Top aides leaving Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s Senate campaign

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Campaign manager Brendon DelToro is leaving in a disagreement over the direction of the campaign.

IndyStar.com
By Maureen Groppe, Star Washington Bureau
10/12/15

WASHINGTON — The top aide running Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s Senate campaign is leaving in a disagreement over the direction of the campaign, and two other top aides also are departing.

“It comes down to Marlin and I just had different visions for how the direction of the campaign was going,” said campaign manager Brendon DelToro.

He said it’s not important to get into what the different visions are.

DelToro said he offered his resignation last week and is staying temporarily to help with the transition to a new staff.

Political director Joe Knepper turned in his resignation Monday, and consultant Brooks Kochvar, who handled polling and strategy, left the campaign last week.

Stutzman is one of three major candidates seeking the GOP nomination to replace retiring Sen. Dan Coats.

Stutzman, who represents northeastern Indiana, has more appeal with the tea party wing of the party. Eric Holcomb, former head of the state GOP, is competing with Rep. Todd Young for support from the business community and the GOP establishment.

Stutzman has been endorsed by influential conservative groups, including the Club for Growth, which played a major role in Indiana’s 2012 primary. Stutzman also is backed by the Senate Conservatives Fund, an independent group that spent more than $100,000 in an unsuccessful effort to help Stutzman win the 2010 GOP nomination over Coats.

The candidates have to file by Thursday their fundraising reports for contributions received and money spent through September.

As of their last filings, Young had more than twice as much in the bank at the end of June as Stutzman and many times Holcomb’s reserves.

Young’s notable backers include former state GOP Chairman Al Hubbard and his wife, and Eli Lilly and Co. CEO John Lechleiter and his wife.

Holcomb’s backers include many who worked, as Holcomb did, for then-Gov. Mitch Daniels. They include Daniels’ former chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, spokeswoman, campaign chairman and finance director.

On the Democratic side, former Rep. Baron Hill is seeking the nomination, as is John Dickerson, the longtime executive director of an Indiana advocacy organization for people with intellectual and development disabilities.

Because of Indiana’s political leanings, Republicans are favored to hold onto the seat that Coats has had since 2011. But Democrats hope that a contested GOP primary will give them an opening, the way it did in the 2012 Senate race, in which Democrat Joe Donnelly beat Republican Richard Mourdock.

(Email Maureen Groppe at mgroppe@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mgroppe.)


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