Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign has taken another major hit as his organization lost its second co-chair in Iowa Monday, the Des Moines Register reports. Perry now has only one paid staffer left on his Iowa team, but has no current plans to drop out of the Republican primary campaign.
"We are continuing our Iowa campaign, with several September dates planned and other dates under consideration," Bob Haus, Perry's Iowa strategist, told the Register. Haus is currently working in an unpaid advisory role, which he did for Perry in the 2012 election cycle as well.
Karen Fesler quit as Perry’s Iowa co-chair on Monday and moved to the rival Republican campaign of Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania she supported in the 2012 election cycle. Fesler’s departure comes just one week after Perry’s other Iowa co-chair, Sam Clovis, left for Donald Trump’s campaign team.
Perry’s campaign has been recently plagued by financial problems, and earlier this month one of his aides confirmed that the campaign was so strapped for cash it was no longer paying staffers.
“Rick Perry is finished,” Iowa State University political scientist Steffen Schmidt told the Des Moines Register earlier this month. “When you can’t pay your staff any more, your campaign is over. You can’t run a campaign on people who are volunteering for you because these are professionals that you hire and they need a job and they need to work. They are not just volunteers.”
Currently, Perry’s Iowa campaign has only two people on staff: Haus, now an unpaid adviser, and Jamie Johnson, who had previously focused on all early-state campaigns but is now leading the Iowa operation, CNN reported.
In an attempt to aide Perry in Iowa, the pro-Perry Super PAC called Opportunity and Freedom is expected to launch its own field operation, which is scheduled to be operational on Tuesday. The group said Monday that it has hired an Iowa state director and deputy director, CNN reported.
Perry’s Iowa team will now have a smaller staff and will be more volunteer-based, as will his team in South Carolina, said Haus.
"If we can rehire staff after the 15th, our Iowa team will get first consideration," said Haus, the Des Moines Register reported. “They are a talented team, and loyal. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, we've seen it, and we'll emerge."