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Politics Notebook: Gary King announces new campaign manager

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Democratic governor candidate Gary King has brought a new campaign manager on board – his third in the last month.

The hiring of Keith Breitbach came less than two weeks after King accepted the resignation of his previous campaign manager – just one day after he was hired – for offensive tweets in the past.

Breitbach, a veteran campaign consultant, is fresh off heading up the primary election victory of U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. He has also worked as a radio talk show host and was a deputy campaign manager for Sen Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

Breitbach arrived in New Mexico on Friday and appeared at several campaign events with King on Saturday, including the Santa Fe Pride parade.

“He has a good national reputation,” King said of Breitbach in a Saturday interview. “I think he adds a lot of good knowledge to the campaign.”

The campaign manager shuffle began when Jim Farrell left the job after the June 3 primary election, citing a desire to spend more time with his family in Las Cruces.

King then hired Steve Verzwyvelt, the Louisiana politico who resigned after coming under fire from conservatives for posting derogatory remarks about women on his social media account.

In announcing Verzwyvelt’s resignation on June 17, King described the postings as being “in direct conflict with my own beliefs of tolerance, respect and decency.”

The Republican Party of New Mexico pounced on the episode, claiming it showed King’s campaign to be in “disarray.”

King said the experience showed the importance of vetting a hire’s social media accounts, in addition to traditional background checks. He said he believed a more thorough vetting had been done prior to hiring Breitbach.

Campaign managers typically coordinate a candidate’s polling, advertising, fundraising and campaign strategy.

King, the state’s two term attorney general, had previously indicated a desire for a campaign manager with ties to national Democratic groups.

King is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Susana Martinez in the Nov. 4 general election. While new campaign reports will be filed this week, Martinez has so far reported having much more money in her campaign account than King – $4.3 million for Martinez to $75,518 for King, as of last month.

King won the Democratic Party gubernatorial nomination in June after a five-way primary contest.

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