Bush fundraisers exit campaign amid sagging poll numbers, Miami says move voluntary

Three of Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s fundraising consultants have left the campaign, Fox News confirmed Saturday.

The consultants are Kris Money, Trey McCarley and Debbie Alexander, and they voluntarily left the campaign Friday, according to multiple sources.

Politico first reported the departures and suggested they were the result of personality conflicts and concerns about the strength of the campaign.

However, a Bush campaign source attempted Saturday to minimize the impact of the departures by saying the consultants remain involved in multiple projects outside of the campaign.

In addition, Bush spokesman Tim Miller told Fox News: "Governor Bush has the widest and deepest fundraising operation of any candidate in the field.”

He also said Ann Herberger, a longtime aide with more than two decades of experience in state and national politics, will continue to lead fundraising operations at campaign headquarters in Miami.

Bush, a former Florida governor, was the 2016 GOP presumptive frontrunner. And he had a superior fundraising advantage over essentially all of the other candidates in the party’s huge primary field, in large part because of his family name and connections with Washington Republicans.

Bush and the super-PAC Right to Rise raised a combined $114 million in the first quarter of this year, according to federal records, meeting often-talked-about expectations that the operation could indeed raise that much money.

However, Bush’s poll number have steadily declined since billionaire businessman and first-time candidate Donald Trump entered the race in mid-June.

"This is the time of year that campaigns make staffing changes before settling a final team going forward," Joe Desilets, a Republican strategist and managing partner at the Washington firm 21st & Main, said Saturday. "Jeb is far and away the fundraising leader in the race and has announced other major fundraisers joining his team. ... If Jeb starts dropping in fundraising, it may prove to be a bigger deal, but ... I don't see this as a major problem going forward."

Bush led the GOP field in mid-July with 17.8 percent of the vote, but is now at 9.8 percent, behind Trump at 23.5 percent and retired Dr. Ben Carson at 10.3 percent.

Trump has aggressively and consistently attacked Bush as the frontrunner, criticizing several of his positions including those on immigration and federal spending on women’s health.

Trump’s attacks have also been more personal, saying Bush is “low energy.”

Meanwhile, Bush appears to be taking a non-confrontational approach by largely not responding to the attacks and referring to himself as a “joyful tortoise."

Money, McCarley and Alexander will continue to work for Right to Rise, sources also told Fox News.

Fox News’ Serafin Gomez and Kathleen Reuschle contributed to this story.