GreenMountainPolitics1 has learned that Jim Martin, John McCain's New Hampshire State Director, has left McCain's campaign effective immediately.
Jim Barnett, formally McCain's New England Political Director, has been tapped to take over as McCain's new New Hampshire Director.
McCain's New Hampshire Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker told GreenMountainPolitics1 that, "Jim Martin is no longer the state director. While we appreciate his hard work, Jim Barnett will assume the day to day responsibilities moving forward. Barnett is talented and experienced and will be a termendous asset to the campaign as we move forward."
Before joining the McCain campaign, Barnett was the Chairman of the Vermont Republican Party and one of Vermont Governor Jim Douglas' top political advisers.
During his tenure as Chairman, Barnett was credited with helping keep the Vermont Republican Party relevant in a state that often considers the politics of the San Fransisco Bay Area to be "a little too conservative for Vermont's liking."
Vermont's Rutland Herald newspaper said of Barnett, "He already runs the most effective - some would say ruthless - communications shop in state politics." (Rutland Herald, 11/6/05)
Peter Freyne, a political columnist for Vermont's Seven Days newspaper, called Jim Barnett "a major dose of Viagra for the Vermont GOP." (Seven Days, 6/9/04)
And that's a compliment coming from Peter Freyne.
Jim Martin's departure comes only a few days after another Granite State native, Mike Dennehy, stepped down as McCain's National Political Director to return to New Hampshire to spend more time with his family.
Dennehy, who retains an active role in the McCain campaign as "Senior Consultant" in charge of New Hampshire and South Carolina, personally recruited Jim Barnett to work for McCain's campaign late last year.
Mike Dennehy told GreenMountainPolitics1, "Jim Barnett is smart and effective. He's been a key player in our political organization and I look forward to working closely with him to ensure a repeat victory in New Hampshire for McCain."
The New Hampshire campaign staff directly below Barnett will stay the same.
Bottom line? Obviously this is not something the McCainiacs want to be talking about right now (duh!). And this story will certainly give the chattering classes something to chatter about for a few days.
And then it will go away.
Because the only constant in campaigns is change. And everyone knows it.
Full Disclosure Alert: GreenMountainPolitics1 knows Barnett personally from a relationship built in Vermont (over beers, pub food and politics) long before the McCain campaign.