Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley greets Iowans during the Central Iowa Democrats fall barbecue Nov. 15, 2015 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
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O’Malley campaign reduces HQ staff, shifts emphasis to Iowa


Martin O’Malley’s financially strapped presidential campaign is reallocating resources to reduce the size of its headquarters staff and focus on the early presidential nominating states, especially Iowa, according to sources.

The former Maryland governor has been mired in the low single-digits in polls and struggled to raise the money necessary to support his relatively large operation. After Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Iowa, O’Malley’s staff was alerted there would be a shift away from the campaign’s Baltimore headquarters to its field operations in the early states.

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All staffers will be given the option to transition, but overall headcount could fall depending on how many chose to ship out. “We’re pushing all resources and HQ staff to early states. Everyone from HQ who goes to an early state will be on payroll,” said a campaign official. 

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Spokesperson Haley Morris confirmed the shift in emphasis, but did not specify overall headcount numbers. “We’re shifting more resources and staff to Iowa and the other early states,” she said. “We have always run a lean campaign and will continue to do so. We are pursuing matching funds and will have enough money to compete vigorously for the nomination.”

Colm O’Comartun, a longtime O’Malley aide who served as executive director of the Democratic Governors Association while O’Malley chaired it, said the reallocation makes “perfect sense.”

“It’s no secret that they’ve been on a tight budget over there,” said O’Comartun, who is not formally involved in the campaign. “At this point, a lot of the folks that have been necessary to kind of build infrastructure for communications and policy and all of that, a lot of that work has been done. And a lot of those folks are now ready to go out to Iowa where the push is being done.”

The campaign’s policy director left about two moths ago and was replaced by her deputy.

“Headcounts on campaigns are always fluid. People are coming and going and moving around,” O’Comartun added.

O’Malley denied layoffs when asked about staff reductions Sunday on the sidelines of a Democratic Party event in Ames, Iowa, but hinted at the shift. “No, there will be - Hopefully everybody will start moving out to Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina or Nevada. I mean that’s what happens in a national campaign,” he said. He did not respond to a question about whether his campaign was taking on debt.

“I am way ahead, in terms of fundraising, of the candidate in fourth place,” he joked of the three-candidate field.

Chuck Todd contributed to this report.

Iowa and Martin O'Malley

O'Malley campaign reduces HQ staff, shifts emphasis to Iowa