After a week of national scrutiny and criticism that consumed the Rand Paul Senate campaign, Paul has named Jesse Benton as campaign manager, replacing David Adams, who will assume the title of Campaign Chairman, concentrating on building support county by county.
Benton was communications manager for the presidential campaign of Paul's father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, and is married to Rand Paul's niece.
Benton tells me that the changes are not a result of the controversy sparked by Rand Paul's interview on MSNBC, in which the Bowling Green eye surgeon said he would worked to modify a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits racial discrimination by private businesses such as restaurants. Paul has disputed Democratic opponent Jack Conway's claim that Paul wanted to repeal the Civil Rights Act.
Benton, who has been advising the Paul campaign for months, says the campaign changes are a "clarification of the operation already running" and of the roles he and Adams were already filling in the campaign.
The most notable strategy change appears to be a direct result of the controversy. Benton told me, unlike the primary contest that Paul publicized with dozens of appearances on national cable, such as Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, "we're going to make sure the campaign is now focused on Kentucky."
"We're going to back up on the national stuff," Benton said, acknowledging that his role as campaign manager will be to keep Paul on the message that catapulted him to the GOP nomination, namely fiscal restraint.
Finances are another priority for the campaign which expects to name a finance chairman within the next week. Benton estimates Paul will need to raise about $10 million.
Meanwhile, he says Paul is "decompressing," and catching up on his medical practice. Benton says Paul, who appeared at a Bowling Green Lions Club meeting yesterday, has no other appearances scheduled.
"We want to get started on good footing," Benton said.