Joe Biden has tapped veterans of past Tammy Baldwin and Tony Evers operations to lead his Wisconsin campaign.
They include Danielle Melfi. The Biden campaign says she’s the first female Wisconsin state director in 20 years and the second woman to lead a Dem presidential campaign in Wisconsin.
Team members so far:
*Scott Spector, senior adviser. Spector managed Baldwin’s successful 2018 reelection campaign after previously serving as executive director of Wisconsin Progress, a candidate recruitment and training organization.
*Melfi, who most recently served as the assistant secretary in the Department of Children and Families in the Evers administration. Prior to that, she was the director of Political Engagement for Baldwin’s 2018 campaign.
*Garren Randolph, deputy state director. He is now the political director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and will leave that role to join the Biden campaign. He was Evers’ political director and the campaign manager for Milwaukee County Exec David Crowley and Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas. Biden’s campaign says he’s the first African American to serve on the leadership team for a presidential campaign in Wisconsin.
*Shirley Ellis, strategist adviser. She has worked for U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, for nearly three decades, including overseeing her district staff and operations. She will join the campaign after finishing up her work as adviser to the Democratic National Convention Committee.
The announcement comes as Biden has faced questions for the slow pace of his hires in battleground states. The presumptive Dem nominee released his Arizona team on Friday.
Four years ago, Hillary Clinton announced her state director and communications director on May 5, 2016. Meanwhile, President Trump’s campaign announced in July 2019 its state director for Trump Victory, a joint operation of the Republican National Committee and Trump campaign.
Biden’s campaign said its state operation will be headquartered in Milwaukee, which it said was a first for a Dem presidential campaign. Dems have made the state’s largest city a focus of their turnout operations in 2020 after seeing voter participation there drop off significantly in 2016 compared to 2012.
Clinton received 43,616 fewer votes in Milwaukee County in 2016 than Barack Obama did in 2012 as she lost the state to Trump by 22,748. The former secretary of state also significantly underperformed traditional Dem numbers in rural areas of the state as well.