Gubernatorial hopeful Donald M. Berwick and his political director have parted ways, just three weeks before the state Democratic convention that will determine if Berwick qualifies for the primary ballot.
Joe Caiazzo said his last day with the Berwick campaign was Friday. Caiazzo, who said he has worked on Berwick’s campaign as political director since last spring, was mum on the reasons for the split.
“It was a mutual split,” he said, adding it was “by mutual agreement.”
Pressed, he offered no other details but praised Berwick and said “I think he’ll make a great governor some day. I’m confident things will keep on moving in the right direction.”
This is not the first staff shakeup on the campaign of Berwick, a one-time pediatrician and former top Obama administration health care official who is making his first bid for elective office. The Globe reported last month that campaign manager Luke Quandt had left the Berwick effort. And, according to filings with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Berwick’s current treasurer is his third since he began fundraising for his gubernatorial bid.
Berwick spokesman Leigh Appleby declined to detail the reasons behind the split between the campaign and Caiazzo.
“It was a mutual separation, but beyond that I really can’t comment on it,” Appleby said.
Staff shakeups are not unusual in the nascent stages of political campaigns. What’s more rare is the departure of key campaign figures so close to a decisive political event, such as the convention.
To qualify for the Sept. 9 Democratic primary ballot, statewide candidates need to receive the backing of at least 15 percent of delegates at the June state party confab. Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Treasurer Steven Grossman, are widely expected to pass the threshold. But the prospects of the three other party hopefuls — Berwick, former Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem, and biopharmaceutical executive Joseph Avellone — are more uncertain.
Appleby denied there was disarray within Berwick’s campaign.
“We’re feeling very good, actually, going into the convention,” Appleby said, citing robust fundraising and a strong delegate count. “I think we’re in really good shape.”
Besides the five Democrats, there are other people hoping to succeed Governor Deval Patrick, who is not running for a third term. They include two Republicans and three independent candidates.