The latest senior aide to bolt from the Republican National Committee headquarters, national press secretary Gail Gitcho is leaving to oversee Senator-elect Scott Brown’s communications operation, it was reported Sunday by CNN.
Gitcho, who held communications posts in the campaigns of John McCain and Mitt Romney, is the third senior communications aide to depart in two months, fueling speculation of mid-cycle internal strife.
Gitcho is following in the footsteps of former communications director Trevor Francis, who abruptly resigned in November after RNC Chairman Michael Steele became frustrated he was not receiving proper credit for the party’s electoral successes in Virginia and New Jersey. Todd Irons, Francis’s deputy, resigned just one week later.
To compensate for Francis’s departure, the RNC tapped Republican media strategist Alex Castellanos as a senior communications advisor. A frequent on-air political analyst for CNN, Castellanos minimized his role, insisting he was not “replacing anyone,” only “helping out.”
But in the months following the reorganization, the RNC’s press operation has been decidedly less aggressive. And in comparison to the days of compulsive emailer Danny “$” Diaz, the press shop is a shadow of its former hawkish, oftentimes combative self — which inundated reporters with negative press clippings and research memos.
The search to fill the top two–now three–communications posts at the RNC remains underway, and unsuccessful, I’m told.
UPDATE: I would be remiss if I failed to mention that without communications staff, the RNC must rely on Steele to get its message out. And we all know how fantastic he’s been on that front.
[Disclosure: I was the RNC’s Online Communications Manager when Diaz served as Communications Director]