Sean Downey, veteran of Chris Dodd’s presidential campaign, Evan Bayh’s All-America PAC, and Joe Lieberman’s Senate office, has been named the new Executive Director for the NJDSC. He starts January 3, 2011. The state Dems have been without a captain since Rob Angelo went to take his “dream job” as Northeast regional representative of US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, and that was 3 months ago.
Downey will be our guest on Blue Jersey Radio tonight at 7:30pm. What should Jeff and Jay ask him?
DSC Chair John Wisniewski:
I am thrilled to welcome Sean Downey as the new Executive Director for the Democratic State Committee. He brings experience as a leader, strong fundraiser, excellent organizer and talented communicator who has been involved with campaigns and government on the Federal, State and Local levels.
It’s interesting that Wisniewski hired from out of state, although Downey did grow up in Long Valley. In this state, we can’t seem to prevent the North Jersey and South Jersey Democrats from competing parochial interests, and the busload of political corruption arrests helpfully arranged by Chris Christie just before his governor’s election launch (plus the fact the scoundrels appear mostly to have been guilty) leaves a stain on the Democrats that is still a defining one. It’s completely arguable that any corruption infecting NJ Democrats is easily matched in Republicans. But we’re talking about perception, and that, plus the fact New Jerseyans think what they’re seeing every day is a media-savvy feature story of a governor mow down Democrats who haven’t figured out how to coordinate yet … well, you can understand why the Democrats might want to bring in somebody who doesn’t seem to owe anybody here anything, a fresh breeze.
The DSC news release touts the desire to “build a more grassroots focused organization”. That’s a term a lot of us are used to seeing claimed by infrastructural Democrats, but we don’t always see it transacted. We’d like to see it transacted, and it would be good to see a 21-County Strategy here; to really run one we need to de-emphasize the centralized power county chairs have, and strengthen the party from the ground up. In the age of Obama, these are goals the national Dems don’t appear to have. But it would be great to see that happen in New Jersey first. New Jersey needs it.
A little more on Downey’s background after the jump. Or you can listen in Wednesday when he’s our guest at Blue Jersey Radio, and maybe even call in and talk to him yourself. We’re so glad he’s making time for this interview.
Most recently, Sean Downey was Senior Political and Field advisor for New Hampshire governor John Lynch’s 3rd re-election. Earlier he was Northeast Political Director for Evan Bayh’s All America PAC, and NH Political Director when Chris Dodd ran for president in 2008. In 2006, he was raising money, as Finance Director for the NH Senate Democratic Caucus, winning back a historic Democratic majority there. He was also Deputy Scheduler for Joe Lieberman.
It’s not too early to start thinking what priorities for the way the state Party is run you might like to convey to the new ED. He’ll get a lot of input, and some of it should come from here. It’s fantastic that he’ll be joining us at Blue Jersey Radio day after tomorrow, even before he gets the feel of his new gig. We wish him all the luck in the state.