Warren's Presidential Campaign Hires Sanders' 2016 Iowa Caucus Director

Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Elizabeth Warren / Getty Images
January 2, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has picked up several seasoned Democratic operatives to lead her presidential campaign in Iowa ahead of her visit this weekend, including one who worked for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in 2016.

Brendan Summers served as Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I., Vt.) Iowa caucus director in 2016 and has joined the Warren team. Summers will help out with Iowa and national campaign efforts. Sanders nearly defeated Hillary Clinton in Iowa in 2016 in what would have been a titanic upset.

One source told CNN that he has been helping plan her visit to Iowa this weekend, including stops in Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Storm Lake and Des Moines:

By hiring Summers, who is held in high regard by Sanders allies, Warren is sending a powerful early message to progressive activists and political strategists closely watching how the Democratic field takes shape. Warren's path to the nomination will depend in large part on who else -- from the party's progressive bloc, in particular -- decides to jump in the race and the position Warren stakes out for herself in that crowded field.

Representatives from Sanders' camp didn't immediately comment on the hire.
In 2016, Clinton defeated Sanders in the Iowa caucus only by a slim margin. Obama's victory there in 2008 -- even as he trailed in national polling -- set him on the path to a historic nomination.

Pete D'Alessandro, Sanders' 2016 Iowa campaign coordinator, told CNN about Summers, "He was my first hire. Anyone who has him on his team has a systemic advantage when it comes to caucuses."

Emily Parcell and Janice Rottenberg, who both have experience on presidential campaigns in Iowa, recently signed on to Warren's campaign, two sources confirmed to CNN. Parcell served as then-Sen. Barack Obama's (D., Ill.) Iowa political director in the 2008 caucus and later served as Hillary Clinton's senior adviser in the 2016 Iowa caucus. Rottenberg also worked on behalf of Clinton for the 2016 Iowa caucus and ran the Iowa Democratic Party's campaign during the 2018 midterms, CNN reports.

Former Obama National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor praised Parcell as a "huge, huge get for Warren" and "one of the best political staffers" with whom he has worked.

Warren has also picked up Kane Miller, the campaign manager for Abby Finkenauer, who defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Rod Blum (Iowa) in November.

"I’ve spent my career getting to the bottom of why America’s promise works for some families, but others, who work just as hard, slip through the cracks into disaster," Warren said in her campaign video. "And what I’ve found is terrifying: these aren’t cracks families are falling into, they’re traps. America’s middle class is under attack."