After weeks of falling poll numbers, Ben Carson is shaking up his campaign. During an interview with the Associated Press, which was conducted without the knowledge of his campaign manager, Carson stated that "personnel changes" could be coming and that "everything is on the table." Yet just a few hours later, his campaign manager contradicted the statements in a text saying "no staff shake-up."
Just a few weeks ago, Ben Carson's campaign was soaring — he briefly overtook Trump in national polls and was pulling ahead with strong margins in several states. But a series of unflattering news stories, including lying about a scholarship to West Point and his odd belief that Joseph built the Giza pyramids to store grain, his numbers nosedived 14 points below Cruz and Rubio. Things already looked pretty bad, but now the intentional lack of communication between his senior staff is spelling out deep trouble for the campaign.
Carson blamed advisers and an uncontrolled budget for the severe drop in polling numbers. His campaign had initially raised over $31 million by September, but high spending saw the coffers empty out quicker than his competitors. “I want to see more efficiency in terms of the way money is utilized,” Carson said in an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday. That means potential salary cuts for staffers, which isn't likely to inspire any renewed loyalty amongst an already struggling campaign team. “It’s one of the things we’re looking at: making sure everyone’s salary is in line with the standard,” said Carson.
Yet Carson still seems hopeful that his campaign is going to pull through the slump. His eye toward the coming year has focused on running a positive campaign and proving himself on foreign policy. However, Republican insiders aren't so sure that's possible. “I suspect Carson probably has topped out," Katon Dawson, the former chairman of the South Carolina GOP, told Politico in an interview in November. Glenn McCall, a Republican national committeeman, also spoke with Politico about Carson's trouble attracting voters. “Folks definitely feel he’s a nice man, smart, but they definitely want someone who’s a little more assertive in addressing [foreign policy]," he said.
Even if Carson is to move forward with a new staff, his campaign trouble might be too pervasive to fix. With Trump and Cruz both polling at an all time high and a clear lack of trust in his advisors, Carson's ship seems to be sinking swiftly, and it will be very difficult to get people back on board.