OAKLAND — Amid increasing scrutiny over his treatment of women and calls for his withdrawal from the race, California Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder is shaking up his campaign team and hired a new campaign manager, POLITICO has learned.
Campaign manager Louis Barnett, whose appointment was announced when Elder entered the gubernatorial race in July, confirmed Sunday he no longer holds that position.
In his place, Elder has hired Jeffrey Corless, a GOP consultant who once served as political director to U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina. Corless confirmed to POLITICO he had taken on the role as of Friday.
“I can confirm Mr. Elder has asked me to take over a key role in the management of his campaign,’’ he said in a text message. He said he his “focused on advising Mr. Elder on the management of his campaign as we look to bring this effort home to victory,’’ and referred all other statements to Ying Ma, the campaign spokesperson. Ma did not return requests for comment.
The shakeup appears to be an effort by the candidate, who was recently leading the GOP field in polls, to not only retain his standing but to remain in the race after the revelations last week.
Barnett said Sunday that he will now be working on a ballot committee to boost Elder’s bid and recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. Corless, he said, brings “a phenomenal operation” to Elder’s bid. He added, “there are a lot of things that are going to be announced in the not-too-distant future.”
Elder made the move to change campaign managers the same week his campaign was battered by new revelations, including a POLITICO report that his ex-fiancee alleges that in the course of an abusive relationship, he pulled a loaded gun on her during an argument. Elder has denied those accusations.
CNN last week reported Elder’s history of crude remarks on women, and The San Francisco Chronicle reported Elder once said it was “smart” for women to tolerate sexism and offensive workplace behavior. The stories have prompted former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, both gubernatorial candidates, to call for his withdrawal from the race.
GOP candidates will meet for a fourth debate this week, but Elder and Jenner have both refused to take part in any of the candidate forums.
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