In a sign of turmoil in Marco Rubio's underdog campaign for U.S. Senate, two of his top campaign staffers are dropping off the campaign.
Campaign manager Brian Seitchik will fall off the payroll in a week, while fundraising consultant Ann Herberger will no longer be his chief money raiser.
"Due to budgetary and monetary constraints, I am becoming a volunteer consultant,'' Herberger said. "I will be available to Marco to provide guidance and advice on all matters of finance should he need, and I'm still 100 percent behind Marco Rubio and his candidacy."
With Republican frontrunner Gov. Charlie Crist trouncing Rubio in fundraising and Rubio trying to bat down rumors that he'll drop out to run for attorney general, the staff shakeup is likely to fuel new questions about Rubio's long-term viability.
The Miami Republican downplayed the staff changes, saying it merely reflected the campaign's need to run an unconventional, grass roots campaign against Crist.
"This is not a purge or anything, quite the contrary,'' Rubio said, while campaigning Thursday night in Pasco County.
For now at least, Rubio is running a campaign without a day-to-day campaign manager or professional fundraiser. He said his scheduler will also serve as finance director.
Herberger helped the Bush family raise tens of millions of dollars for assorted campaigns, but Rubio is off to a slow start. In the three months ending June 30, he raised $340,000 compared to $4.3 million for Crist.
Seitchik, who moved from California in May to work for Rubio, said he'll continue to help out on an volunteer basis.
Adam C. Smith can be reached at email@example.com.