Pete Buttigieg makes key 2020 hire

By Daniel Strauss

South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign has brought on a new senior adviser to connect with Democratic Party leadership and help lead the campaign’s African American support.

The new senior adviser, Brandon Neal, has served as the Democratic National Committee’s national political director and has previously done stints working for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Democratic Governors Association, Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Neal’s portfolio will cover strategy across the campaign.

Neal is the latest in a string of senior-level hires the Buttigieg campaign has made. It recently added veteran Democratic campaign manager Michael Halle as senior strategist and Jess O’Connell, formerly DNC chief executive officer, as a senior adviser.

The Buttigieg campaign has increased its efforts to appeal to African American voters in response to criticism that the mayor has not paid enough attention to people of color in his hometown. Buttigieg has also struggled to register in polls in South Carolina, which has a large African American electorate.