(CNN) – In a Thursday campaign memo to the McCain campaign’s 11 regional campaign managers, the man newly named to steer the presumptive Republican nominee’s presidential effort announced some changes that seemed designed to make this year’s campaign bear a slightly greater resemblance to the successful, more-centralized Bush-Cheney re-election team.
McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt, a Bush campaign veteran, signaled Thursday he is boosting the power of the campaign’s central headquarters in Arlington, with plans to hire a field director and political director in the coming weeks who will both work with Deputy Campaign Manager Christian Ferry.
But he also said that – despite speculation — the McCain campaign won’t be scrapping the de-centralized system that’s drawn skeptical reactions from many GOP observers this cycle. Schmidt wrote Thursday that the regional campaign managers were key to McCain’s success, even as he appeared to suggest that strategy would be set by national leadership. “We will be enhancing our headquarters political capacity to provide additional resources to you and your regions,” he wrote.
Schmidt said that over the past month, as the campaign launched its general election field effort, the regional offices had hired 70 staffers, deployed 17 state directors nationwide, and built statewide and county leadership teams in targeted states. He also said the campaign’s joint Victory effort with the Republican National Committee had resulted in an additional 84 offices and 113 staffers.
“It is an incredible amount of progress for a campaign that ended the primaries with no money, little infrastructure, and no formal organization outside the early primary states,” added Schmidt.
McCain’s leadership team underwent a shakeup this week amid Republican concerns that it was ill-equipped to battle Barack Obama’s campaign organization, with Schmidt taking responsibility for most of the day-to-day planning and strategy that had been handled by Campaign Manager Rick Davis.