In a bit of ominous news for Governor Kim Reynold’s election hopes this year, her campaign manager has left the campaign. The Associated Press reported this morning that Phil Valenziano had stepped down from his role of running Reynolds’ campaign and that they would announce a new manager in a few weeks. Valenziano caused the campaign some embarrassment when he was arrested for public intoxication just as Reynolds announced her election effort last year, but concern over that seemed to mostly blow over.
It’s a rather early shake-up for the incumbent Republican governor’s campaign, which may not inspire a lot of confidence in major donors. It’s also a bit of a surprising one. Recent polling for Reynolds has been relatively mixed. She’s ahead of two of her potential Democratic opponents by just a few points and she doesn’t break 50% in any matchup. But she also maintains pretty decent favorability ratings, and once Reynolds starts blanketing the TV airways thanks to her massive war chest of money, those head-to-head numbers could quickly improve.
It also is not like Reynolds faces too serious of a threat from primary challenger Ron Corbett. Nor had they been doing all that much to engage with his candidacy.
Actually, it may be the overall lack of public activity from Reynolds’ operation that was the most concerning. They’ve done little to attempt to define their eventual Democratic opponents. While they don’t know which one will prevail, you can probably narrow it down to a small few that are the most likely victors and start hammering them. The few attempts to denigrate the Democratic field through a couple press releases have been lackluster at best.
There’s been plenty of activity behind the scenes, from locking up every major Republican activist and local leader to support the governor in the primary. And they’ve raised a good deal of money.
But publicly, there really hasn’t been a lot. Most of Reynolds’ campaign travel throughout the state has been on the taxpayer dime as she’s done messaging tours through her office.
Perhaps a new campaign manager for Reynolds will bring a more active, high-energy operation.
by Pat Rynard