Dr. Ben Carson speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Jan. 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Scott Olson—Getty Images
February 24, 2015 2:58 PM EST

Ben Carson has been on a hiring spree lately for his unannounced campaign, and his new staffers have something in common: they used to work for Newt Gingrich.

First there was Ruth Sherlock, hired as Carson’s South Carolina state director and formerly Gingrich’s national deputy political director.

Then Carson hired Mike Murray as his senior advisor. Murray is the President and CEO of TMA Direct, a direct marketing agency that runs the direct mailing efforts of Gingrich’s American Legacy PAC. (Carson himself is affiliated with the PAC — his anti-Obamacare initiative for American Legacy has raised $6 million.)

On Tuesday, Carson’s campaign manager Terry Giles announced that Amy Pass has signed on to be national finance director. Pass, “a long-time Newt Gingrich fundraiser,” helped raise over $52 million for Gingrich’s American Solutions PAC, according to Giles, before serving as national finance director for Gingrich’s 2012 presidential bid.

But all of this is “just coincidence,” says Giles. “As we announce additional personnel you will not see many if any former Newt Gingrich folks.”

Gingrich himself praised the hires, saying Sherlock was “key” and Murray is “an excellent direct mail and email manager.”

As for Carson, Gingrich told TIME: “He has to be taken seriously.”

Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.berenson@time.com.

Read More From TIME

Related Stories