Elder shakes up recall campaign team

In this July 13, 2021 photo, Larry Elder speaks to supporters during a campaign stop in Norwalk, California. | Marcio Jose Sanchez, File / AP Photo

OAKLAND – Amid increasing control over his treatment of women and calls for his retirement, California Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder is shaking up his campaign team and hiring a new campaign manager, POLITICO has learned.

Campaign manager Louis Barnett, whose appointment was announced when Elder entered the gubernatorial race in July, confirmed on Sunday that he will no longer hold the position.

In his place, Elder has hired Jeffrey Corless, a GOP adviser who once served as political director for US Senate candidate Carly Fiorina. Corless confirmed to POLITICO that it had taken over the role on Friday.

“I can confirm that Mr. Elder asked me to play a key role in leading his campaign,” he said in a text message. He said he was “focused on advising Mr. Elder in managing his campaign as we seek to lead those efforts to victory,” and referred all other statements to Ying Ma, the campaign spokeswoman. Ma did not respond to requests for comment.

The shake up appears to be an effort by the candidate, who recently topped the GOP field in polls, not only to keep his spot, but to stay in the race after last week’s revelations.

Barnett said Sunday that he will now serve on an electoral committee to increase Elder’s bid and remove Governor Gavin Newsom. Corless, he said, is bringing “a phenomenal operation” to Elder’s offer. He added, “There are many things that will be announced in the not too distant future.”

Elder changed campaign manager the same week that his campaign was hit by new revelations, including a POLITICO report alleging that his ex-fiancée pulled a loaded gun at her during an abusive relationship during an argument. Elder denied these allegations.

CNN reported last week Elder’s story of gross remarks about women and The San Francisco Chronicle reports Elder once said it was “wise” for women to tolerate sexism and abusive behavior in the workplace. The stories have led former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, both gubernatorial candidates, to call for his retirement from the race.

GOP candidates will meet for a fourth debate this week, but Elder and Jenner have both refused to attend any of the candidate forums.

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