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Perry's Iowa Chairman Leaves Lagging Campaign

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa chairman for Rick Perry's faltering Republican presidential bid said Monday that he is no longer part of the campaign, as Perry seeks to keep his longshot effort alive on limited funds.

Sam Clovis said he had stepped down as state chairman after the former Texas governor stopped paying campaign staffers at his headquarters in Texas and in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — the states that hold the first votes of the 2016 presidential race.

Clovis said he left because the campaign was in transition and because future compensation was uncertain. But he added that it was about more than the money.

"I don't want this to be anything negative at all," Clovis said. "They've got to transition from campaign mode to where the super PAC comes in and picks up some of that slack. The governor is a remarkable man and I've been honored to be part of his campaign."

Clovis said he was not ready to talk about his next move.

Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said in a statement Monday that Perry, who announced his candidacy in early June, remains "committed to competing in Iowa, as well as South Carolina and New Hampshire, and there are many people across the country who continue to work to elect Rick Perry as president." She added that the campaign wished Clovis well.

Perry's senior Iowa strategist, Robert Haus, said the campaign was currently restructuring the Iowa staff, which originally numbered 10 people, including Clovis. Haus declined to say what the Iowa operation would look like until that process concludes at the end of the week.

Haus said he was confident about Perry's chances and pledged to "stay with the campaign in whatever capacity they wish to have me."

Struggling to stay relevant in a crowded Republican field, Perry announced raising about $1 million a month into campaigning — which proved not enough to cover his campaign payroll by early August. But pro-Perry outside groups amassed almost $17 million on his behalf over the same period.

The groups aren't allowed to coordinate directly with Perry's campaign, but have hired their own Iowa staff that can continue to get his message out there and elsewhere.

Despite his financial woes, Perry has continued to campaign heavily in Iowa. He appeared last week at the Iowa State Fair, where he said that fundraising had improved recently and said he could keep going with a "small footprint."

Perry heads to South Carolina, which holds the South's first presidential primary, on Thursday and has three days of events scheduled there. Top members of his South Carolina staff have said they plan to keep working as volunteers despite no longer getting paychecks. Clovis echoed similar sentiment as recently as two weeks ago.

This is Perry's second White House bid. His 2012 presidential campaign started with great fanfare and strong fundraising, but collapsed quickly. He went from being a front-runner to an also-ran because of a series of gaffes and poor debate performances — most notably his "oops" moment, when he could only list two of the three federal agencies he said he would close if elected.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Associated Press writer Will Weissert in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.


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