by Max Brantley
Martin's press secretary, who carried the title of deputy secretaryof state, resigned today. She's a former news reporter, served a long stint in Gov. Mike Huckabee's press operation (and on his presidential campaign) and moonlights as a commentator on Fox News. Twitter traffic indicates she's heading to the presidential campaign of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
A new office spokesman confirmed the rumor we'd heard she left after another office employee had first denied knowledge, but official confirmation of her Bachmann job hasn't arrived just yet. But several outlets are reporting that she'll be Bachmann's national spokeswoman and on hand for the New Hampshire debate tonight.
Alex Reed is the new spokesman for Martin's office. He said Stewart left to pursue "new opportunities." Word came later of an apparent Bachmann move. Bachmann has attracted others who worked in the 2008 Huckabee presidential run, including former campaign boss Ed Rollins.
Stewart had a tough job — speaking for an inept, secretive boss who started his tenure in the ministerial job with some major boners. She gave it her best. Just last Friday, she gave a full-throated, blog-strafing defense of her boss on Wingnut Radio (KARN). More here.
This sounded, at first blush, a little like one of those shoot-the-messenger deals. But no. She was, however, the third top hand, after Teresa Belew and Princella Smith, to depart the office less than six months into the term. I don't think the Bachmann campaign will be any bed of roses, however. The official news release on Stewart's office departure doesn't add much:
Alice Stewart is no longer with the Secretary of State's office, and taken has another opprotunity elsewhere. Please refer all inquiries of Secretary of State Mark Martin's office to Alex Reed at (501) 682-1010, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.