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Saturday December 14th, 2019 6:59PM

2020 candidate Buttigieg makes hires in Iowa, New Hampshire

By The Associated Press
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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has hired four staffers in Iowa and three in New Hampshire as he works to build on the momentum his campaign has seen in recent weeks.

None of the four Iowa hires has top-level experience on a presidential, federal or statewide campaign in the state, the result of Buttigieg's late start in the 2020 campaign and the huge Democratic primary field. Much of the top talent in Iowa has already been snapped up by other campaigns, leaving late entries like Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, with a smaller pool of staffing options from which to choose.

But the new hires fill a much-needed role on the campaign, as Buttigieg's lack of staff on the ground in key early states raised questions about his ability to harness the growing support he's seen over the past month.

Brendan McPhillips, Buttigieg's new Iowa state director, previously worked as campaign manager for Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, who pulled out a surprise win in the Democratic primary there but fell short in the general election. He also worked as political director on Buttigieg's bid for Democratic National Committee chairman.

Ben Halle, Buttigieg's new Iowa communications director, last served as press secretary for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Sydney Throop, Buttigieg's new Iowa outreach coordinator, worked as the Iowa regional organizer for a political action committee with ties to former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who was considering a presidential bid but opted against it.

Sara Goldstein was named regional organizing director in Iowa for the Buttigieg campaign. She worked in 2018 as a regional field organizer for the Iowa Democratic Party, which included work organizing for the gubernatorial and down-ballot races in the state.

Buttigieg also announced three New Hampshire hires on Monday — two of whom have previous experience in New Hampshire politics.

His state director, Michael Ceraso, was Sen. Bernie Sanders' deputy New Hampshire state director for the 2016 presidential election, and he's brought on New Hampshire state Rep. Cole Riel as his state outreach coordinator. Kevin Donohoe, who previously served as a senior adviser and spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party, will be Buttigieg's New Hampshire communications director.

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