Following a rough stretch for his presidential campaign, Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a shakeup at the top of his campaign structure. Pollster Kellyanne Conway, who joined Trump’s team earlier this summer, will now serve as campaign manager. And Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, will serve as CEO of the campaign.
The staff moves, which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, come as Trump trails Hillary Clinton in a host of key battleground states.
Paul Manafort will remain in his current role as chairman and chief strategist, according to the Trump campaign. In recent days Manafort has been dogged by a New York Times report about his previous work in Ukraine.
The campaign’s official announcement on the new hires described Bannon’s CEO role as “a new position designed to bolster the business-like approach of Mr. Trump’s campaign.” Bannon is taking a temporary leave from Breitbart to assume his new role on Trump’s effort.
“I have known Steve and Kellyanne both for many years. They are extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win,” Trump said in a statement. “I believe we’re adding some of the best talents in politics, with the experience and expertise needed to defeat Hillary Clinton in November and continue to share my message and vision to Make America Great Again. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to win this election, and ultimately become President because our country cannot afford four more years of the failed Obama-Clinton policies which have endangered our financial and physical security.”
The campaign also touted its “first major TV ad buy of the general election,” something the candidate has steadfastly resisted to this point. Despite a blitz of early TV ad spending from the Clinton campaign and Democratic outside groups—already more than $100 million combined—Trump hasn’t spent a single dollar on general election ads.
Earlier this summer, Trump explained his campaign philosophy this way to supporters at a rally in Maine: “You know, I go around, I make speeches, I talk to reporters. I don’t even need commercials if you want to know the truth.”
Whether this initial ad buy marks a turn toward a more traditional campaign driven by paid media remains to be seen.
The Trump campaign is slated to air ads in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina. Recent polling has Clinton leading in all four states.