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Perry campaign has no staff in New Hampshire

A former staffer of Perry's claims the former Texas governor has no staff in New Hampshire for his presidential campaign.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Rick Perry's presidential campaign has lost its entire staff in New Hampshire, according to a former top adviser there to the former governor.

"There is no staff in New Hampshire," Mike Dennehy said Wednesday, a day after word spread that one of Perry's remaining staffers in the Granite State had defected to Ohio Gov. John Kasich's campaign.

Dennehy, who is no longer working for Perry's campaign in a formal capacity, said he had personally encouraged the New Hampshire staff to look for other work. Dennehy said he does not plan to join another campaign.

Perry's presidential campaign reduced its team earlier this week in another early voting state, Iowa, to a single paid staffer.

In New Hampshire, Perry's team lost Dante Vitagliano, who had been serving there as the former governor's political director. The campaign of Ohio Gov. John Kasich confirmed Wednesday that it had hired Vitagliano to work in the Granite State.

In a statement, Vitagliano said he still believes Perry has what it takes to be president. But Vitagliano's priority is to be involved in the Granite State primary, he added, and "it has become clear that the path forward for Gov. Perry is not through New Hampshire."

Vitagliano and Dennehy are not the only Perry staffers in New Hampshire to exit recently. Ryder Selmi, who had been Perry's senior field manager in New Hampshire, left the former governor's campaign around Aug. 20.

Word of Vitagliano's exit came a day after Perry's Iowa team announced it had scaled back to one paid staffer, Jamie Johnson, and a volunteer adviser, Robert Haus. The Hawkeye State staff, which once had 10 paid members, had gone through a restructuring as a result of fundraising problems that had caused the campaign to stop paying all staff earlier this summer.

Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said Aug. 25 that the campaign had "started bringing staff back on payroll" in only Iowa and South Carolina.

Nashed would only say Wednesday that the former governor continues to focus on competing in the early voting states.

"Whether it’s his time serving as governor of the 12th largest economy in the world, stepping in when Washington D.C. failed to secure our border, or serving our country in the U.S. Air Force, Gov. Perry’s record is unmatched by any other candidate in the field," Nashed said.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2015/09/02/perrys-new-hampshire-staff/.