PHOENIX – Howard Dean's (search) presidential campaign, which has severely cut back on spending, has laid off more than a dozen staffers who worked at headquarters and out in the field, aides said Monday night.
Campaign manager Roy Neel (search) said some of those who were let go had worked on projects either at campaign headquarters in Burlington, Vt., or in Iowa and New Hampshire and were no longer needed.
Neel described the layoffs as routine, but word of them came just days after Dean brought the former aide to Al Gore (search) in last week as part of a staff shake-up to watch the budget and help turn around the former Vermont governor's struggling bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. The campaign has pulled its advertising from several states to save money and had asked staffers to defer paychecks. The payroll freeze was lifted Monday.
"Every campaign, once they finish a cycle or run of primaries essentially downsizes related to the staff that is working in those states, and the same thing even working in headquarters," Neel said in an interview Monday night. "None of our layoffs are anything other than work-related or function-related."
About a half dozen staffers in Burlington, Vt., and a dozen or so in the field were let go, Neel said.
Additional layoffs were not ruled out.
"It's a natural down scaling," Neel said. "Then of course you beef up in those states when you're moving into the next round" of primaries. Neel replaced Joe Trippi, who resigned rather take another position with the campaign.
Once the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, Dean said Sunday that he regretted burning through much of the record $41 million he raised for his campaign last year only to lose both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Dean spent all but about $8.5 million of that total.
He finished a distant third in the Jan. 19 Iowa caucuses, then saw his lead in the New Hampshire polls evaporate into a second-place finish on Jan. 27. Dean has said he doesn't expect to win any of the seven states that vote on Tuesday, with the possible exception of New Mexico.
He is not advertising in any of the seven states, and is focusing on contests this coming weekend in Michigan, Washington state and Maine, but is not advertising in those three states either.
Dean's staff had worked without pay since Jan. 28 to shore up campaign coffers after the New Hampshire loss. But the pay freeze was lifted Monday and staff was told they will get the paychecks that were expected last week.
Despite his campaign's fall from the front of the Democratic pack, Dean is still raising $200,000 a day from supporters on the Internet. Aides, however, are reluctant to run up a campaign debt that might become a personal burden to Dean after the race. Dean is well known as someone who hates running into debt.