Kamala Harris reshapes senior staff to streamline struggling presidential campaign – CNN
The changes represent the clearest sign to date that Harris, who has seen her poll numbers consistently fall over the last three months, feels changes are needed to jumpstart her presidential bid and streamline an operation that one source said has been been bogged down by bureaucratic hurdles.
Harris will elevate Rohini Kosoglu, her Senate chief of staff, and senior adviser Laphonza Butler into senior leadership positions within the campaign, the sources said, splitting responsibilities for the day to day management of the operation.
Juan Rodriguez will remain Harris’ campaign manager, but the addition of Kosoglu and elevation of Butler shifts some of the longtime Harris aide’s responsibilities to different staffers.
Butler has already had a role on the campaign, leading one source to express skepticism that these changes will result in a markedly different strategy for the struggling campaign. Butler is expected to continue to play a significant role in the campaign’s strategy in South Carolina, where a recent CNN poll indicated Harris has fallen to 3%.
“We continue to grow our organization as we enter the fourth quarter, and it has always been the plan to bring on additional management to oversee an expanded staff,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “As we double our organizers in Iowa and South Carolina and expand our digital team, we’re in a strong position to execute our plan and win the nomination.”
Campaign spokespeople would not officially comment on the story when asked on Monday.
Harris’ campaign was rattled by the leaked report, first published by Politico, that the campaign plans to restructure its senior leadership, prompting a flurry of calls and emails from managers to their subordinates Monday night aimed at calming raw nerves among rank-and-file staff.
Rodriguez planned a late night call Monday night with senior department heads to brief them on the changes, a person familiar with the call said.
The report also touched off a scramble to determine who had leaked some of the information that was so closely held that many of the campaign’s top aides felt blindsided that it had appeared online first before it was communicated by top aides.
A person familiar with the dynamic of the campaign described the mood as dark in recent days as Harris’ poll numbers in several national and statewide polls have shown the senator in the low single digits and falling.
The source said the campaign has been bogged down by bureaucratic hurdles created largely by poor management that have frustrated aides.
One major source of confusion, the person added, is that many of the campaign’s key decisions are made by Maya Harris, the candidates sister, even though Rodriguez is the campaign manager.
A Harris adviser said Kosoglu’s addition represents an effort to bring more policy heft into the campaign. Before joining Harris’ Senate office, Kosoglu was a longtime policy adviser for Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Michael Bennett of Colorado.
This adviser said that Harris still believes that the race is in an early stage but acknowledged, “Everyone is agreement that there need to be some refinements.”
In addition to the staffing changes, two sources with knowledge of Harris’ campaign tell CNN that Corey Ciorciari, Harris’ deputy policy director, has left his full-time role with the operation.
Ciorciari, a former policy adviser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, was an early staffer on Harris’ presidential race.
A third source said that Ciorciari is still advising the campaign in a part-time capacity, but his role has changed since he was named deputy policy director in March.
Ciorciari and a campaign spokesman declined to comment.
Harris, asked by CNN on Tuesday night, declined to confirm the staffing changes.
“I’m very proud of our team,” Harris said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” “We have accomplished a great amount of work thus far which makes me a top-tier candidate. … And we’re going to continue moving ahead.”
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