Clinton staffs up press, state operations

Published 7:03 PM EDT, Tue March 17, 2015
Washington CNN —  

Hillary Clinton’s non-campaign campaign team got a bit bigger on Tuesday when her aides tapped a duo of Democratic operatives to fill key campaign roles.

Brian Fallon will work as lead press secretary to the all-but-announced campaign, according to multiple Democrats with knowledge of the decision. Fallon currently serves as the spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder and previously filled the same role for New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

READ: Hillary Clinton builds a press team

Fallon’s name had long been circulated as an option for the Clinton campaign. According to sources, he will handle the Clinton’s rapid response operation, among other responsibilities.

Clinton, who is expected to announce her presidential run next month, hired a handful of more junior press staff last week.

At the same time, a Democratic source told CNN Tuesday Clinton plans to tap Clay Middleton, a longtime South Carolina operative, as the head of her Palmetto State operation. The Washington Post was first to report Middleton’s expected hiring.

Middleton currently works as a senior adviser at the Energy Department, but previously worked for South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, an Democratic icon in the state. Middleton is a member of the South Carolina Army National Guard and attended the The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, South Carolina.

“Clay will be a great hire that will provide the energy and grassroots ability necessary to build hope and galvanize those same voters from 2008,” said Bakari Sellers, a Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Along with Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina is seen as a critical state to the presidential process and markets itself as the “First in the South” primary. Buoyed by strong African-American turnout in 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama nearly swept the state, winning 55.4% to Clinton’s 26.5%.