In the middle of HurriKing James hitting the nation last night, the Fisher campaign decided it was a good time to announce their fundraising figures.

According to yesterday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, Fisher will report to the FEC raising more than $1 million since the post-primary FEC filing and has about $1 million on hand.  As Mark Naymik noted, that puts Fisher’s fundraising on par with his best campaign fundraising periods in the primary (although, I would assume that this was a shorter period than a full quarter, so actually it may be his best yet.)

However, former Bush trade czar raised around $2.5 million and has nearly $9 million on hand despite a recent television ad buy.

But beyond those numbers, I’ve been told by reliable sources who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity that Fisher’s campaign office has seen significant staff turmoil this week.  I was told that the campaign’s Research Director has resigned, unexpectedly, and that other campaign staffers, including those in the campaign’s communication office, have resigned or are threatening to resign.  I’m not going to share the alleged stated reason why these folks resigned as I have not been contacted by any of these staffers, so it would be unreliable hearsay.

Earlier today, I sent this e-mail to the Fisher campaign spokesman John Collins:

John, this isn’t an easy e-mail to write, but I felt I need to let you know about the chatter I’m getting and give you  an opportunity to respond.

I’m hearing from multiple people . . . that the Fisher campaign has had some additional people resign or threaten to resign this week.  I was told, specifically, that the campaign’s research director has already resigned and that other folks in the communication team has already resigned or announced plans to.  John, they all say you are not one of those people (obviously.)

Can you confirm or deny that there have been any staffing changes that have occurred or been internally announced this week to occur later?  Are we talking about termination or resignations?  Any comment or insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated.   I am asking that it be given either on the record or on background with the understanding that it may be published.

This is the full response I received back:

John Collins said, “Ohioans don’t care about campaign jobs. They care about keeping their own job and the fact that Congressman Portman has spent 20 years in Washington supporting trade policies that shipped Ohio jobs overseas.”

And Mr. Collins is right.  Rob Portman’s job-killing trade deals are far more important than inside baseball of the inner workings of a statewide political campaign in a nationally watched race for the United States Senate.  However, that doesn’t not mean, therefore, that the inner workings of the Fisher campaign is not important news at all.  Mr. Collins’ statement is an implicit confirmation that there have been further staff departures from a campaign that is on its third campaign manager.  This is not good news.

There will be plenty of people who doubt the sincerity of this statement, but I struggled with writing this post because I know exactly what it might do to the campaign.  In the end, though, we have an obligation to call them as we see them, even when it’s bad news for our Party that could threaten the other Statewide races.

I realize that every conservative blogger we know will pass this story around gleefully, and that the end result is that may make the Fisher campaign’s ability to close the fundraising gap even harder.  But we have an obligation to level with you:

Lee Fisher’s campaign needs to get re-tooled immediately and resolve whatever staff turmoil is going on.  This is not reassuring news from a campaign on its third campaign manager with only four months out until the election.

And we all need to decide if we’re really going to let Rob Portman buy his way into the United States Senate with a bunch of misleading ads that run from his very own proposals and record, or are we going to start work hard to help the Fisher campaign win in November?  Because despite the fundraising disadvantage and the intra-office drama, the Fisher campaign is still polling tied or slightly ahead of Rob Portman.

If we don’t start helping Lee’s campaign, it could go from running competitively to becoming a drag on the rest of the statewide ticket.  What’s it going to be?

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