Rick Perry has stopped paying his campaign staff, including in the key early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as his candidacy struggles to generate momentum – and cash.
The campaign’s South Carolina state chairman Katon Dawson said Monday that operatives working for the campaign would no longer be paid, while Republican officials in Iowa and New Hampshire told CNN that campaign workers in both states also were notified they would not be paid. They were encouraged to stay on as volunteers, if they were able, to help Perry get through a lean summer.
The halting of pay to all campaign workers was confirmed by a GOP official.
In his second bid for the presidency, Perry has set his sights on a strong showing in the Iowa caucuses. He has spent considerable time in the state over the last three years and has a network of supporters, but his fundraising challenge underscores the difficult road ahead for a candidate in such a crowded Republican field.
The Super PACs supporting Perry’s bid can foot the bill for advertising and even get-out-the-vote efforts, but are prohibited from coordinating with the campaign. And campaign staffers cannot work for the Super PAC without taking a 120-day cooling off period, under federal election law.
“Everybody that’s working last week is on board this week,” said Dawson, the South Carolina chairman. “The financial questions will be up later. Right now, we’re working in a volunteer capacity, proud to be doing it. Our field staff is working today, I just met with them an hour ago.”
Dawson, who has worked in South Carolina politics for 40 years he says, and two political consultants in the state have been moved to a volunteer basis, which Dawson says they are “happy to do so.”
Perry campaign manager Jeff Miller said only one employee has departed since the campaign announced its financial difficulties.
Their primary goal is to continue covering Perry’s travel expenses across Iowa so he can win over voters through retail politics.
As for the costly ground game, “it’s a ways off for that,” Miller said. The super PAC could decide to pick up the slack and organize on the ground, as well as host events where Perry appears.
Meanwhile, the campaign is still trying to raise money, Miller said, adding, “We raised a good amount of money today.”
Sara Murray contributed to this report.
CNN’s Ashley Killough and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.