Sen. Bernie Sanders’ longtime friend and campaign manager for his 2016 presidential run, Jeff Weaver, won’t take on that position again if the Vermont senator runs again in 2020.
The information, which was initially reported by CNN, was corroborated by a person with knowledge of Sanders’ campaign strategy.
Weaver’s departure is in part due to the Sanders campaign realizing that its staff needs to be more diverse than it was in 2016 in preparation for a potential 2020 run, the source added.
Weaver has played a crucial role in the senator’s life for decades. She oversaw Sanders’ 2016 campaign as it evolved from a protest campaign that was written off to a significant player in national politics. In 1986, when he was 20 years old and running unsuccessfully for governor, he drove around Burlington’s mayor as a volunteer for Sanders. Weaver was Sanders’ legislative assistant before becoming his chief of staff after he later gained a seat in the U.S. House. He also contributed to Sanders’ campaigns for the Senate and the House.
Tweets from progressive activists expressed their approval of the choice to reassign Weaver to a different position. Weaver has long been a contentious figure in the Sanders movement; in 2016, when he was appointed president of the Sanders-founded charity Our Revolution, several other employees left. Weaver is anticipated to continue working with Sanders’ team as a senior adviser.
According to the individual familiar with Sanders’ campaign, the decision that Weaver would return to a different role was decided months ago, well before recent accusations of alleged sexual harassment and wage inequity on Sanders’ 2016 team.
Numerous 2016 campaign employees requested a meeting with the senator and top administrators, including Weaver, last month, according to POLITICO. They wanted to “discuss the issue of sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign, to plan to mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle.”
A request for comment from Weaver did not receive a prompt response.
According to the individual familiar with Sanders’ campaign, Weaver’s position in a future campaign was planned with family issues in mind.
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