Edwards's Loss, Shaheen's Gain
The head of former Sen. John Edwards' (N.C.) Nevada caucus campaign is leaving his post to head up former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen's Senate race, according to sources in Washington.
Bill Hyers had been serving as Edwards' lead strategist in the state since the spring. In Edwards' previous presidential bid, Hyers had served as the central Iowa field director. Between the two races, he managed Rep. Kirstin Gillibrand's (D) successful challenge to then Rep. John Sweeney (R) in New York's 20th district. Shaheen's challenge to Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) is one of the most high-profile races in the country, and currently holds the #2 ranking on the Fix Senate Line.
The Edwards campaign moved quickly to fill the vacuum, annnouncing that Oliver Gottfried who had been serving as Edwards' western regional political director would take over for Hyers. Chris Chafe, an adviser to the campaign on labor issues, is moving into a senior adviser role in Nevada; assistant political director Bryan Jung will serve as deputy political director of Nevada.
For Edwards, Hyers' departure coupled with the additiions of Gottfried, Chafe and Jung are simply the latest developments in an up and down effort in Nevada. Once viewed as a strong spot for Edwards due to his vigorous support from the Service Employees International Union, Edwards' inability to keep financial pace with Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) was forced to pull much of his staff from the state in August. He also lost his Nevada field director -- Preston Elliott -- later that month. (Elliott left to become deputy political director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.)
Edwards campaign manager David Bonior cast the moves as an attempt to strengthen the campaign in the state as the Jan. 19 caucus nears. "We are bringing in experienced senior staff who are familiar with key issues in Nevada and the West," said Bonior. "Our strategy remains focused on the four early states: Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina."
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