President Barack Obama's bid for a second term will be run from Chicago instead of Washington, his team announced on Thursday.
Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina will leave his position to manage the re-election campaign, the New York Times reported. He has already begun looking for office space in Chicago and contacting major fundraisers and former supporters who have become somewhat disillusioned, according to the report.
White House Social Secretary Julianna Smoot will leave her position to serves as deputy campaign manager.
Senior White House adviser David Axelrod will also leave Washington for Chicago, where the campaign is set to kick off officially in April after the Chicago mayor's race.
Messina told one interviewer this week that Obama "will be president of the United States." The re-election team will be building "this grass-roots campaign," he said, while waiting to see who their opponent will be.
As part of the re-election strategy, the president will close the office of political affairs at the White House, turning over its duties to the Democratic National Committee. David Plouffe, the president's 2008 campaign manager, will serve as senior advisor in the new setup.
According to Obama's aides, restructuring the operation under the Democratic National Committee lessens the possibility of investigation by the Republican-led House Oversight Committee.
The Democratic National Committee will also begin moving some of its staff to Chicago, including Executive Director Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, who will serve as deputy campaign manager.
The president plans to formally announce his candidacy in April after filing the forms with the Federal Election Commission, White House officials said.