August Wolf, the only announced Republican candidate for the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Connecticut, named his new leadership team Thursday, an effort to stabilize a campaign rocked by turnover, unusually public dissension and fundraising challenges.
The campaign also filed its long overdue, end-of-year campaign finance report, showing it ended 2015 with $144,330 cash on hand. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the first-term Democrat, ended the year with $3.9 million, a 27-1 advantage.
“I’m thrilled to be entering this next phase,” Wolf said in a statement. “I’m grateful to those who helped build this campaign from the ground up. We couldn’t have gotten this far without the support of the generous people of Connecticut. We’re ready to take this race to the next level.”
The new campaign manager is Baylor Myers, a former employee of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group founded by the billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch. He is the campaign’s fifth person to have the title of manager or co-manager.
The new press secretary is Greg Manz, a Connecticut native who was the deputy director of Ben Carson’s presidential campaign in Iowa. Karaina Callahan, the new director of operations and digital outreach, also is from the Carson campaign.
Some Republicans have been seeking an alternative to Wolf. Dan Carter, a state representative from Bethel, is weighing a run, as is Jack Orchulli, the GOP nominee in 2004. Joe Visconti, a former West Hartford councilman, has an exploratory committee.
The party’s nominating convention is in May.
Wolf reported raising $179,843 in the last quarter of 2015, bringing total fundraising to $523,948. A candidate since May, Wolf reported raising $260,801 in his July filing, then dropped off to $83,928 in the October report.
His campaign received $21,283 from a fundraiser hosted by David Koch for four GOP candidates for U.S. Senate. The Ayotte Blunt Moran Wolf Victory Fund, the committee formed for the joint fundraiser, reported giving Wolf $12,114 and $3,759 on December 10 and $5,410 on Dec. 29.
The Wolf campaign did not report contributions from the victory fund. Myers said the money was listed in the names of the individual donors on Wolf’s end-of-year report.
KochPAC also gave $1,000 to Wolf.
Myers said the Koch brothers played no role in encouraging him to join the Wolf campaign, despite his previous employment by Americans for Prosperity. “They don’t play that active a role in AFP,” he said.
Blumenthal averaged slightly more than $1 million in each of his four quarterly reports for 2015.
The Federal Election Commission threatened the Wolf campaign with sanctions after it missed a reporting deadline in January. Wolf said he delayed filing until the completion of an audit he commissioned after losing his campaign manager and treasurer.