Image: Michele Bachmann
Win Mcnamee  /  Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann speaks at the Family Research Council Action headquarters November 7, 2011 in Washington, DC. Bachmann discussed the role of government in the lives of Americans and the principles that would govern her policies as President of the United States during he remarks.
NBC News
updated 12/30/2011 10:10:32 AM ET 2011-12-30T15:10:32

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign lost another high-ranking staff member on Thursday after that staffer defended another former Bachmann official's defection to a rival campaign.

Wes Enos, Bachmann's political director, has left the campaign, spokeswoman Alice Stewart confirmed to NBC News on Thursday evening.

The resignation comes on the heels of last night's announcement by Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson, who had served as Bachmann's Iowa chairman, that he had stepped down from that position to support Texas Rep. Ron Paul's campaign instead.

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Yesterday, Enos publicly defended Sorenson, an Iowa state Senator, against charges voiced by Bachmann that Sorenson had accepted money from the Paul campaign, in violation of state law. (This narrative is disputed by Sorenson himself.)

"I can't in good conscious watch a good man like Kent Sorenson be attacked as a sell-out," Enos told NBC News on Wednesday night, insisting that Sorenson felt personal loyalty to colleagues in the state legislature backing Paul.

A similar statement from Enos was released via the Ron Paul campaign shortly after midnight today.

Reached via text message today, Enos told NBC News, of his departure from the Bachmann campaign: "It was a mutual thing. I knew when I undermined [Bachmann's] statement last night that I effectively was tendering my resignation."

Enos adds he has no "ill will" toward Bachmann.

That hasn't stalled the emerging feud between the Bachmann and Paul campaigns.

Bachmann re-iterated her charge against Sorenson at a campaign stop on Thursday, saying that Sorenson had told her he had been "offered a great deal of money" to support Ron Paul, but had given her campaign assurances he would stay.

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"He said that he would be staying. He was with me at our campaign stop in Indianola," Bachmann said.

Sorenson joined Bachmann at a Pizza Ranch in Indianola yesterday, where he spoke with voters as he stood by Bachmann's side. Later, he declined to speak on her behalf, citing dental work he had received earlier in the day.

“I’m numb, so I’m afraid I’ll start drooling," Sorenson told the crowd, to laughs.

Today, Bachmann told reporters that, "He told all of our campaign that he was definitely on board and then he got in his car and he went and announced that he was going with the Ron Paul campaign."

The visit to the Indianola event followed a discussion over the phone Tuesday, Bachmann said, in which Sorenson told her he had been offered a "great deal of money" to defect to the Paul campaign.

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