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Friday, June 30, 2017 1:00 am

Pence chief of staff to leave voluntarily

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that he will have a new chief of staff in August.

Josh Pitcock is resigning from the job and will be replaced by Nick Ayers on Aug. 1. 

Pitcock, who is from Anderson, had been Pence's chief of staff when Pence was a member of the U.S. House and state government lobbyist in Washington when Pence was Indiana's governor. Pitcock was a senior adviser to Pence during last year's presidential campaign.

Ayers, who is from suburban Atlanta, is a veteran Republican political strategist who was a consultant to Pence's gubernatorial campaign and chairman and chief strategist for Pence's vice presidential campaign. He has been leading America First Policies, a political organization that supports President Donald Trump.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Pitcock's pending departure is voluntary. The Times reported that unnamed sources close to Pitcock said he had not intended to remain as chief of staff beyond this summer.

Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote that Pence “has told allies he would like to return to a system similar to what was in place during the campaign, when Mr. Ayers not only helped to keep Mr. Pence focused on bigger-picture themes as his strategist but also managed staff-related issues.”

Haberman wrote that Ayers “has a good relationship with members of the president's family and a number of senior presidential advisers. Mr. Ayers is also known as an aggressive fighter on behalf of his bosses, a quality that could serve the vice president well over coming months.”

Pence said in a statement about Ayers, “I have come to appreciate Nick's friendship, keen intellect and integrity.”

Pence said Pitcock's “more than twelve years of service have played an invaluable role throughout my public career. His professionalism and integrity are unmatched and he will be missed.”

bfrancisco@jg.net