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donnellypodium.jpgJennifer Kerns, Tim Donnelly's campaign manager, quit Donnelly's gubernatorial campaign Wednesday.

The announcement comes just days before the California Republican Party's convention in Burlingame and is a setback to the Twin Peaks assemblyman's bid. Donnelly, reached Wednesday afternoon, said he was unaware of the departure.

"That's news to me," he said.

Kerns said in a prepared statement that she is "proud to have taken a candidate from the launch of a campaign as an unknown, underdog candidate to frontrunner status in the polls, as well as having cleared the field of our closest GOP competitor."

She said a filmmaker who produced campaign video ads for Donnelly has also left "making this now two top strategic advisers who have left."

Donnelly had made Kerns a significant part of his campaign, In January he posted an online video celebrating her promotion to campaign manager.

"They say beside every good leader is a great woman," Donnelly tells the camera after opening clips of Kerns running and Donnelly drinking coffee with his wife, Rowena. "I've got two."

Editor's note: This post was updated at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday to include the statement from Kerns.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, speaks in Baldwin Park Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. Associated Press/Nick Ut


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