Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden is shaking up his campaign leadership by naming a veteran of Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s White House bids as his campaign manager. The campaign announced Thursday that Jen O’Malley Dillon will serve as campaign manager going forward. She has already helped Biden resurrect his campaign, being brought in to focus on Nevada after dismal finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire put the former vice president’s third White House bid on the brink of collapse. Biden finished a distant second to Bernie Sanders in Nevada, but it was enough to set the stage for his surge from South Carolina onward.
O’Malley Dillon, 43, nominally succeeds Greg Schultz, who has served as campaign manager since Biden announced his bid last April. But Schultz already was practically superseded after Iowa, when Biden elevated adviser Anita Dunn by giving her final decision-making authority. It’s not immediately clear whether Dunn will retain senior status over O’Malley Dillon.
Schultz, meanwhile, has continued to serve Biden with a wide-ranging portfolio, including as a primary contact for top donors and elected officials around the country. O’Malley Dillon’s promotion was first reported by The Washington Post. The move comes as Biden looks ahead to a potential general election matchup with President Donald Trump. But it serves as a reminder that Biden’s campaign, even with his rapid ascent to national delegate leader and prohibitive favorite for the nomination, spent months beset by poor fundraising, insufficient organization and quiet but widespread frustrations from Democratic Party donors and power players.
O’Malley Dillon has a long resume in Democratic politics.
She was a deputy campaign manager for Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012. She was a top official in Clinton’s 2016 campaign and later was Clinton’s choice as co-chair of the Democratic Party’s special commission that overhauled the 2020 nominating process. She managed Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 presidential campaign. O’Rourke is among the many former candidates to endorse Biden.
Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”