Kem Gardner denies his campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination is in disarray without a manager.
Rob Jolley, who had been heading the campaign, stepped aside but will retain the title of campaign strategist. Jan Johnson will become campaign coordinator.Jolley and Gardner say their campaign is going well. Reports of its demise have been issued by those who would benefit if Gardner dropped out, they contend.
State Democratic Chairman Peter Billings Jr. said Gardner's campaign "is not as far along as Stewart Hanson Jr."
Billings said Gardner, a businessman, "would be an attractive candidate who would have support around the party. He would appeal to Republicans. But I haven't seen any sign Kem is organizing."
While other Democrats have sent mass mailings to probable delegates, Gardner has not.
Pat Shea, who has hinted he may run for the nomination, said Gardner "is waiting to see whether or not the complex business relationships he had been involved with in the past will become an issue."
Jolley said the criticism of Gardner's campaign "is an effort on the part of individuals who don't want to see Kem get the nomination. Pat Shea has a vested interest. Peter Billings has a vested interest because he supports Stewart Hanson."
"Let's just see at the convention whether I'm unorganized," Gardner said. "I'm not going to respond to those allegations."
Gardner said he is traveling around the state, attracting delegates and raising money.
"Right now I'm planning on a primary. I will win the convention. I may not (win) 70 percent . . . but I will beat Stewart Hanson badly," said Gardner.