Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio is having a tough July in his primary race for the Senate against Gov. Charlie Crist (R-Fla.). He was badly outraised by Crist, trails in polls, and has received overtures to leave the Senate race from party leaders.
Now he’s losing two of his key staffers: Campaign manager Brian Seitchik and his fundraising consultant, Ann Herberger, are stepping down from the campaign. Both are experienced GOP political operatives – Herberger is one of the state’s best-connected Republicans, with close ties to former Gov. Jeb Bush.
And Seitchik is a campaign veteran, and previously served as the political director to state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner’s Senate campaign.
In their place, he’s bringing on former Dick Armey adviser Pat Shortridge as a senior adviser to the campaign.
Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said Rubio made the changes because he wanted to run an unconventional campaign, given that he’s the major underdog in the race.
"Up until now, we have been guilty of trying to run certain elements of the campaign in a traditional fashion when, in reality, this is a hungry start-up that must start small and steadily grow even in the face of a skeptical pundit class," Burgos said.
"Ultimately, our path to victory requires us to tap into grassroots discontent with the current leadership in Washington and the governor’s office, and then convert it into a movement for the idea-driven alternative Marco Rubio offers."
But without money or experienced staff, accomplishing even grassroots goals will be quite difficult — and even moreso against a well-regarded governor with establishment support and millions of dollars to spend.