Two of presidential contender Ben Carson’s top aides quit his campaign Thursday amid reports the former neurosurgeon’s race to the White House has become mired and marked by acrimonious relations with Armstrong Williams, a close confidante of the candidate and columnist for WND.com.
The two who quit: Barry Bennett, campaign manager; and Doug Watts, communications director, NBC News reported.
“Barry Bennett and I have resigned from the Carson campaign effective immediately,” Watts said in a statement reported by the news outlet. “We respect the candidate and we have enjoyed helping him go from far back in the field to top tier status. Having just announced raising $23m [million] for the 4th Q[uarter], more than any other Republican candidate, and passing one million contributions and over 600 [million] unique donors since March, we are proud of our efforts for Dr. Carson and we wish him and his campaign the best of luck.”
Carson has stumbled in recent weeks in the polls, from 29 percent in late October, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, to 11 percent this month. And at least one source told NBC News part of the campaign shift is due to problems some staffers experienced with Williams, one of Carson’s closest advisers.
Specifically, the unnamed source said Williams has been “an ongoing problem since day one,” and recent polls struggles and fundraising challenges can all be considered “self-inflicted wounds created by Armstrong Williams,” NBC News said.
The shakeup isn’t entirely surprising. In addition to the lagging polls, Carson himself hinted at a staff switch in recent interviews, saying he’s been mulling “personnel changes” despite the “100 percent confidence” he still had in his team.