Biden's manager becomes first woman to manage a winning Democratic campaign

‘She is a master,’ says former colleague Ben LaBolt

James Crump@thejamescrump
Saturday 07 November 2020 20:02
Joe Biden: 'We have rebuilt the blue wall'
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President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign manager has become the first woman to manage a winning Democratic presidential campaign.

Jen O’Malley Dillon, 44, is also the second woman to have managed a winning presidential campaign, after Kellyanne Conway served in that role for the final three months of Republican candidate Donald Trump’s successful run in 2016.

On Saturday morning, Mr Biden was declared the winner in Pennsylvania, which pushed him over the 270 electoral college votes needed for the presidency. He will be inaugurated on 20 January in Washington, DC.

Ms Dillon served as the campaign manager for Beto O’Rourke’s unsuccessful 2020 presidential campaign, but took over the position for Mr Biden from Greg Schultz and Anita Dunn in April 2020. Mr Schultz and Ms Dunn stayed on as senior advisers.

Read more: Joe Biden wins the 2020 US election - follow live updates

The 44-year-old’s first experience in presidential campaigns was in 2000, when she worked as a field organiser for Al Gore, before she was promoted to a regional field director by the end of his unsuccessful run.

She then worked on John Edwards’ 2004 and 2008 unsuccessful campaigns, before she served as the deputy campaign manager for former President Barack Obama’s successful reelection campaign in 2012.

Ms Dillon was also appointed the chair of the Democratic National Committee's Unity Reform Commission in 2016.

Vanity Fair reported that Ms Dillon focused a large portion of Mr Biden’s campaign on the “blue wall” states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin that Mr Trump narrowly won in 2016. Mr Biden ended up winning all three states, giving him a crucial 46 electoral college votes.

Mr Biden visited Pennsylvania 13 times during the campaign, which was three more times than any other state, and a Biden insider told Vanity Fair: “That’s what Jen does: see the main opening and make sure every detail is in place to follow through.”

Ben LaBolt, who was a colleague of Ms Dillon’s while she worked for Mr Obama, added that she is a “master”.

“Jen is a brilliant strategist who knows the battleground states like the back of her hands, and who knows the Democratic Party mechanisms and infrastructure down to what type of data infrastructure needs to be built to reach persuadable voters,” he said.

Mr LaBolt added: “She is a master of both the brass tacks of traditional campaigning and the modern, digital ways of campaigning.”

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