Just before the end of 2015, Ben Carson’s campaign manager along with 20 staffers quit.

Less than two weeks later, all New Hampshire paid staffers for a pro-Carson PAC, 2016 Committee, quit and left to volunteer for Ted Cruz.

WMUR reports:

All five paid New Hampshire staffers at the pro-Ben Carson 2016 Committee super PAC quit their posts on Sunday to become volunteers for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, WMUR.com has learned.

Jerry Sickles of Keene, the spokesman for the staff, said he and the other four staffers recently came to the conclusion that Cruz is the conservative most able to win the GOP presidential nomination and the presidency. He also noted that Carson has spent very little time campaigning in New Hampshire, which became frustrating to him and the other staffers as they tried to build support in the state.

“We hold Dr. Carson in the highest regard,” Sickles said. “This is a man we revere, but we think it is important that our party nominate a conservative and get behind a single conservative who can win, and we strongly believe that candidate is Ted Cruz.”

Sickles said that joining him in leaving the 2016 Committee and endorsing Cruz are former state Rep. Tim Comerford of Fremont, Joel Lambert of Alton, Jaye Foster of Keene and Emily Lecuyer of Hampstead.

“The Paris and the San Bernardino attacks changed everything,” Sickles said. “I believe Republicans are looking for a voice that is more emphatic and has dealt with issues of national security. We believe that Ted Cruz is a conservative Republican in the mold of Ronald Reagan and understands Reagan’s three-legged stool of social conservatism, economic conservatism and strength on national security.”

Sickles also said the staffers “definitely noticed” that Carson has campaigned infrequently in New Hampshire. Cruz has not been among the leading candidates visiting New Hampshire, either, but he has been in the state more than Carson.

Sickles said that despite Carson’s sparse number of visits, since the summer he and the other staffers “made thousands and thousands of phone calls” on Carson’s behalf.

“We haven’t been fired,” Sickles said. “We just decided as a staff that this was the thing we should do at this point. ”It’s something we’ve been talking about among ourselves and we just decided that the timing is right to do this.”

“I can’t tell you how many times I would be out talking to voters who liked Dr. Carson but said, ‘Can you get him to come here?’”

While Carson was once a contender for the coveted title of “front-runner,” he’s now polling around 9% nationally and a paltry 3.5% in New Hampshire.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye

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