Saturday, 19 Jan 2019

While her DNA test still resonates, Senator Elizabeth Warren's political operation shows cracks

Senator Elizabeth Warren, already in the midst of fierce controversy over her Native heritage, is about to decide if she wants to join the presidency with a second problem: cracks in the closely related political operation that has guided throughout his career.

Mindy Myers, one of Warren's main political builders and one of his closest advisors, was to play a leading role in the senator's campaign. But she has had conversations with several rival campaigns and plans to meet soon with Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke, who is considering running for president.

Myers led Warren's campaign in the US Senate in 2012, then served as the Senate's chief of staff. She fully understands Warren's strengths and weaknesses and participated in the early discussions of the fledgling campaign.

Since Hillary Clinton's defeat in 2016, Warren has been one of the top potential candidates for the 2020 elections. She has built a huge strategic and decisive team to help the candidates in the 2018 elections, a move widely seen as a way to get the ball rolling. ensure both the victory of the Democrats and the creation of alliances in the main presidential states.

But she also stumbled, particularly in October, in an attempt to end her controversy over her claim to Native American ancestors by publishing the results of her DNA – a decision that infuriated tribal groups and other minorities concerned about her confidence in a family. measurement of ethnicity.

This episode sparked uncertainty about Warren's and his campaign staff's decision-making and anger and mockery as she prepared for a possible presidential effort.

Warren's relatives have recently warned that although she is still waiting to enter the race, she still has a chance to make up her mind.

"I do not have the slightest feeling that she has made the final decision to show up," said a Massachusetts Democrat close to her.

A sharp editorial published Thursday by Warren Globe, the local newspaper in the city of Warren, added to the pressure to rethink whether to participate in the race or not. The Globe's editorial page called Warren to run in 2016.

"Warren missed his moment in 2016 and there is enough to be skeptical about his potential candidacy in 2020," wrote the editorial board, noting that Republican governor Charlie Baker won more votes than in the campaign. November reelection.

A recent survey asking Massachusetts voters which candidate they would support in 2020 had Warren in third place with only 11%, even in his home country, competing campaigns read as a sign of weakness. She was followed by former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). O'Rourke only followed it by one percentage point.

"These are the alarm signals of the voters who know it best," writes the Globe in its editorial. "Although Warren is an effective and hard-hitting senator, with an important voice at the national level, she has become a divisive figure. The country now needs a unifying voice after the polarization of Donald Trump's policy. "

Myers, along with Warren's key collaborators, declined to comment on this article. Some of the Senator's relatives said that it was possible that she could still play a role in Warren's campaign, but probably not the position of campaign manager.

This role would probably be occupied by another longtime Warren assistant, Dan Geldon. Geldon, who studied in Warren's class at Harvard Law School, worked for her in various capacities and forged deep ties between the liberal groups that formed Warren's base of support. He was director of the Democratic National Committee's youth campaign in 2004 and led a campaign in the House for Representative John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) In 2008.

When Warren first appeared in the Senate and burst onto the national scene beating Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.), She hired Myers as Campaign Director and Geldon as Senior Advisor. .

After his victory, Myers became his chief of staff and Geldon, his deputy chief of staff. Myers left in December 2015 to work for the election of Democratic Senators, becoming the first woman to lead the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. But she remained in the central core of advisers on which Warren was leaning, and was supposed to return to his operation for the presidential campaign.

"Mindy has been great and I can not exaggerate the positive influence she has had over the past four years," said Warren when Myers left his office. "I am extremely grateful to Mindy for helping me win a Senate seat and work every day to help me use this seat to level the playing field for hard-working families."

Before working for Warren, Myers led Senator Richard Blumenthal's campaign in 2010 and Sheldon Whitehouse's campaign in Rhode Island in 2006. She never lost a race.

Warren is one of the few candidates whose presidential decision could have a significant impact on the rest of the world.

In July, New York magazine put it on the cover – at a campaign rally bearing the title "Front Runner?" – and she would participate in the race with one of the collection operations. of the most formidable funds. At the end of her re-election in the Senate, she still had $ 12.5 million left on her campaign return, which gave her an advantage in raising the kind of money she needed.

But one of the biggest hurdles she had to overcome was explaining her claim to Native American heritage, which Republican critics, including President Trump, used to assert that she was seeking an unfair advantage.

In October, she took an extraordinary step by publishing the results of a DNA test showing that Warren had a Native American ancestor six to ten generations ago. She sought to present it as an ultimate act of transparency and used it to appeal to Trump so that he would publish his tax returns.

This triggered both backsliding of minorities and Native Americans, as well as criticism that she had submitted to a tyrant – the exact opposite of her claims that she would be the better placed to confront Trump aggressively. Until now, however, she has not expressed any regret.

"I put it there. It's on the Internet that everyone can see, "she told the New York Times in a recent interview. "People can do what they want. I will continue to fight over the problems that brought me to Washington. "

Michael Scherer contributed to this report.