UPDATE : The Maine Wire, MHPC’s news service just announced that Moody is leaving to join the Virginia-based State Budget Solutions, another conservative think tank. According to the Wire post, no successor has been named at MHPC. 

J. Scott Moody, the CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, confirmed Friday morning that he’s leaving the organization.

Moody, who is traveling Friday, did not provide any specifics about the reason for his departure, but said there would be additional details in a formal announcement. His departure, and his eventual replacement, marks another leadership change at the state’s leading conservative advocacy group.

Maine Heritage Policy Center has played a significant role in amplifying the conservative voice in a state traditionally dominated by Democrats. After the 2010 Republican wave election, the organization gained additional influence when several of its employees landed prominent positions in the LePage Administration, including Steve Bowen, who held the post of education commissioner until he resigned last year.

The center’s former CEO, Tarren Bragdon, was at the helm as MHPC made its steady ascent. Bragdon left the organization in 2011, shortly after the Republican-controlled Legislature installed sweeping health insurance reforms. Bragdon now runs the Foundation for Government Accountability in Naples, Fla. FGA recently surfaced in Maine during the Medicaid expansion debate.

Lance Dutson replaced Bragdon later in 2011 and remained at the organization until he joined the U.S. Senate race as campaign manager for Republican Charlie Summers. Moody stepped in to replace Dutson.

It’s unclear who will succeed Moody or how his departure will affect an organization that depends on private fundraising. Leadership changes can sometimes stall those efforts. However, if the center can pick up another adept CEO, the organization should remain solidly in Maine’s political mix. 

Conservatives are certainly taking an interest in Moody’s successor.

Rumor has it that Moody is hoping he’ll be replaced by Jonathan Haines, MHPC’s current communications director.

Haines doesn’t have much of a public profile, which is a concern for some conservatives that I have spoken with. Republicans have a keen an interest in ensuring that MHPC remains an influential voice in Maine and that may require a CEO eager to become the face and voice of the organization (Bragdon and Dutson very much fit the mold; Moody is a little more of a policy wonk, but he maintained a public presence). It’s unclear who else should, or could, replace Moody. However, the MHPC board of advisors and adjunct fellows are likely having some intense discussions to determine who lead the organization. 

One other piece nugget of info: It appears that Moody, who lives in New Hampshire, is leaving to join another conservative think tank. It’s not clear which one.