Rick Perry's presidential campaign lost its second co-chair in Iowa on Monday
The pro-Perry super PAC, Opportunity and Freedom, will attempt to pick up the slack in Iowa by launching its own field operation, expected to be operational on Tuesday
Rick Perry’s presidential campaign lost its second co-chair in Iowa on Monday as it continues to hemorrhage staff because of deep financial problems.
Karen Fesler, an activist who Perry’s campaign once paraded as “one of the most respected Republicans in the state,” said Monday that she had signed with Rick Santorum’s operation. Fesler’s departure, first reported by The Des Moines Register, comes a week after the other Iowa co-chair, Sam Clovis, left in a high-profile jump to Donald Trump’s shop.
Grappling with cash shortages that has forced nearly the entire Perry staff to forgo pay, Perry’s fundraising woes are encouraging some campaign operatives to look elsewhere, such as to the Republican Party of Iowa. Campaign aides have characterized it as a “restructuring.”
Their Iowa campaign has now been reduced to just two people: Robert Haus, who is advising the campaign but is unpaid, and Jamie Johnson, an Iowa GOP hand who originally was focused on all early-state campaigns but is now leading the Iowa operation given the money challenges.
These departures arrive as the September payroll comes into focus. The pro-Perry super PAC, Opportunity and Freedom, will attempt to pick up the slack in Iowa by launching its own field operation, expected to be operational Tuesday. The group announced earlier Monday that it had hired an Iowa state director and deputy director.
The departure of Fesler, who has organized for Santorum in the past, is not entirely unexpected. At the Iowa state fair earlier this month – more than five weeks after she had formally joined the campaign – Fesler was already expressing apprehension about the former Texas governor and whether she supported him unconditionally.
Holding Perry’s arm as the pair walked the grounds for about 20 minutes, Fesler later indicated she was undecided about who she would support when asked by CNN.
“We’ve met each other,” she said then in Des Moines. “It’s a long ways to the caucus.”
CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.