Former Sorenson campaign manager: Told me “several times” that Paul campaign offered money for switch

posted at 9:45 am on December 29, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

When the Bachmann campaign claimed that their former Iowa state chair Kent Sorenson got bought by Ron Paul’s campaign to switch allegiance, I chalked it up to the momentary and understandable hyperbole in the immediate aftermath of betrayal.  It’s still a little difficult to believe, but Bachmann and her team might not have made up the claim out of anger, either.  The New York Daily News reports that Susan Geddes, who ran Sorenson’s last two political campaigns, says that Sorenson told her on several occasions that the Paul campaign was offering a lot of money to get him to switch:

Susan Geddes, a veteran operative in conservative GOP political circles who managed Sorenson’s 2008 and 2010 legislative races, said Sorenson had told her several times, as recently as last month, that the Paul campaign had offered him money to leave Bachmann’s campaign for the Texas congressman’s.

Geddes said Sorenson had damaged his political future in Iowa by abandoning Bachmann’s campaign less than a week before the caucuses.

“He just committed political suicide,” she said.

I’m still skeptical about this, because it would have to involve monumental stupidity on someone’s part.  Let’s say that the Paul campaign gave Sorenson cash in a legitimate manner, perhaps as a big campaign-to-campaign contribution, to convince Sorenson to switch.  I believe that would be entirely legal, although perhaps a tactically questionable use of campaign funds in the middle of a primary, but it would have to be disclosed in FEC records — and the quarter-end reports are due in days, which means that the subterfuge will be exposed almost immediately.  That would make Sorenson out to be a fool, especially since he’s denying it now, and it would be political suicide. I’m not convinced that Sorenson is a big enough fish to woo with cash anyway, but at least that would explain why he would leap from Bachmann to Paul, two campaigns that have diametrically opposed viewpoints on foreign policy and immigration.

The other alternative, if Geddes is telling the truth, is that the Paul campaign arranged an off-the-books payment to Sorenson, either directly or indirectly.  That would be unbelievably idiotic, as it would be a prime example of corruption once exposed and would ruin everyone involved.  And for what?  Sorenson may be a larger fish in the smaller Iowa pond, but Ron Paul’s political future hardly hinged on the blessing of Kent Sorenson, nor did it hinge on derailing the all-but-derailed-already Michele Bachmann.  And whatever one thinks of Ron Paul, the people running his campaign aren’t stupid — and they’re certainly not this stupid.

However, Geddes has nothing much to gain from stepping forward and making this claim, either.  She may have burned some bridges by speaking out, and there will be many more elections in Iowa that could provide her employment in the future, if she so chose, and outing one’s close ally as a sellout isn’t exactly a confidence builder for the next candidate to consider her.  The switch in this case is so odd that a backroom deal seems a more likely explanation, and perhaps we’ll see more when the campaigns release their financial statements.

Update: Jennifer Rubin made a good point on Twitter: “you assume a lump sum payment.. they can just pay him a nice “salary” for some time[.]”  That’s true, and given the Paul track record on raising cash, that has a lot more security than a similar arrangement would have been with Bachmann.  However, that still would have to be disclosed at some point through campaign disclosures, and Sorenson’s lie revealed.  That would be perfectly legal for Paul’s campaign, and almost perfectly stupid on Sorenson’s part.

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Sorensen understands, of course, that this type of news brings no positive feelings our outcomes to Paul’s campaign?

Anyone who likes Bachmann is going to take a dimmer view of supporting Paul than they already have.

People like me who already don’t like Paul, just have another reason not to like him, and more reason to give Bachmann the benefit of the doubt.

This might actually help Bachmann to some degree, although it won’t swing the votes for her much, nor swing them much for Paul.

Sorensen wins in the cash department, but loses in the reputation department. But then who really cares since neither Bachmann nor Paul are going to get the final GOP nomination.

Lawrence on December 29, 2011 at 2:05 PM

You might actually want to get the full story prior to drawing conclusions. However, Considering Ed seems to refuse to provide an update, that may prove difficult unless you are willing to do your own research.

bmowell on December 29, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Does this sound like a backstabbing POS? Pay particular attention to the end of the interview.

bmowell on December 29, 2011 at

Once he signed on with Bachman he was obligated to her campaign.

What if all of our trusted business dealings went like this. Nothing in his interview explains why he stabbed her in the back. If her pol #s were the reason then he could have done it months ago. If his love for the Paul campaign was the reason then he should have signed on with them when Paul started his presidential campaign. That interview you linked shows an untrustworthy man child. One of his wires is loose.

BoxHead1 on December 29, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Paul was reluctant to run this time around. He’s frankly tired and wants to spend time with his grandchildren.

Pitchforker on December 29, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Who made him do it? The Illuminati? Teh JOOOOS!?!?

S. D. on December 29, 2011 at 4:37 PM

I blame Romney. Just because.

flyfisher on December 29, 2011 at 9:57 AM

I disagree. Wrong guy. It has to be Bush. Don’t you realize all the bad things in human history should be laid at the feet of Bush? For instance the Black Death that appeared about 1350 and wiped out two thirds of Europe – that was definitely Bush. That evil evil Bush.

trickychicken on December 29, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Anybody just see her kind of divebomb on CNN?

TXGOP on December 29, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Anybody just see her kind of divebomb on CNN?

TXGOP on December 29, 2011 at 5:55 PM

No..but I just saw the guy on Fox..totally closet gay dude.
Not that theres anything wrong with that.

Mimzey on December 29, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Does this sound like a backstabbing POS? Pay particular attention to the end of the interview.

bmowell on December 29, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Yes.. the quintessential backstabbing POS. The man has a lousy character. Full stop. Now he is signing on to the Ron Paul cult of personality cesspool… That’s the kind of cesspool that a POS belongs in.

V7_Sport on December 29, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Apparently Sorenson’s major backers are on the Paul bandwagon, and always were. Several articles have suggested he is shoring up their support for his own reelection next year. That doesn’t sound like “political suicide” to me.

Besides, the accusations come from known liar Bachmann, who previously dissembled on Gardisil, dodged questions on her husband’s Medicaid income, and claimed Gingrich was “buying Tea Party support” in South Carolina, and are echoed now by Sorenson’s former campaign manager. She could just as easily be a disgruntled former employee who supports Bachmann and hates Sorenson for firing her.

Bachmann herself has set the landscape where it is more prudent to assume anything she says is false.

Adjoran on December 30, 2011 at 2:02 AM

“I’m still skeptical about this, because it would have to involve monumental stupidity on someone’s part.”

Really ? Nevermind the report of getting money for the switch – the way he handled the switch itself basically confirms “monumental stupidity on someone’s part.”

The fact that he switched just days before the caucus – speaks volumes about his integrity (lack thereof), loyalty, trustworthiness, etc…and all the other valuable character traits that earns you respect among men and women.

alQemist on December 30, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Who made him do it? The Illuminati? Teh JOOOOS!?!?

S. D.

The bat-frogs?

Hard Right on December 30, 2011 at 5:05 PM