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Michele Bachmann Loses Staff

The entire paid New Hampshire staff for Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has resigned, in another blow to the Minnesota congresswoman’s foundering campaign.

Jeff Chidester, Bachmann’s former New Hampshire campaign director, confirmed the mass exodus. “The New Hampshire team has quit,” he said. “We’ll issue a joint statement as to our reasons why.”

Chidester’s confirmation, made via email and voice mail to National Journal and CBS, followed a confusing day in which Bachmann insisted that reports of the staff departures were untrue. But Chidester said he left last week and informed “people that are closest to Michele.”

“I’m sorry the national team is confused,” he said. “They shouldn’t be.”

One of the aides who quit, Caroline Gilger, Bachmann’s southern state field director, is joining the rival campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, a total of four staffers have left: Chidester, Gilger, Tom Lukacz and Nicole Yurek. Uncertain was the future of staff member Matt LeDuc.

Chidester is a longtime Bachmann friend and supporter and a well-known radio talk show host. Reached by email on Friday, Chidester told CBS/NJ that the staff will be issuing a joint statement. “We are more than a team, we have all bonded over the past few months,” Chidester wrote. “This is one of the finest group of people I have every had the pleasure of working with. Each one of them is smart, dedicated, and committed to each other. We have not had an opportunity to talk to each other since the story broke, but once we do, we will release a joint statement.”

via Key aide leaves Bachmann for Perry in mass exodus of N.H. campaign staff – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

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