Two top aides in U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s campaign have resigned, the campaign said on Thursday.
According to Huffington Posts, Communications director Doug Watts announced his and campaign manager Barry Bennett’s resignations effective immediately in a statement, saying they respect the retired neurosurgeon and have enjoyed helping him reach “top tier status” in the crowded Republican field.
“We are proud of our efforts for Dr. Carson and we wish him and his campaign the best of luck,” Watts wrote.
Campaign finance chairman Dean Parker told CNN after the announcement that a new campaign chairman and communications director have been put in place.
Parker told CNN the announcement, which comes one month before the first primary contest in Iowa, is “unfortunate,” saying the two aides had been “a strategic part of our team.”
Carson is one of 12 Republicans vying to represent the party in the November 2016 presidential election.
The two resignations follow reports less than two weeks ago that Carson blamed his advisers for his drop in opinion polls and was planning a shake-up of his campaign staff.
“Everything is on the table, every job is on the table,” he told the Washington Post in a Dec. 23 interview.
But Parker told CNN on Thursday that the candidate had “100 percent confidence in his team.”
Carson, who previously led the crowded Republican field alongside billionaire real-estate tycoon Donald Trump, was tied for third place with Marco Rubio in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll with 12 percent support.