Sanders Picks Longtime Aides to Run Presidential Campaign | Off Message

Sanders Picks Longtime Aides to Run Presidential Campaign


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Phil Fiermonte introduces Sen. Bernie Sanders at a Labor Day rally last September. - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Phil Fiermonte introduces Sen. Bernie Sanders at a Labor Day rally last September.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will rely on two longtime aides with Vermont ties to run his presidential campaign, he announced Friday.

Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ former chief of staff, will serve as his campaign manager. Phil Fiermonte, the senator's state director and top political aide, will act as field director.

Sanders' staffing announcement comes weeks after he announced his plan to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. He has scheduled a May 26 campaign kickoff in Burlington.

Weaver grew up in St. Albans and first worked for Sanders as a 20-year-old volunteer on his 1986 campaign for governor. The Georgetown Law School graduate worked his way up the ranks to serve as Sanders' Senate chief of staff. In recent years, he has run Victory Comics in Falls Church, Virginia.

Fiermonte, a Derby native and former Burlington City Council member, has worked for Sanders for 16 years, most recently running his state office and managing his 2012 reelection campaign.

Weaver and Fiermonte will work with Tad Devine, a Democratic consultant based in Rhode Island who has worked on the presidential campaigns of Al Gore, John Kerry and Michael Dukakis. Devine worked with Sanders on his 1996 congressional campaign and his 2006 Senate race.

“We are assembling a talented staff with years of experience in grassroots movements and building the coalitions that will be critical to our success," Sanders said in a written statement. "As an elected official in Vermont I have held hundreds of town meetings and have knocked on thousands of doors. That's the kind of people-oriented campaign I enjoy and that's the kind of campaign I will be running for president. And that's what Jeff and Phil know how to do very well."

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