Cory Booker announces staff for early primaries

Press releases come from ‘Cory 2020” – an unusual choice to ID him by first name that I hope works out better for him than it worked out for Jeb! – is staffing up for the early primary/caucus states. Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He’ll be back in Iowa this week Friday & Saturday, in SC Sunday & Monday. The weekend of Presidents Day (Feb. 18) he’ll be in New Hampshire. Iowa Caucuses are 1 year from yesterday – Feb. 3, 2020. New Hampshire Primary is Feb. 11, 2020. South Carolina is Feb. 29, 2020. New Jersey is once again near dead-last: June 2, 2020, by which time the nomination will be largely gelled.

As expected, Booker Cory 2020 has hired people with a working history and knowledge of the state’s local players. In addition, I see several alums from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. And New Jersey Democrats may recognize two names here. Sean Downey, Senior Adviser for NH, is a former New Jersey state party exec director, and NH native. Iowa Communications Director is Tom Pietrykoski, Booker’s press secretary in his Newark office for 3-plus years, and also an alum of Rep. Bill Pascrell. Below, here is what the campaign said about the new hires.


Iowa State DirectorMike Frosolone: Frosolone brings a deep knowledge of Iowa’s political landscape to the Cory 2020 caucus effort. He served as the Caucus Director for the Iowa House Democrats in 2016 and 2018, recruiting the most state House candidates in thirty years and sending a record number of women to the Iowa House. Prior to that, Frosolone worked in Iowa’s Third Congressional District and began his Iowa career managing a successful state House race in Western Iowa in 2010.

Iowa Director of Operations and Special Projects – Haley Hager: Hager served as the 2018 State Director for NextGen Iowa. Her leadership helped boost turnout among young voters in Iowa, leading to Democratic victories at the state and federal level. Hager launched her career as an organizer for Wendy Davis and Battleground Texas in 2014. She previously worked in Iowa’s First District in 2016. 

Regional Organizing Director – Adam Henderson: In 2018, Henderson managed Kenan Judge’s successful bid for the Iowa House, flipping a critical seat blue. Prior to that, he organized for several different Iowa campaigns, including the 2016 Iowa Coordinated Campaign. 

Iowa Senior Advisor – Joe O’Hern: O’Hern has dedicated his career to electing Democrats in Iowa. Cory 2020 will be his fourth Iowa Caucus campaign. O’Hern began his career as a field organizer for Obama 2008, went on to work for Rep. Leonard Boswell, the Iowa Democratic Party, and served as Rep. David Loebsack’s campaign manager in 2016. In 2018, he crossed the Midwest to manage the Ohio Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign.

Iowa Communications Director – Tom Pietrykoski: Pietrykoski has served as Press Secretary in Senator Booker’s Newark, NJ, office for more than three years, helping to advance major legislative efforts on economic justice, criminal justice reform, and environmental justice.  Pietrykoski previously served as Communications Director for Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), including as spokesperson for two re-election cycles.

Deputy Iowa Communications Director & Press Secretary – Tess Seger: Seger most recently served as the Communications Director for the Iowa Democratic Party, where she helped the party flip Iowa’s First and Third Districts, pick up seats in the Iowa House, and capture the State Auditor’s office. Prior to coming to Iowa, Seger served as a communications advisor to progressive federal and state campaigns seeking to represent some of the most vulnerable communities in Southern California. 

Iowa Organizing Director – Sarah Sterner: Sterner is a leading voice in Midwest progressive organizing. She brings several cycles of experience in Iowa, including the 2014 Midterms and Hillary Clinton’s successful 2016 Iowa Caucus campaign. Sterner served as the Statewide Organizing Director for the Ohio Democratic Party’s 2018 coordinated campaign.


New Hampshire State Director – Erin Turmelle: A native of Stratham, New Hampshire, she was the Coordinated Campaign Director for the historic 2018 cycle where Democrats flipped the State House, State Senate, Executive Council and held both Congressional seats. Before that, she worked at the New Hampshire Democratic Party as Political Director. Erin worked for Hillary for America in the 2016 cycle. She worked as a Regional Field Director in New Hampshire in 2014 for Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s reelection campaign.

New Hampshire Senior Advisor – Sean Downey: Downey has most recently been a Partner with Hilltop Public Solutions New England. Downey has served as Political Director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, District Director for U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster from 2013-2014, Senior Advisor to Governor John Lynch in his 2010 campaign, and held senior roles for Chris Dodd for President, U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh and the historic 2006 NH Senate Democratic Caucus. Sean was also Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee in 2011.

New Hampshire Deputy State Director – Emma Tyler: Tyler served as the Organizing Director for the successful 2018 NHDP Coordinated Campaign. Previously, Emma was a Project Manager for Strategic Initiatives & International Affairs for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a Regional Organizing Director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and an organizer for Hillary Clinton in Manchester, New Hampshire.


South Carolina State Director – Christale Spain: Spain has worked for Rep. Jim Clyburn, and is the founding chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party Black Women’s Caucus. She is the former Executive Director of the South Carolina Democratic Party, and worked as South Carolina Political Outreach Director for Senator Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign. 

Senior Political Advisor for Cory 2020 Clay Middleton: Middleton worked as the South Carolina State Director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016, and later as a regional political director for Hillary for America in Florida. In addition to serving in several roles in the Obama administration and White House, Middleton worked as the South Carolina Political Director for Barack Obama’s 2008 general election presidential campaign. Middleton has also been a long-time district aide to Congressman Jim Clyburn. 

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