Ace Smith and Sean Clegg, the longtime Northern California-based political advisers to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, have left the mayoral campaign of businessman Austin Beutner in the days since he gave a policy speech criticizing City Hall, the Times' David Zahniser reports. "Strategic differences" are all the aides would say on the record in explanation for the split, per Zahniser. “The critique of City Hall was a very strategically sound approach, and we supported it,” Clegg says in the story. “We thought it was key to his strategy.” He is a former deputy mayor for Villaraigosa, as well as a campaign strategist.
Beutner tells Zahniser the breakup was mutual. Maybe this is a clue to what happened: Beutner says he's keeping another set of consultants who were also on his 2013 campaign team, Anita Dunn and Bill Knapp. From the LAT:
Asked why Clegg and Smith are leaving, Beutner hinted at discord among his team of political consultants. “You ever try to put three people on a two-seat bicycle? There’s only one set of handlebars,” he said.
Photo of Beutner spread in Los Angeles magazine