The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Another Cain Iowa Staffer Resigns

Posted on | July 5, 2011 | 14 Comments

Shane Vander Hart was first to report this:

Charlie Gruschow, former leader of the Des Moines Tea Party, resigned from the campaign on Sunday “to pursue other interests.”  Gruschow had been an early supporter and activist for Cain having been with him since last year even though he was only on the payroll since May.  This is the third Iowa staffer that Cain has lost over the holiday weekend.

I had a long conversation yesterday with a Republican source in Iowa, and reported at The American Spectator:

Last week, Cain’s Iowa organizational director Tina Goff and Iowa straw poll director Kevin Hall both resigned. The resignations of Goff and Hall were “the best thing that could happen” to Cain, said one Iowa Republican activist, who said the pair were “hated” by many of Cain’s grassroots supporters. While Goff and Hall were running Cain’s Iowa operation, they “basically ignored” Gruschow in recent weeks, the Republican activist told The American Specator, adding that the situation had cost the campaign support of many of its early volunteers from the Tea Party movement.

Goff and Hall had both worked on Fred Thompson’s short-lived GOP presidential campaign in 2008, and for Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad’s 2010 campaign, and their association with Cain had been seen by many Republicans as a signal of his campaign’s seriousness in Iowa. However, my source said that the way Goff and Hall had shoved aside Gurschow — who is much beloved within the Tea Party — had resulted in “devastating” negative word-of-mouth for Cain’s campaign among grassroots volunteers. My source described the recent Iowa resignations as a “bubble that finally burst.”

Cain was interviewed Sunday by WHO-TV in Des Moines and said: “Turn over is a natural thing in any organization you’re trying to put together . . . We’re stable in terms of an organization. In a matter of days we’ll open an office here in Iowa and in New Hampshire. We’ve already replaced those staffers almost immediately; this is not a major hiccup in our campaign.”

On Twitter last night, Prudence Paine asked, “What do you think? falling apart? recoverable?” And my reply was: “Important thing to keep in mind: Still six months before the caucuses.”

This situation is not comparable to Newt Gingrich’s campaign implosion. Practically Newt’s entire staff resigned en masse because of dissatisfaction with the candidate’s own behavior — cruising the Aegean Sea instead of campaigning, etc.

By contrast, Cain has had five resignations and still has a staff of more than 40. And say what you will about Herman Cain: He never endorsed Dede Scozzafava.

UPDATE: I got an angry e-mail from Kevin Hall over my characterization of the situation, and realize now that I probably misunderstood what my source on this story was telling me. Charlie Gruschow returned my phone call today — I’d called him yesterday afternoon, and left a message — and said (a) he and Kevin are friends, (b) Kevin wasn’t the person who was trying to shove Charlie aside, (c) the person who was trying to shove Charlie aside is another ex-staffer not previously named by me in connection with the Iowa organization, and (d) Charlie remains a strong supporter of Herman Cain, despite resigning from his official role with the campaign.

I’ll have much more on this later, but wanted to clarify the misimpression I’d unintentionally created.


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