John Delaney has selected a well-known national political operative with deep Iowa ties to lead his campaign. John Davis, who had been advising Delaney in his presidential run, will now serve as national campaign manager, the campaign told Starting Line.
The campaign has also hired AL Media of Chicago, a media firm that produced Stacey Abrams’ ads in last year’s Georgia governor’s race. Delaney just went back up on TV in Iowa last week after running ads early on in last year’s midterms.
And Delaney is adding Harrison Hickman of Hickman Analytics, Inc. as his pollster. Hickman has several decades worth of experience on major Democratic campaigns, including Al Gore and Bob Kerrey’s races.
It all adds to an extensive national and early state operation for Delaney.
While Delaney sits around the 1% mark in most early state polls, the former Maryland congressman has something his fellow long-shot candidates don’t have: a large campaign operation and tons of early state visits.
After investing about $4.5 million of his own money into his campaign, Delaney has been able to build up a serious early state effort. He has 25 staffers in Iowa, along with eight field offices. Another six staff members are operating in New Hampshire. Delaney himself has made over two dozen trips out to Iowa, racking up 261 individual stops, and has landed the endorsements of several rural county party chairs and key state activists.
Delaney also scooped up a significant amount of Iowa staffing talent early on – it certainly helped that he launched his campaign all the way back in July of 2017. That’s very important for the complicated organizing work that goes into any serious Iowa Caucus effort. Other lesser-known contenders can certainly get by in Iowa with a skeleton staff and lots of retail politicking, but a real ground game is needed to capitalize on any breakout moments or improving poll numbers.
And Delaney has also been increasingly deliberate about positioning himself as a moderate-leaning candidate in the race. While he had the field essentially all to himself for the better part of a year, Delaney now faces an ever-growing field with many well-known senators with enthusiastic bases of support. Most of those Democrats have also quickly tacked to the left in their campaigns, so Delaney may find a way to lock down a lane of his own in the center.
The Delaney campaign provided the following list of their full, newly-announced national and early state team:
John Davis – Campaign Manager
Xan Fishman – Deputy Campaign Manager
Tracey Friedlander – Deputy Campaign Manager
Will McDonald – Communications Director
Michael Hopkins – National Press Secretary
Ann Rakestraw – Communications Strategist
Samantha Price – Policy Director
Ahmed Elsayed – Deputy Press Secretary
Monica Biddix – Iowa State Director
Chris MacKenzie – New Hampshire State Director
Ann Liston and Eric Adelstein – Media Consultants
Andy Meyer – Digital Consultant
Harrison Hickman – Pollster
Bergmann Zwerdling Direct
Achim Bergman, Direct Mail Consultant
Alex Zwerdling, Direct Mail Consultant
Pacific Campaign House
Cheryl Hori, Digital Consultant
by Pat Rynard