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Facing Debt, Wilson Orders Restructuring To Trim Costs

September 18, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Faced with a mounting debt, California Gov. Pete Wilson has asked his top presidential campaign aide to bring down spending in a restructuring likely to mean layoffs.

Wilson ordered the changes in two weekend conversations with Craig Fuller, his campaign chairman. In doing so, Wilson also cleared up a power struggle within the campaign by giving Fuller clear authority.

One Republican who informally advises the Wilson camp, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the campaign’s debt was about $1 million. The official said Anne LeGassick, Wilson’s finance chairwoman, was likely to be demoted.

Wilson spokesman Dan Schnur confirmed that Wilson had asked Fuller to direct a restructuring ``designed to bring our expenditures in line with fund-raising.″ But he said the review was just beginning and that he was not aware of any specific personnel decisions.

Just last week, the campaign announced that Fuller, a veteran Republican operative, would shift from Sacramento to Washington. The campaign also announced that veteran GOP operative James Wray would be named campaign director, also working out of Washington.

The odd man out in this arrangement is George Gorton, the longtime Wilson strategist who has the title of campaign manager. Gorton will continue to serve in a senior strategic role, but Fuller and Wray are assuming most managerial duties.

That announcement came within days of Wilson’s decision to pull out of Iowa and concentrate on early primaries in New Hampshire and the Northeast.

Rival campaigns said the moves reflected disarray and dire financial trouble within the Wilson campaign. Wilson aides disputed such accounts, and said no layoffs were planned.

But the informal adviser and other Wilson aides who spoke on condition of anonymity said the latest restructuring likely would lead to some layoffs.

Cost-cutting also raises questions as to whether Wilson will have the money to continue his early television advertising, or to spend the $500,000 or more advisers believe will be needed to gather the signatures necessary to qualify for the New York primary ballot.

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