The loss of Bennett and Watts doesn’t just come at a terrible time for the Carson campaign—the candidate’s numbers are dropping, and the Iowa caucuses are just 32 days away. It also strips Carson of some of the few advisers he has with real, deep political experience. Watts worked on the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1984. Bennett came to Carson from Senator Rob Portman, the moderate Republican senator from Ohio. He was thought to give real oomph to a campaign badly in need of it—with a staff of inexperienced workers, and a candidate who had a compelling biography and an easy connection with many voters, but no experience in politics or policy to draw on.
One thing to watch is whether the two departures clear the way for a return by Terry Giles, an early Carson confidant and backer who was shunted out of the way during the fall.
Even with Watts and Bennett aboard, Carson was running an unorthodox campaign, viewed by many political sages as hopeless. The campaign wasn’t seeking any endorsements, and relies heavily on small-dollar donations. He hasn’t invested much in TV advertising, either.