The Biden campaign hired a former spokesperson for progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to its communications team, as it seeks to beef up its national staff ahead of the election.
Lauren Hitt, the now-former communications director for Ocasio-Cortez, confirmed the move on Saturday, writing on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: “Pretty excited to be joining this very talented team and incredibly important fight.”
Hitt’s addition to the team comes along with the hire of Andy Crystal, the former lead research producer for “The Problem with Jon Stewart” and “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.” He will be joining the reelection campaign as a research director, according to his profile on X.
Politico was the first to report on the hires.
John Kerry is also reportedly planning to assist the president’s reelection bid. Multiple media outlets on Saturday reported Kerry is expected to step down as the U.S. special climate envoy to help Biden’s reelection campaign. A source close to the administration told Axios, which first reported the news, that Kerry believes Biden’s reelection is the “single biggest” difference that will help climate progress in the U.S. and globally.
Kerry, 80, previously served as secretary of State, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004. He has played a large role in renewing climate negotiations between the U.S. and China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters.
The bulking up of the campaign team comes amid scrutiny from several prominent Democrats who are criticizing the team’s strategy and structure. These political figures, including former President Obama, expressed concerns over the structure of the team in which too few staff are empowered to make decisions without first clearing them with the White House, The Washington Post reported earlier this month.
The campaign argued it is building its staff up at the right time. A source close to the campaign defended the timing to The Hill earlier this month, stating, “Everyone I’ve spoken to on the campaign is working diligently on broadening the campaign to win. They’re staffing up at all levels including at the leadership level, which is totally appropriate at this point.”
Biden in recent weeks has faced a series of polls showing him either in a dead heat or close behind former President Trump, who has maintained a wide lead in GOP primary polls. The aggregation of polls from the Decision Desk HQ and The Hill shows Trump with a 1.1 percentage point lead over Biden.
Trump’s lead over Biden could be narrowing in several key swing states — Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to a recent poll from Redfield & Wilton Strategies, in partnership with The Telegraph.
The Hill reached out to the Biden campaign for comment.