The departing Executive Director of the Vermont Democratic Party, Julia Barnes, has landed a new job. She’ll be the New Hampshire state director for the Bernie Sanders campaign.
It’s arguably one of the most important positions in the Sanders effort; the polls show him a strong second behind Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire*, and a strong showing in New Hampshire will be crucial for Bernie’s campaign going forward into the meat of the primary season.
*Three recent NH polls show Clinton with roughly a 10-point lead. The fourth gives her a 31-point edge; that’d seem to be an outlier.
The problem is, Bernie has already attracted his base; he’ll be hard pressed to build on it. Or to avoid the early-achiever trap that’s derailed so many candidates. Barnes has a heck of a job to do; if Bernie runs strong in New Hampshire, she will have accomplished something quite significant.
She e-mailed me some thoughts on taking the job:
Sen. Sanders is talking about the things that I think are most important to the presidential discussion, namely having an honest conversation about the dissolution of the middle class and the income inequality that makes it hard for many Americans to get ahead. Not even get ahead, but stay afloat. There is an organic desire to see that happen and that is why Sen. Sanders is resonating with so many voters. I am excited to help see that message reach voters in New Hampshire and build the organization needed to help him win the primary there. Given the circus that is happening on the Republican side, it is going to be really rewarding to engage in a substantial conversation with voters through good grassroots organizing techniques.
I also asked her about the fact that most of the top Vermont Democrats — the people she’s worked with and for at the VDP — have gone with Hillary Clinton.
At the end of the day, elected officials are also individual voters and they, like the voters across the country, are entitled to make their decision. Sen. Sanders has been a longtime friend of Vermont Democrats and I know many of them will be supporting his bid.
Good luck, Julia. I think Bernie made a good hire.