Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is replacing her well-known campaign manager, Karin Johanson, with Texas state Rep. Chris Turner.
“After building one of the most competitive campaign organizations Texas has seen in decades, Karin Johanson has let me know that she believes it’s time to hand off the reins of the campaign management for our final push toward Election Day,” Davis said in a statement Wednesday.
Johanson, who managed Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s 2012 campaign in Wisconsin, joined the Davis campaign in October and was heralded as a star Democratic operative who could help boost Davis’ operation. Johanson formerly served as the executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and worked as a political strategist for EMILY’s List.
Her replacement, Turner, is relatively unknown outside Texas circles. He’s served in the Texas legislature since 2008 and previously ran successful campaigns for Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas.
The campaign shakeup comes as Davis has struggled to rise from her underdog status in her race against Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Davis gained national attention last year when she conducted an 11-hour filibuster against a law that would have created new abortion restrictions in the state of Texas.
In an email to staff Wednesday morning, Johanson said she suggested to Davis that she hire Turner to replace her a few weeks ago. Johanson touted the campaign’s accomplishments during her time as campaign manager, including fundraising efforts and grassroots recruiting.
“I’m not sure Texas Republicans knew what to expect when Wendy Davis announced for governor last October. They know now. They’ve got a real race on their hands,” Johanson wrote. “If you are a betting person, put your money on Wendy.”
“Even from the sidelines I will still #StandWithWendy,” she wrote.
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