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Seth Moulton disputes report that he's laying off half of campaign staff

EMILY's List eyeing McConnell's seat

Brentwood, New Hampshire -- Rep. Seth Moulton is disputing a report that his 2020 presidential campaign is shedding staff. "It's absolutely not true," the Massachusetts Democrat told CBS News in an interview. 

The long-shot candidate added, "That's about as accurate as a Donald Trump press conference."

The Washington Post reported Wednesday morning that Moulton recently informed his campaign team that he planned to lay off at least half of them. 

"It's just patently false that we're planning to fire half of our staff," Moulton said at his campaign headquarters here in Brentwood. "So it's just wrong." 

But the former Marine Corps captain conceded that the campaign underwent a "transition" in recent weeks. 

"We did do some restructuring over a month ago. And we transitioned some people, including hiring some new people," Moulton said. "So maybe that's what the report is referring to. But it's just patently false that we're planning to fire half of our staff."

Moulton has amassed approximately 13,000 small-dollar donors, according to the Washington Post, a far cry from the 130,000 individual contributions required to make September's Democratic debate stage.

"I'm not someone who quits easily," Moulton told CBS News when pressed about his presidential prospects. The 40-year-old Harvard graduate referenced his 2014 congressional campaign, when he defeated nine-term incumbent John Tierney for the Democratic Party nomination in Massachusetts' 6th congressional district. 

"A lot of people told me to quit for a long time, and I ended up winning that primary by 11 points. So we're going to see as we go along, but the response continues to be really strong in the ground. And ultimately, those are the voters who are going to decide this election."

The lawmaker has been an outspoken critic of Democratic National Committee's debate qualifications. To make the Houston stage in the third round of debates, candidates will also need to both reach 2% in four polls, in addition to racking up donations from 130,000 unique donors by August 28. For the first two rounds, candidates only needed to meet a 1% polling threshold and collect 65,000 donors.

"The criteria that the DNC have set up, I don't think are the best criteria to pick the top nominee to take on Donald Trump," Moulton said. "I'm in this in this race, because I believe I'm the best person to go against him on the debate stage. I don't think there's a better foil for Donald Trump than a young combat veteran. And while we're in the longest war in American history, I think being the only actual combat veteran in this race is something valuable."

Asked what might be the determining factor for dropping out, Moulton shook his head. "How can I possibly predict that?" the congressman exclaimed. "We're gonna see how things go."

Moulton registered at 2% in a CBS News Battleground Tracker Poll released last month, surveying likely Democratic voters in registered voters in 18 states expected to hold early primaries and caucuses. He did not register at all in a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll released Tuesday, which surveyed 500 likely Democratic New Hampshire voters.

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