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O’Rourke bolsters senior staff with five hires


Beto O'Rourke

Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke continues to build out his campaign operation after entering the race with an unusually skeletal staff. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Beto O’Rourke is expanding his national staff despite a weak fundraising quarter, adding a number of senior hires.

Nick Rathod, a Democratic operative who served as President Barack Obama’s liaison to state officials, has been hired as a senior national political adviser, a campaign spokesperson confirmed to POLITICO on Friday.

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Adnan Mohamed, who was deputy national political director for Rep. Seth Moulton’s presidential campaign, has been named national political director. Anna Korman, who worked with O’Rourke’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, at Precision Strategies, will be O’Rourke’s national data director. And Morgan Hill, who was research director on Richard Cordray’s gubernatorial campaign in Ohio last year, will be national research director.

Lauren Hitt, who previously was communications director for former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s presidential campaign, has been hired as O’Rourke’s national director of rapid response.

Hitt’s departure from Hickenlooper’s campaign follows the earlier defection of Hickenlooper’s former national finance director, Dan Sorenson, who also went to O’Rourke’s campaign.

The five hires come as O’Rourke continues to build out his presidential campaign operation, several months after entering the race with an unusually skeletal staff.

Despite high expectations when he entered the race, the former Texas congressman has struggled to regain a foothold in the contest. Earlier this week, he reported raising about $3.6 million from April through June, less than half the $9.4 million he raised in the first quarter.

He is polling at 3 percent nationally in the latest Morning Consult poll.

Addressing reporters at the opening of a field office in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, earlier this week, O’Rourke said he was often “counted down and out” during his near-miss Texas Senate run last year.

Of his presidential campaign, he said, “I think that it’s a really small minority of Americans who’ve made up their mind. It may be a relatively small minority who are paying close attention. There are more than 200 days left before you have the first caucuses in Iowa, the first primary in New Hampshire. So, a lot of time to meet and get in front of a lot of people.”

In a prepared statement Friday, O’Malley Dillon said the campaign was continuing to “ramp up” and that the staff additions will “allow us to not only bolster our efforts of connecting with voters on the ground, but will make sure we’re capitalizing on each and every opportunity to make sure everyone, everywhere, knows Beto’s record of bringing people in and his positive vision for the future.”

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