Elections
FILE -- Rep. Phil Gingrey and fellow members arrive for a closed-door meeting of the House Republican caucus during a rare Saturday session at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sept. 28, 2013. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst) FILE -- Rep. Phil Gingrey and fellow members arrive for a closed-door meeting of the House Republican caucus during a rare Saturday session at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sept. 28, 2013. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)  

Top staffers resign from Gingrey Senate campaign

Photo of Alexis Levinson
Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

Four top staffers resigned from Georgia Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey’s Senate campaign on Monday.

Gingrey’s general consultant Chip Lake, campaign manager John Porter, political director David Allen and political adviser Justin Tomczak, left the campaign Monday, a source close to the campaign told The Daily Caller.

Allen, reached by phone Monday evening, confirmed that he and the other staffers had left.

“We just had a difference of opinions,” he said, saying that the disagreement was something “we couldn’t overcome.”

Allen said that while he could not speak for the other three staffers who resigned Monday, it was his opinion that they had all left the campaign for the same reason.

Lake, reached by phone Tuesday morning,* said his departure was prompted by a “fundamental disagreement on the vision on what the campaign needed to do to succeed.” He clarified that that meant a “vision of how the campaign needs to run, vision on how the campaign needs to execute, resource allocation discussions.”

“We hit a crossroads in the campaign, and I just made a decision that it was best for both parties if we went in different directions,” Lake said. “And I wish him nothing but the best moving forward, but you know, there was a fundamental disagreement on how to execute the campaign, and those differences over time just became too big of an obstacle for both parties, and at the end of the day I don’t know that he was very comfortable, and I don’t know that we were comfortable, and so we just thought it was best to move in different directions.”

He said the disagreement that had been “building over time,” and that he, too, felt that all four staffers had left for the same reason, saying that they regularly had meetings as a team, and that there was a meeting on Monday that precipitated the decision.

In a statement to The Daily Caller, Gingrey thanked the staffers who had left for their work on his campaign.

“I’m deeply grateful and appreciative of their efforts on behalf of my campaign, without which we could not have gotten this far,” Gingrey said. “They helped us get up and running and saw us through its first phase, up to my ‘Repeal or Go Home’ pledge. And now as my campaign enters its next phase, I remain committed to my pledge to repeal Obamacare or return home and am energized by the support and encouragement I continue to receive.”

Gingrey is one of several Republicans in a crowded primary field for the open Georgia Senate seat. The seat is currently held by Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who will retire at the end of his term.

The Georgia congressman has a history of making unfiltered comments that have left some Republicans uncomfortable. He drew fire for comments made in a closed door meeting last month, first reported by National Review, lamenting that he was “stuck here making $172,000 a year.”

Gingrey, a former OBGYN, also defended the “legitimate rape” comment with which former Rep. Todd Akin torpedoed his Senate campaign last year, saying Akin was “partly right” that women’s bodies could shut down to prevent pregnancy in the case of rape. He also seemingly defended similar comments made by Republican Richard Mourdock, who lost his Senate bid in Indiana. Gingrey later said his words had been “misconstrued,” saying: “I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin and Mr. Mourdock.”

*This post has been updated.

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