Sen. John McCain’s re-election bid lost its campaign manager and another veteran Republican official, part of a shake-up for the Arizona lawmaker locked in a tight primary race with radio host and former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.
The pair of GOP hands – who started before Hayworth entered the race – will instead work on the Republican National Committee’s effort in Arizona. Campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said neither Shiree Verdone nor Mike Hellon, a former Arizona GOP chairman, were fired.
“Senator McCain is very grateful for all that Shiree and Mike have done to launch the re-election campaign and establish it on a firm footing and looks forward to working closely with them for victory in November,” Rogers said in a statement.
McCain, his party’s 2008 presidential nominee, drew a Republican primary challenge that has forced him to the right. The one-time champion of a moderate, bipartisan approach to immigration now is running ads demanding Washington finish “the danged fence” he once mocked.
McCain, who is seeking a fifth term, also has dropped his maverick label.
Hayworth, who hopes to tap anti-incumbent sentiments, has campaigned against McCain as a Washington insider who is weak on illegal immigration. Arizona recently adopted one of the toughest immigration laws in the country that cracks down on illegal immigrants.
Rogers said there was no announcement for a replacement at the top of the campaign and added McCain’s longtime circle of advisers would continue to shape the campaign.