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Shake-up or Not, Deeds Campaign is Changing

Rosalind Helderman

University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato is standing by his story, circulated yesterday, that Deeds Campaign Manager Joe Abbey will retain his formal title but is no longer steering the ship in Deeds Country.

And the Deeds campaign is sticking to their statements from yesterday on this topic, when they said Abbey remains in charge. Monica Dixon, cited by Sabato as the campaign's new real power, said unequivocally that she works for Abbey.

The campaign's response could be all spin to protect Abbey and deflect story lines that suggest they think things are going so badly they need a major overhaul. But this much seems clear:

The Deeds campaign has indeed been making changes in recent weeks. Longtime Deeds ally Kevin Mack has taken on a greater role in leading the day-to-day workings of the effort. Communications Director Mike Gehrke is spending more time talking to reporters. So is Mo Elleithee, brought on as a communications adviser this week. And Dixon is doing more policy work.

Elleithee yesterday called the changes a "beefing up" not a campaign shake-up. But campaigns operating like well-oiled machines don't redefine roles of top staffers three months before the election. The changes are a tacit acknowledgment that the campaign needs to rev up coming out of a slow August. Some Deeds supporters are thinking it's about time.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  August 13, 2009; 3:48 PM ET
Categories:  Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman  
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Dixon-and her husband who is his top consultant- have been their all along. Seriously- is this news? A manager can be the day-to-day manager- making sure bills get paid, bumper stickers are ordered, and signs get put up. OR they can take on more-message, policy, communication, media, etc. Those big ticket items have always been run by consultants and other big names on the campaign, not the manager. And, quite frankly, that's not unusual.

Posted by: ChrisD4 | August 13, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

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