Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson announced a major shakeup in his campaign today.
Johnson said he’s replacing his campaign manager Scot Crockett with David Gaither, the former chief of staff to Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Crockett helped Johnson win the GOP endorsement and Aug. 12 primary election.
Johnson said Crockett is moving back to Virginia “to be with his young family” but will continue to advise the campaign.
“David Gaither’s skills and experience will be invaluable to my campaign as we make the final push to victory in the next six weeks,” Johnson said. “I am grateful to Scot Crockett for his service these past several weeks far from his young family in Virginia, and I am pleased that he will continue to provide advice leading up to November 4.”
It isn’t clear whether Crockett was fired or resigned. Johnson’s campaign spokesman
could not be reached to comment said the statement “speaks for itself.” UPDATE: Johnson campaign spokesman Jeff Bakken says it was “Crockett’s decision to step down.”
Gaither is a former state senator who was Pawlenty’s chief of staff in 2005 and 2006. Gaither tried to win back his senate seat in 2012 but was defeated by Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL- Minnetonka.
Johnson’s campaign said Gaither will take an unpaid leave of absence from his job as executive director of the Minneapolis-based International Education Center.
Johnson has to file his latest fundraising totals early next week. He declined to tell reporters how much he’s raised but said the campaign is meeting its “internal goals.”
Johnson said he expects to start running TV ads by the end of the month.
Gov. Mark Dayton has reserved $1.3 million in ad time on Twin Cities TV stations while Johnson has yet to reserve any time.