- The Washington Times - Monday, November 10, 2003

Sen. John Kerry dumped his campaign manager yesterday, hoping that a new manager, a veteran of Northeastern liberal politics, will revive his slumping presidential campaign.

“I have decided to make a change at the top of my campaign leadership,” Mr. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, said in a prepared statement.

“Mary Beth Cahill, an accomplished leader for Democrats and progressive causes, including President Clinton, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Rep. Barney Frank, and Emily’s List, will be my new campaign manager,” the senator said.

In addition to Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Frank, other Massachusetts politicians for whom Ms. Cahill has worked include former Gov. Michael S. Dukakis — under whom Mr. Kerry served as lieutenant governor — and former Rep. Robert Drinan, a Catholic priest who now teaches at Georgetown University Law Center.

Former campaign manager Jim Jordan, who has worked for Mr. Kerry for years, was asked to stay on as senior strategist, but it was not clear whether he would remain with the campaign. Mr. Jordan could not be reached for comment.

“He’s really going to get a couple of bad days about this,” Dante Scala, a professor of politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., said about Mr. Kerry’s flagging campaign. “It starts to smack of desperation.”

At the start of the year, Mr. Kerry was favored heavily in the neighboring state of New Hampshire, home of the nation’s second Democratic nomination contest. Polls showed Mr. Kerry’s support as high as 36 percent among Democratic voters — more than twice that of his nearest rival in a crowded field.

That was before the stunning rise of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who was once not considered even a distant threat. A poll conducted last week by American Research Group showed Mr. Dean with 38 percent of the Democratic vote in New Hampshire and Mr. Kerry trailing with 24 percent, even after running television ads statewide this fall.

“I would say his campaign is stalled,” said Mr. Scala.

“His support among liberals has evaporated,” he said. “Now, it’s moderate and conservative Democrats who support him, which is surprising considering his record.”

Mr. Jordan’s departure follows months of dissension among different camps within the Kerry campaign.

Ms. Cahill joins several other liberal Northeastern strategists on the campaign with ties to Mr. Kennedy.

“Mary Beth will do an outstanding job for John Kerry,” Mr. Kennedy said in a statement. “She combines the best of day-to-day political tactics and strategy with a strong dedication to the highest ideals of our country and the powerful progressive causes that John and I both share. It’s John’s best possible ticket to the White House.”

Mr. Jordan has run Mr. Kerry’s campaign since before the senator announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in September. When Mr. Kerry was chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2002 elections, he tapped Mr. Jordan to run the daily operations.

“From the bottom of my heart, I thank Jim Jordan for his leadership, extremely hard work, unsurpassed loyalty and devotion to me, to this campaign, and to the people who have worked with him,” Mr. Kerry said. “I’ve asked Jim to continue in his role as senior strategist as we enter this critical phase of the campaign.”


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