In a sign that Hillary Clinton has fully engaged in the general election, the Democratic National Committee has brought on a union official who will play a key role in coordinating campaign activities with her campaign ahead of November.
Brandon Davis, the former national political director of the Service Employees International Union, will be appointed to the position of general election chief of staff at the DNC as well as reporting to Clinton’s campaign. Four people familiar with the situation confirmed Davis’ appointment to TIME, first reported by CNN.
“We are grateful for the incredible work that our National Political Director Brandon Davis has done to drive this program in the primary season and know that the DNC team will benefit greatly from his talent as he joins their senior general election team,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.
Davis’ appointment marks the end of a long and arduous Democratic primary. And it reflects just how ready Clinton and the Democratic Party are to move on and begin planning an organized campaign against Trump—even as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has so far refused to concede the race.
The appointment comes at a delicate time for the Clinton campaign. Democrats are preparing for a general election campaign against Trump, and they are at the same time seeking to satisfy Sanders and his supporters, who are anxious for concessions from Clinton and the Democratic Party.
While the Clinton campaign reaches out to Sanders’ supporters, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook has directed the DNC temporarily not to rebrand its website and other external materials to focus on Clinton, a Democratic official said.
Davis’ role directing the SEIU’s political activities since 2010 may have helped him accrue important credentials with Sanders’ allies. He has played a part in the union’s rise to political prominence along with its the so-called “Fight for $15,” the push for a $15 minimum wage. He also was on the national advisory board of the Working Families Party, which endorsed Sanders before the April New York primary.
As political director at the SEIU, he was tasked with voter mobilization and outreach, and overseeing the union’s $65 million political budget. Davis also worked as political director for Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
Still, Davis is an unusual choice: unlike his predecessors, he has little direct experience in recent intra-party politics and does not have the close allies in the Democratic Party that many insiders have.
The Clinton campaign confirmed Davis’ appointment.
Mook met with the DNC staff in Washington, D.C., on Thursday in preparation for the general election as the party and Clinton’s campaign being to make key decisions, such as where to allocate money and in which states they will focus their campaigning. Mook introduced Davis to the DNC staff.
Davis will report to Mook and DNC chair and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Former Obama deputy campaign manager in 2012 Jen O’Malley Dillon will continue planning for the general election in a role advising the DNC. Amy Dacey, the chief executive officer of the DNC, also formerly held a top position at SEIU; her role is expected to expand as the general election gets underway, according to a Democratic official.
Sanders has demanded that Wasserman Schultz leave her position leading the DNC; it is unclear whether he will see the appointment of a union official as a concession.
SEIU endorsed Clinton in November. But on its signature $15-minimum wage fight, it is more in line with Sanders than Clinton, who has argued in favor of a $12 minimum wage.
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