Hillary Clinton’s campaign is taking the reins of the Democratic National Committee, installing a new top official on Thursday to oversee the party’s day-to-day operations through the general election.
Brandon Davis, national political director for the Service Employees International Union, will become the general election chief of staff for the Democratic Party. His selection formalizes the coordination of the Clinton campaign and the committee, a stark contrast to Donald Trump who is currently at odds with his party.
Robby Mook, the Clinton campaign manager, arrived Thursday morning at Democratic headquarters on Capitol Hill to introduce Davis to the party’s staff.
“We have a lot of work to do over the next five months to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president,” Mook said as he introduced Davis, according to a person in the room. “With so much at stake in this election, we could not ask for a better partner in that mission than the team here.”
The leadership of the Democratic National Committee, particularly Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has come under fire throughout the presidential primary fight. Bernie Sanders has called for new leaders at the party, a point he raised during his private meeting earlier this week with Clinton.
Wasserman Schultz welcomed Mook and Davis to party headquarters on Thursday morning. While she will remain in her position as the party’s chairwoman, at least through the convention next month in Philadelphia, her role diminishes with the Clinton campaign’s takeover of the committee.
The appointment of Davis is intended to allay some of the concerns about party leadership. It is a standard transition, as Clinton becomes the presumptive Democratic nominee.
“This is in fact what happens,” Howard Dean, former Democratic Party chairman, told CNN. “Debbie will still have the title, but somebody else will be the effective operator of the DNC. It’s Hillary’s pick.”
In an interview on Thursday, Dean recalled how he transitioned immediately to simply raising money and campaigning for Barack Obama in 2008 after Paul Tewes, a trusted Obama aide, stepped in to lead the committee.
“We basically just turned it over to him and I left the building to him. He ran the DNC,” Dean said. “It was very clear I wasn’t going to be running the DNC as soon as there was the a nominee.”
Davis, 38, oversees the political efforts at one of the country’s largest labor unions. He has also worked as political director to Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
He will play a similar role that Tewes assumed in 2008 when Barack Obama effectively took over the committee after his long primary fight with Clinton.
Sanders is still calling for major reforms inside the Democratic National Committee and changes to party rules in the presidential nominating process.
Davis will manage the national and state general election operations to ensure a unified strategy with the Clinton campaign headquarters in Brooklyn.
Jen O’Malley Dillon, a former deputy campaign manager to Obama in 2012, will continue her role planning for the general election as senior adviser to the DNC.
Amy Dacey remains the chief executive officer of the DNC. She is close to the Clinton organization and her role is expected to expand following the Democratic convention.