Brewer campaign shaken up by departures

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN, Neb. – Col. Tom Brewer’s congressional campaign has been shaken up by the recent resignations of two top campaign workers.

The campaign manager and spokesman for the Republican challenger in the Third Congressional District resigned from the retired soldier’s campaign last week.

Col. Tom Brewer

Less than one month before the primary, campaign manager Christine Vanderford and communications consultant Dan Parsons left the campaign of the retired soldier challenging incumbent Congressman Adrian Smith in the May 13 primary.

Parsons told Nebraska Watchdog “we resigned due to differences in philosophy and management styles.”

The Leavenworth Street blog reported that the two campaign staffers left the campaign because Brewer brought in his friend, retired Col. Tony Baker of Florida, to run the campaign – even though he had no campaign experience – but Baker told Nebraska Watchdog that’s not true. He said he’s been working on the campaign virtually (as in, by email and phone) since January and took a two-month leave from his job as a defense contractor to join the campaign in Nebraska for the final 60 days.

“They wanted to go in a different direction,” Baker said of the departed duo.

He confirmed that Parsons and Vanderford left the campaign on their own volition.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without their help and support,” Baker said. “There was just a difference of views.”

He said he’s working as the field director, and the job of campaign manager is now being handled by a team including him, Brewer and Brewer’s wife. The new public relations consultant is Julie Katz of Fairbury.

Asked whether it will be difficult to regroup in the final month of the campaign, he said no, citing the strength of his candidate and a grassroots organization of 500 people and growing.

“The campaign has gained so much momentum since then, it seems like a year ago,” he said. “We’ve moved on and we’re doing events all over the state.”

Even though the campaign no longer has an experienced campaign manager or spokesman, he said Brewer gets plenty of seasoned political advice from supporters.

Baker said he grew up in Beatrice and met Brewer in the Army National Guard of Nebraska, after which they both went on active duty in the Army.

“I’ve been around the world with Tom,” he said. “He’s my best buddy and he’d do this for me.”

The “differences” Parsons and Vanderford had with others working on the campaign revolved around an inability to work with military people who don’t understand politics or respect civilians in authority over them, according to a source whom did not want to be named.

Baker said, “from my experience, that’s not true.”

Contact Deena Winter at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org. Follow Deena on Twitter at @DeenaNEWatchdog

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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