Politics

Jeb Bush Campaign In Reboot Mode As Salaries, Staff Cut

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Gov. Jeb Bush. Photo by REUTERS/Mike Stone

Republican Jeb Bush's struggling presidential campaign is cutting salaries across the board and reducing staff in a money-saving effort intended to concentrate resources on early voting states, an internal memo said on Oct. 23.

The memo, obtained by Reuters, said payroll costs were being slashed by 40 percent and staff at the Miami headquarters drastically cut back, with some workers offered positions at reduced pay in early voting states like New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada.

The move follows a dramatic fall in Republican voters' support for Bush's attempt to secure the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and to become the third member of the famous Bush family to win the White House.

"We are making changes today to ensure Jeb is best positioned to win the nomination and general election," the memo said.

Considered the heavy favorite for the nomination earlier this year, the former Florida governor is running far behind poll leaders Donald Trump and Ben Carson in national polls and in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states on the 2016 election calendar.

Bush's heavy policy focus has shown him to be among the more serious candidates in the Republican field, but he has been drowned out by Trump's bombastic rhetoric and lacked the polished communication skills of rivals such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Bush announced last week that his third-quarter fund-raising was $13.4 million, a competitive sum but not enough to finance the large campaign operation he had built. As of last week, he still had $10 million in cash on hand.

"It's no secret that the contours of this race have changed from what was anticipated at the start," the memo said.

The Bush campaign also sought to reassure donors who have cooled toward the idea that he still has a path to the nomination.

The staff deployments from Miami will have a special focus on increasing the Bush presence in New Hampshire. Bush will make more trips to the early voting states as well.

"We will take every single step necessary to ensure Jeb is the Republican nominee and next president of the United States. We are unapologetic about adjusting our game plan to meet the evolving dynamics of this race to ensure that outcome," the memo said.

The cost-cutting moves were welcome in the Bush donor community, where there have been concerns about his prospects.

"I particularly appreciate that this strategy shift was quick, strategic and bold. As a donor, I am thrilled to see the campaign focus the lion's share of resources on voter contact, and this will redirect energy to early states," said Slater Bayliss, a Florida lobbyist who is bundling donations for Bush.

(By Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Paul Simao)

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