Former Arnold campaign aide quits McCain

To the list of those quitting U.S. Sen. John McCain‘s presidential campaign, now add deputy communications director Matt David, who ran Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rapid-response campaign “war room” last year. The Associated Press (via the Washington Post, here) reports today that David is leaving after this week along with most of the McCain campaign press office, close on the heels of recently departed campaign manager Terry Nelson, senior advisor John Weaver and others.

David and former Schwarzenegger campaign manager Steve Schmidt — who earlier had been a top dog on President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign — signed on with McCain in December, and it was announced in March that Schmidt had been promoted to help overhaul McCain’s fund-raising operation after a disappointing first quarter. But both Schmidt and Nelson are partners at Mercury Public Affairs. I haven’t seen any indication that Schmidt has left his post as a senior adviser to McCain, but the McCain press office has yet to return my call today…

UPDATE @ 1:25 P.M. MONDAY: Matt David just called me back; Schmidt remains in an “unpaid senior adviser” role with the McCain campaign. As for himself, he said, he’s not sure what’ll come next, other than kicking back and relaxing for a few days.

UPDATE @ 1:44 P.M. MONDAY: Matt David just called again to clarify his description of Schmidt’s role. “He hasn’t been paid for several weeks now, in the same way that (longtime McCain aide) Mark Salter hasn’t… Schmidt’s going to help where Schmidt can help, but he’s unpaid — he’s for McCain for president but in more of a volunteer role.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.