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September 10, 2008

Himes replaces campaign manager

Greenwich Democratic party chairman Jim Himes, the well-funded challenger to Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), replaced his longtime campaign manager with less than two months until the election.

From the Connecticut Post:

Dana Houle, 43, a former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., and manager of his 2006 re-election campaign, took charge of the operation last week, a spokesman for Himes said Tuesday.

Maura Keaney, 37, who had been working with Himes since he announced his candidacy last year, is out as campaign manager but is staying on the team as a senior adviser.

"This was a way to take us to the next level where we need to be for the next two months," said Michael Sachse of the Himes campaign.

The move, Sachse said, was not intended to be an indictment of Keaney's work as campaign manager.

Both campaign managers, past and present, have deep connections to the liberal netroots. Houle is a contributing editor for the Daily Kos, while Keaney played a major role on Ned Lamont’s insurgent campaign against Sen. Joe Lieberman, working as his field director.

While the district is among the most affluent in the country, a Connecticut-based Democratic operative speculated the staff shakeup occurred because the Himes’ campaign hasn’t been connecting enough with lower-income voters.  The operative said that enthusiasm for Himes is lagging in Bridgeport, a reliably Democratic industrial town where the campaign needs high turnout to defeat Shays.

But, if that's the case, replacing one netroots denizen with another wouldn't necessarily be the solution.