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MN-08: Why Did Tarryl Clark’s Campaign Manager Quit?

by keewatinrose on March 17, 2012 · 7 comments

The buzz swirling around northeastern Minnesota over the past two weeks has been that Tarryl Clark’s campaign for 8th district congress is in disarray amid the sudden departure of her campaign manager, Brandon Pinette. Reliable sources state that Pinette has accepted a position with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C.

Sources within the DCCC  would neither confirm nor deny his move and calls to Pinette and the Clark campaign have not been returned.  However, a  highly placed source close to the 8th congressional district campaigns reconfirmed today that Pinette has in fact submitted his resignation and that today is last day with the Clark campaign.

Observers of the race may be surprised at the departure of Pinette so quickly after Clark announced her intentions of bypassing the endorsement and forcing a DFL primary. Pinette is a bought and paid for national consultant who makes his living winning campaigns. So why would he leave a top ten race that could make his career?

According to several current and former professional campaign managers, there are three basic reasons why they would leave a campaign:

1. The campaign can’t afford them
2. The candidate is extremely difficult to work with
3. The campaign isn’t going anywhere

Clark’s campaign in the 8th congressional district has been floundering from the start, seemingly unable to gain any traction.  Clark finished a distant third in every poll conducted in the race thus far, and there is speculation that her abysmal showing at the precinct caucuses is what prompted her to bypass the endorsement in favor of a primary.

The campaign professionals consulted for this story all agreed that if the Tarryl Clark campaign were on track to win a primary and a general election in a top ten national race, it would seem inconceivable for one whose reputation could be enhanced by such a win to leave so quickly after arriving. But as one observed:

“Losing big in a primary when your campaign had lots of money is not a career builder”  

JML March 17, 2012 at 2:51 am

Another reason of course would be if a better job opportunity presented itself. Can’t say if this is the case. (Is he going to the DNC or the DCCC?)

It’s also possible that the campaign manager wasn’t working out (as has been the case before in MN congressional races).

But regardless of the circumstances, it’s not good news for Clark. This may have had some impact in her decision to skip the endorsement; it’s hard to be successful there if there’s confusion and turmoil at the top of the campaign.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. But not much is going right for Team Clark right now, it seems.

Buck Compton March 17, 2012 at 4:01 am

It could be that she is about to pull up stakes herself. Jeff Anderson’s surprise strong showing in the caucuses has Rick Nolan’s campaign running scared that the endorsement he seems to think is his birthright may not be as much of a lock as he once thought. Anderson has all the momentum right now, and the only thing keeping that news off this blog is the Nolan staffer who wrote this piece.  

ericf March 17, 2012 at 4:45 am

Just pointing out there’s a post today about Anderson. It’s a community blog, which means we can all write about what candidates we prefer. Nothing is stopping you from writing an Anderson piece of your own. Just say why he’s your candidate.

outstate March 17, 2012 at 5:33 am

Everyone has an opinion, but does anybody know how the delegate chase is going among these candidates?  

Buck Compton March 17, 2012 at 6:13 am

The delegate race is close enough, a lot of the soft Nolanites are starting to shift to Anderson’s camp as they recognize that he is the most electable and provides the best option both now, and in the long run. Few want to have to re-fight this battle in four years when Rick retires. The race is a toss-up right now due to a large number of Nolan defections.  

outstate March 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

Does anybody have actual numbers of delegates elected this past weekend. At the end of the day, as far as the endorsement is concerned, that’s what matters. Numbers…anybody?

keewatinrose March 17, 2012 at 9:01 am

As soon as I am able to confirm the information I have, I will post. Hopefully I will have an update ready for Monday.
Thank you for asking.

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