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Gingrich adds former Bachmann NH director to staff

By NBC's Jo Ling Kent

Manchester, N.H. -- Newt Gingrich is expanding his New Hampshire campaign staff for the third time in a month, adding Rep. Michele Bachmann's former state director Jeff Chidester to his team. He is the second ex-Bachmann aide to join Gingrich's team as the former House spealer surges in both state and national polls.

Chidester, who is a radio talk show host and Tea Party activist, will work with senior adviser Jim Wieczorek to build a Tea Party coalition and state steering committee, according to Gingrich's New Hampshire state director Andrew Hemingway. The New Hampshire-based staff now totals eight.

"Jeff has a strong following across our state and his addition to our team provides us with a great resource of knowledge and experience," Hemingway told NBC News.

In a mass exodus fraught with drama and miscommunication, Chidester departed the Bachmann campaign this fall along with several other staffers including Matt LeDuc. LeDuc recently joined Gingrich's campaign as the New Hamphire communications director.

This is the latest in a revolving door of campaign staff moving away from Bachmann's evaporated Granite State operation to other candidates. To date, many of the Minnesota congresswoman's New Hampshire aides have found new campaign jobs.