In the final weeks of the Kentucky Republican primary election, U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin’s chief spokeswoman has left the campaign for an unknown reason.
Rachel Semmel joined Bevin’s bid to unseat GOP leader Mitch McConnell last September after leaving an Arizona GOP lawmaker’s office.
But in recent weeks Semmel had missed several campaign events and failed to respond to follow-up questions.
In a text message Monday afternoon, Semmel confirmed with WFPL News she is no longer with Bevn’s campaign.
“Yep. Left,” she said.
Semmel did not respond to questions about why she departed or under what circumstances, and neither did Bevin’s campaign in a statement to WFPL.
“Rachel has moved back to D.C. to pursue another career opportunity and is no longer with the campaign,” says Bevin spokeswoman Sarah Durand. “The Bevin campaign is grateful for all she did for the team and wishes Rachel the best in her future endeavors.”
At least two field operatives have also left the Bevin campaign in recent weeks even as the Tea Party-backed candidate is beginning to run television ads refuting many of McConnell’s attacks.
“I just decided to go my own separate way,” says Ken Howard, 21, who served as Bevin’s regional director in Northern Kentucky and then in the Louisville headquarters until last Friday. “I decided to go to school and had to get some other things lined up. It was my decision and Matt respected that decision. We left off with a positive note.”
Howard says another field operative, David Daniels, has also resigned. The Bevin camp has not confirmed that with WFPL.
“Matt has a phenomenal staff and they’re great people. I’ve worked with them since August,” he says. “Rachel will be missed, I know that much.”
The staff shakeup hasn’t been all resignations and departures, however. Former Tea Party Express Chair Amy Kremer announced over the weekend she is joining the Bevin campaign as a consultant.
She compared Bevin to other conservatives in the Senate who have bucked the GOP establishment, such as Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee.
“They’re having daggers put in their back, not by the Democrats but by members of their own caucus,” she said. “That effort is being led by Mitch McConnell and the only way to stop that is to defeat Mitch McConnell.”
Bevin supporters in Kentucky remain optimistic and some national backers such as radio show host Glenn Beck have said the Louisville investor was “called of God” to run. But others like RedState.com founder Erick Erickson have voiced their doubts that Bevin can pull off an upset unless a serious change is made.
Bevin is trailing McConnell by double-digits in most polls.