Biden Hires New Campaign Manager to Take on Trump
The Democratic nomination has yet to be bestowed upon former Vice President Joe Biden, but his campaign is already adjusting course to take on President Donald Trump.
The Democratic nomination has yet to be bestowed upon former Vice President Joe Biden, but his campaign is already adjusting course to take on President Donald Trump. Biden announced the hiring of Jennifer O’Malley Dillon as his new campaign manager Thursday.
At 43 years old, Dillon brings with her more experience than her age lets on, as reported by CNN. Most recently, she served as former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s campaign manager in the beginning of the Democratic primaries. Prior to that, she worked as a aide on former President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012.
Dillon also worked on former Sen. John Edwards’ two failed presidential campaigns and was an executive director for the Democratic National Committee. She joined the Biden campaign team during the Nevada caucuses. Although Biden was significantly trounced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the state gave his campaign the first signs of life as he fought past then-second-place candidate former Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
What Does Dillon Add?
Aside from her campaign experience, Dillon is Biden’s way of sending a signal to DNC donors and fellow politicians that he is a legitimate contender to face Trump, according to the New York Times. Super Tuesday left many observers stunned, perhaps Biden himself included. After a broad field of candidates had become narrowed from over 20 to a handful, the nation had begun waking up to the possibility of a Sanders nomination.
Behind the scenes, however, the establishment prefers a more moderate candidate and preferably one who isn’t a self-branded democratic-socialist. Biden’s Super Tuesday wins have given the DNC a way out from its Sanders nightmare, but there is a problem: the Biden campaign is disorganized.
He doesn’t have the grassroots support and small-money donors that Sanders enjoys. His primary claim to fame is still “I worked with Obama.” Was Biden’s Super Tuesday success due to his name recognition and political stances, or was it more a failure of Sanders’ youth voters failing him? The DNC can’t afford to bank on the former.
And not all insiders were quiet with their grumblings. Rep. James E. Clyburn, D–S.C., endorsed him, but did so with a caveat.
“I’m not going to sit idly by and watch people mishandle this campaign,” Clyburn said, expressing his displeasure with the chaotic campaign organization.
What About Schultz?
Dillon will replace Greg Schultz who Biden had seemed to lose faith in. Even before elevating Dillon, Biden shifted some of the management responsibilities to Anita Dunn, his chief advisor, in advance of the Feb. 11 New Hampshire primary.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Schultz told POLITICO as rumors swirled last month that he would be replaced. “I don’t know where these rumors are coming from.”
Evidently the whisperings were a bit more than rumors. Although he will no longer spearhead the campaign efforts, according to the Biden campaign, he will stay onboard and “turn his focus to organizational planning for the general election and continuing to bolster the campaign’s external outreach.” Other Democratic officials elaborated that Schultz will serve as a liaison between the campaign, DNC, and state efforts, the New York Times reported.
The shakeup should not discredit what Schultz added to the campaign, however. Like Dillon, he worked on Obama’s campaigns, leading efforts in Ohio where he was victorious on both occasions. For Biden’s campaign, Schultz emphasized the need to make a strong push in South Carolina where he could rally black voters, according to colleague Steve Schale. That prediction was, which was fulfilled, was made in 2018 before Biden had committed to running.
“A lot of these people who have it out for Greg have no idea what they’re talking about,” Schale said.
At the end of the day, however, Schultz’ effectiveness was criticized by too many political experts and insiders, however. He took the heat for Biden’s lackluster performance in early primary states and when Biden gaffed his way through debates, it was Schultz who bore the responsibility.
Financially, the Biden campaign also under performed those of his opponents. The buck had to stop somewhere, so Schultz was demoted.