Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Presidential Family Forum as Ben Carson listens, Nov. 20, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP

Carson’s loss is Cruz’s gain

As of last week, Ben Carson’s super PAC had five paid staffers in New Hampshire. As of this week, according to WMUR, the ABC affiliate in Manchester, each of those staffers has quit and, collectively, they’ve switched their allegiance to one of Carson’s rivals.
All five paid New Hampshire staffers at the pro-Ben Carson 2016 Committee super PAC quit their posts on Sunday to become volunteers for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, WMUR.com has learned.
 
Jerry Sickles of Keene, the spokesman for the staff, said he and the other four staffers recently came to the conclusion that Cruz is the conservative most able to win the GOP presidential nomination and the presidency. He also noted that Carson has spent very little time campaigning in New Hampshire, which became frustrating to him and the other staffers as they tried to build support in the state.
The five apparently still hold Carson “in the highest regard,” but according to Sickles, they also believe “it is important that our party nominate a conservative and get behind a single conservative who can win, and we strongly believe that candidate is Ted Cruz.”
 
For the retired far-right neurosurgeon, it’s the latest evidence of a campaign operation in complete disarray. Remember, it was just two weeks ago that Carson’s campaign manager, communications director, and deputy campaign manager resigned on the same day.
 
But it’s also worth considering whether developments like these will affect the outcome of the primary itself.
 
For weeks now, polls in the Granite State have pointed to a static dynamic: Donald Trump is ahead among New Hampshire Republicans, while Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich battle it out for second place. Most recent surveys show these five within a few points of one another.
 
Carson, who was actually running second in New Hampshire as recently as October, is no longer in contention, but he’s still generating a few percentage points worth of support in the state.
 
If Carson’s backers in New Hampshire continue to move to Cruz, it may only be worth a few points, but that is likely to make the difference between finishing second and finishing fourth (or lower).
 
And if Cruz pushes Christie, Bush, and Rubio out of the way for second, the impact on the broader race for the Republican nomination would be significant.
 
Watch this space.
 
 

Ben Carson, New Hampshire and Ted Cruz

Carson's loss is Cruz's gain