White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is reorganizing his campaign, deploying key staff from the Chicago headquarters to Feb. 5 primary states while bolstering the ranks of his top leadership.
The move, Obama advisers told the Sun-Times, has been long planned and is not a reaction to the lead chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has in national and early state polls.
Obama is pushing to have organizations in place in the more than 20 states holding a primary or caucus vote on Feb. 5, a second wave after the crucial first January votes in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
As the campaign moves towards the final months, the very top tier has been reinforced with Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett, the CEO of Habitat Co. and Steve Hildebrand, now the deputy campaign manager.
Hildebrand had been initially focusing on Iowa and the other early states. He now has a desk in the headquarters as he oversees the campaign field and political operations expanding across the nation.
“We’re the smartest political people in America because we are actually organizing in the states instead of sitting in the headquarters,” Hildebrand said. “This is what a campaign does. You organize where the votes are. This has always been the plan.”
On Wednesday, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe announced that Eureka Gilkey, who served as Deputy Political Director for the campaign, will be the Georgia State Director. On Tuesday, the campaign reassigned policy chief Mark Alexander to the job of New Jersey State director. Gilkey and Alexander are being sent to states with Feb. 5 votes.
Jon Carson moves from Illinois State Director to voter contact director for the Feb. 5 states. Nate Tamarin, who was Carson’s deputy, becomes the Illinois State Director. Cook County Board Member Forrest Claypool is also taking on a role in the campaign, closely working with Obama senior strategist David Axelrod.