QUINCY, Mass.—Independent Timothy Cahill vowed Friday to remain in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race until the end, despite the resignations of two top staffers less than six weeks before Election Day.
Cahill said his campaign is still capable of catching on, despite lagging poll numbers. And he claimed an uptick in fundraising this month while also boasting he had a superior get-out-the-vote operation.
"We move forward, and it's not the consultants or the pollsters or the pundits that are going to decide this race, but the people of Massachusetts, and I've still got a great message that's resonating," said Cahill. "I have no intention of quitting or leaving; I have every intention of winning."
He addressed a small group of reporters in his campaign headquarters, which is festooned with optimistic slogans and adorned with a photo of the underdog gold medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team.
Cahill offered a slogan himself, reciting the famed Nietzsche quotation, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Cahill made his reassurance after campaign manager Adam Meldrum resigned less than 24 hours after senior strategist John Weaver also quit. Cahill said longtime aide Scott Campbell would now officially run the campaign, despite having been in a top advisory role since May.
Meldrum did not respond to e-mails sent to his campaign account and otherwise could not be immediately reached for comment. Weaver -- who helped crafted Arizona Sen. John McCain's maverick persona and win the 2000 New Hampshire primary -- said he was leaving because the race had narrowed to the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Deval Patrick, and Republican challenger Charles Baker.
Weaver argued Cahill was only capable of continuing as a spoiler, lacking the support to win the race himself but capable of siphoning enough votes from Baker to prevent him from beating Patrick.
"As much as I like Tim Cahill, I can't be party to helping elect the most liberal candidate in the race," Weaver said during an interview with The Associated Press.
Cahill said he was disappointed with both departures, but he said Weaver's involvement had been waning, and Meldrum, while "a great young man," had been largely superseded by Campbell. Meldrum shared McCain roots with Weaver, having worked on the senator's 2008 presidential campaign.
"Scott's been really the presence of this campaign, the leader of this campaign. He's got experience in winning two statewide elections for me," said the two-term state treasurer.
Cahill said he disagreed with Weaver's advice to launch negative attacks against Patrick and Baker, believing it would turn off voters. He vowed to run only positive ads, though he said some will be comparative with the other candidates.
He also lambasted the suggestion by Weaver, as well as members of the Baker campaign team, that his continued candidacy would only serve to elect Patrick.
"That's been a story that the Republicans have been selling and spinning for the last six months," said Cahill. "If their candidate isn't good enough to win this on his own, ... maybe he's not that good."
Cahill noted the Republican Chris Christie won his campaign for New Jersey governor last fall, despite over $30 million in spending by the Democratic incumbent, then-Gov. Jon Corzine, and a credible independent challenger, Chris Daggett.
"It's time for Charlie just to step up and stop whining, and his people to stop whining," said Cahill. "I'm in this race because I have a message. That message differentiates me from the other candidates, both Charlie and Deval."
The most recent survey had Patrick at 41 percent, Baker at 34 percent and Cahill at 14 percent. Six percent were undecided, but more Cahill voters broke for Baker than Patrick if the choice came down to the Republican and Democratic candidates.
Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein is the fourth person who will be on the Nov. 2 general election ballot, but she registered just 4 percent in the recent poll.