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The Daily Fray

Huntsman Shakes Up Finance Team

September 9, 2011

The shakeups in Jon Huntsman’s campaign continue.

Jim McCray, the Republican presidential candidate's national finance consultant, has been sidelined and replaced after a disagreement with senior campaign advisor John Weaver over how much the campaign is spending – a move that has set off a shakeup inside the campaign’s fundraising team, according to a source familiar with the situation.

In a conference call with national donors on Thursday, the campaign announced that Ann Herberger, a former fundraiser for Tim Pawlenty’s now-defunct presidential campaign, had effectively replaced McCray, but said McCray would stay on as a national advisor. Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller emphasized that McCray is still on board, but did not answer questions about the other changes.

 

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"Jim McCray is still part of our campaign," Miller said in a statement to National Journal. "He and John Weaver are friends who have worked several campaigns together."

And in a statement sent to National Journal Friday afternoon, McCray said: “The campaign asked me to go full time, but I am not able to do so because of multiple client obligations in Washington, D.C.  I am helping the campaign transition.  John Weaver and I have known each other and have been friends over many years.  I support Governor Huntsman now and into the future."

McCray isn't the only casualty: A fundraiser in Utah -- Huntsman's home state -- and the Bellwether Consulting Group, a well-known GOP fundraising firm, were either let go or quit on Thursday, the source said.  More fallout is expected in the next several days.

The source said that Weaver and McCray both joined Huntsman's campaign early, and butted heads over the campaign budget. Weaver demanded that the fundraising team raise more money, while McCray called for campaign strategists to set a budget more in line with the campaign's revenues -- hampered by Huntsman's low standing in the polls. The former Utah governor has been stuck in the single digits nationally.

“The big boys, the bundlers of the world are not writing checks for a guy who’s running at 1.5 percent,” said a Huntsman supporter on K Street.

Another campaign supporter said the situation was reminiscent of Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. Weaver also served as a key adviser to the Arizona Republican's White House bid.

“It’s McCain redux,” the supporter said. “All of a sudden they found out that they spent too much money before they had it and had to pare down to bare bones. And they blame all the consultants that they didn’t raise enough money.”

This latest departures from the Huntsman camp come just a week after the campaign replaced its New Hampshire state director and less than two months after at least four people, including campaign manager Susie Wiles, left after clashes with Weaver.

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