Bachmann’s New Hampshire Staff Quits, Latest in String of Campaign Departures

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s entire New Hampshire staff has quit her campaign, another dark omen for the GOP candidate who has lost several senior officials in recent weeks.

Five staffers, including Jeff Chidester, a longtime friend and conservative talk-radio host, have left the Minnesota congresswoman’s  campaign.

The departing staff members also included Nicole Yurek, Tom Lukacz, director of operations Matt LeDuc and Southern New Hampshire Field Director Caroline Gigler, as first reported by ABC affiliate WMUR.

Gigler has already found a new job with Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign, according to a report in the National Journal.

The staffers said they quit the campaign because Bachmann had not paid sufficient attention to New Hampshire.

Bachmann visited New Hampshire last week for the GOP debate sponsored by Bloomberg News. It was her first visit to the Granite State since June.

Bachmann has seen a steady decline in her poll numbers since winning the Iowa Straw Poll in August. Many of Bachmann’s top aides have left her campaign in the weeks since the poll.

Among those to leave were campaign manager Ed Rollins, deputy manager David Polyansky and pollster Ed Goeas. Soon after, longtime adviser Andy Parish left the campaign to return to work in Bachmann’s Washington congressional office and spokesman Doug Sachtleben quit.

When Rollins was still on board, much of the tension inside the camp concerned whether Bachmann should make a push only in Iowa, as former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee did in 2008, or make a play for other early primary states such as New Hampshire.

Bachmann, in an interview with the New York Times, said last week she would focus her efforts on Iowa.

Bachmann has visited New Hampshire four times in 2011. She has been to Iowa nearly 20 times this year.