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Top Biden Aides Will Move to 2024 Campaign From White House

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden is tapping two longtime White House aides for new leadership roles on his 2024 reelection campaign, as Democrats’ concerns over the direction of the operation intensify.

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The advisers, Mike Donilon and Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, have served as senior White House officials since Biden took office. Donilon has been at Biden’s side for decades and O’Malley Dillon managed his 2020 campaign. They are expected to start working out of Wilmington, Delaware, where Biden’s 2024 headquarters are located, in the coming weeks.

Until now, Biden has kept his closest advisers with him at the White House. Biden’s campaign has been run by Julie Chavez Rodriguez since it was launched in April 2023. She is retaining her title of campaign manager, campaign officials said. But the arrival of Donilon and O’Malley Dillon signals a ramp-up of the campaign

In a written statement, Biden praised Donilon for his years of service and O’Malley Dillon for her leadership and organizational prowess.

“I am grateful that in rejoining the campaign, they are stepping up one more time to ensure we finish the job for the American people,” Biden said.

While Chavez Rodriguez retains her title, Biden said O’Malley Dillon will “dedicate her immense talents to guiding our campaign to victory again in 2024.”

“We’re thrilled to have their leadership and strategic prowess focused full-time on sending them back to the White House for four more years,” Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement.

Donilon is expected to help supervise the campaign’s messaging and paid media strategy and O’Malley Dillon will work on organizing efforts as the campaign maps a path to victory through battleground states, according to the campaign officials.

The decision to move two key aides comes as Biden’s campaign has struggled to gain traction with the public and polls show him locked in a close race with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, whom he defeated in 2020. Trump is running three percentage points ahead of Biden nationally, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.

Democrats have urged Biden to accelerate his campaign efforts, given Trump’s rapid march toward the GOP presidential nomination. The former president took another step toward the general election by winning Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary over challenger Nikki Haley, who nonetheless indicated she would stay in the race.

Some Democratic operatives and donors have voiced concern about the structure of Biden’s operation, under which decisions have been made at the White House and then implemented by his Wilmington campaign.

The president’s campaign is seeking to transform the election from a referendum on his leadership into a choice between him and Trump by drawing sharp contrast between himself and the Republican.

While Biden’s polling has been lackluster, he isn’t worrying about another important factor: campaign funds. Biden ended 2023 with $117 million in cash on hand, a record for a Democratic candidate at this stage.

--With assistance from Justin Sink.

(Updates with Biden statement starting in fourth paragraph, additional context throughout)

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