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Senate candidate Kingston cuts staff pay

John Kingston cleared the important 15 percent threshold to qualify for the ballot at last month’s state GOP convention in Worcester.
Winslow Townson/Associated Press/File 2018
John Kingston cleared the important 15 percent threshold to qualify for the ballot at last month’s state GOP convention in Worcester.

Now that the GOP convention is over, it’s time for US Senate candidate John Kingston to enjoy the warmth of some sunny Southern beaches. But first the Republican — one in a trio seeking to oust Elizabeth Warren — had some business to resolve.

Immediately after the party’s April 28 convention, where Kingston cleared the important 15 percent threshold to qualify for the ballot, he began cutting his field staff’s salaries — a move that prompted four of the five people in those positions to quit. (The fifth, according to a person with knowledge of his staff, took a job out of state.)

He also cut in half the fees he pays some other chief advisers, and now Kingston has a fairly skeletal campaign staff, those familiar with his decisions have confirmed.

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And with that out of the way, Kingston headed to a South Carolina beach, leaving the campaign trail to his primary opponents: longtime GOP activist and state official Beth Lindstrom and state Representative Geoff Diehl.

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From a family member’s social media post, it appears Kingston was at one of the East Coast’s most high-end resort destinations, Kiawah Island. Just south of Charleston, the island is replete with luxury hotels, high-end restaurants, nature preserves, a golf course, and a 10-mile beach along the Atlantic Ocean.

A spokesman for Kingston’s campaign, Jon Conradi, said the staff shifts are intended to take the campaign to new a whole level — the airways — where the candidate can use his personal fortune to win the Sept. 4 primary and general election. Kingston has already put more than $3 million of his own money into the race.

“In this new phase of the race, the campaign is reorienting to win the coming air war with Senator Warren and her war chest stocked with campaign cash from New York, Washington, and Hollywood elites,” Conradi explained.

Conradi declined to answer questions about Kingston’s vacation.

Frank Phillips can be reached at frank.phillips@globe.com.