By SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The man who helped engineer Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s successful delegate strategy is joining long-shot Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s campaign.
Jeff Berman, who had been the delegate strategist for Beto O’Rourke’s aborted 2020 candidacy, said Friday that he’s joining the campaign of billionaire investor and activist Steyer, who hasn’t exceeded 5% in recent major national polls. Berman is credited with playing a major role in Obama’s 2008 delegate hunt and for Clinton’s eight years later.
“As far as staffing decisions go, that’s a pretty big get. I find that surprising,” said Seth Masket, director of the Center of American Politics at the University of Denver who is writing a book on the fight for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Berman said he brings to the campaign his experience of “having been down the road all the way through the process multiple times, being able to see the long haul and how the delegates accumulate over time and also respecting the momentum that needs to be gained in the early voting process.”
Steyer campaign manager Heather Hargreaves called Berman “an instrumental force in presidential delegate strategy.” She said, “Our campaign is very excited and fortunate to have him join our team.”
Berman said Steyer’s money gives him “a unique path to the nomination.” His strategy is to establish a foothold in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina and then rake in the delegates in March, especially on Super Tuesday, Berman said.
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