Michele Bachmann's entire presidential campaign staff in New Hampshire has quit, local television station WMUR reported on Friday.
Bachmann had five paid staffers in New Hampshire, which will hold the first primary in the nation in December or January, and all five of them -- Jeff Chidester, Nicole Yurek, Matthew LeDuc, Caroline Gigler and Tom Lukacz -- announced this week that they would step down.
The staffers said that their support for Bachmann had not wavered, but that they had grown disillusioned with the campaign's lack of focus on New Hampshire, which is one of the four early-voting states with disproportionate influence on the nominating process.
It is understandable that Bachmann has not put much effort into New Hampshire, because its voters are largely moderates and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds a commanding lead in the polls there. She has devoted a lot more resources to Iowa, which holds the nation's first caucus and is home to many socially conservative voters. That strategy makes sense, because she won the Ames Straw Poll there in August, and if there is anything that can revive her floundering campaign at this point, it would be a victory in the Iowa caucuses.
But at the same time, if Bachmann is focusing so much on Iowa that she is actively neglecting other states, that is a problem -- especially because if she did somehow manage to come back and win the nomination, she would need to enter the general election with a strong campaign infrastructure even in the states whose primaries she did not win. New Hampshire is a swing state, too, which makes a base there especially important, even though it only has four electoral votes.
What makes the latest resignations even more worrisome for Bachmann is that they are only the latest installment in an ongoing string of personnel losses. Her campaign manager, Ed Rollins -- who was the driving force behind her dark-horse victory in the Ames Straw Poll -- quit in September for health reasons, and her pollster, Ed Goeas, quit in October when the campaign decided to focus heavily on Iowa, where polling is not the biggest part of a successful strategy.
Bachmann's poll numbers have been languishing in the single digits for more than a month now, down from highs of 15 percent in August. The latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll showed her at five percent.
She also trails her opponents in terms of fundraising, reporting just under $4 million in contributions in the third quarter of 2011, compared to $14 million for Romney and $17 million for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.