Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday is set to name veteran Democratic operative Jen O’Malley Dillon as his campaign manager, multiple people familiar with the plans tell CBS News.
O’Malley Dillon previously ran Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign. She will take over for Anita Dunn, another veteran Democratic operative who’s been serving as de facto leader for several weeks amid the decline of the campaign’s fortunes after the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, and his comeback since the South Carolina primary.
“This is a conversation that has been happening over the course of weeks and was confirmed today it will be announced. And I think everyone who is either family or in senior-level positions in the campaign understands that it’s happening,” one person familiar with the moves said.
The Biden campaign didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
O’Malley Dillon was deputy campaign manager for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and served as executive director of the Democratic National Committee, responsible for day-to-day operations of the party apparatus. She’s also a veteran of multiple mayoral, congressional, Senate and presidential elections.
“This is a very positive step, to appoint somebody with the broad perspectives that she brings of working within the party and in presidential election cycles,” the person added. “The campaign needs a decisionmaker — a single point of management. It didn’t have one. It was needed.”
Other senior aides to Biden are expected to remain in top roles, including Greg Schultz, who had been managing the campaign; Kate Bedingfield, a deputy campaign manager focused on communications; Steve Ricchetti, a longtime consigliere for the former vice president; and his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, who’s been a top aide to all of his political campaigns.
O’Malley Dillon’s hiring comes as Biden is set to speak Thursday from his home base of Wilmington, Delaware, about the coronavirus outbreak and as his team prepares to shift its focus to a general election matchup as it maintains a hefty lead in the delegate race over Sen. Bernie Sanders.
A Biden campaign memo late Wednesday said that it expects to win at least 400 more delegates in primaries next Tuesday in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio and maintain a lead over Sanders of at least 150 delegates.