and Thursday.
He’ll start the morning off with a trip to the Genesis Shelter in Atlanta, which specializes in care for homeless infants and their families. Then it’s off to lunch with state GOP leaders.
A 1 p.m. session with volunteers sending phone calls into Iowa and New Hampshire will be capped with a session with local reporters. If you’re at the Pirates-Atlanta game tonight, look for the Pennsylvania-born Gingrich to be shaking a few hands there, too.
Thursday will include a date with Cartersville Rotarians – the noon topic is banking – and a few minutes touring a nearby cowboy art museum.
Attorney General Sam Olens on Tuesday threw out a few ideas on agriculture and immigration. From the Savannah Morning News:
What Georgia really needs, Olens said, is a guest worker program much like North Carolina’s, which provides fast, uncomplicated access to farmers who need help with crops.
Georgia’s procedures require farmers to understand and comply with 160 pages of regulations that most attorneys can’t follow. In North Carolina, farmers can go through co-ops that arrange for workers.
Where do they keep the detention hall for principals? From the Associated Press:
FORT VALLEY, Ga. — Documents show the teaching certification for Peach County High School’s principal was suspended for two weeks after he used school funds to support a fraternity brother’s campaign for a state fraternity office.
Georgia Professional Standards Commission documents show that Principal Bruce Mackey’s certification was suspended from April 26 to May 11. After the suspension, he returned as principal.
The commission documents show Mackey’s secretary issued a $100 check for the campaign at Mackey’s request last Aug. 24.
Mackey said Tuesday he does not see the donation as a personal benefit to a fraternity brother, but as consistent with donations the school makes to other civic organizations.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at state Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers’ claim that “the state of Georgia is near the bottom among states for SAT scores and graduation rates.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider