News & Politics

These Are the Most Influential Operatives on the Biden Campaign

Who’s who on Team Biden—and who might be who in the event the White House changes hands

Photograph by Adam Schultz/Biden for President. All other photographs courtesy of Biden for President.

Jen O’Malley Dillon

Campaign manager

The longtime operative cofounded a political-consulting firm, Precision Strategies, with two other Obama alums after playing key roles in both of the President’s campaigns. She started off the 2020 election cycle managing Beto O’Rourke’s White House bid.

Dana Remus

General counsel

One of two lawyers heading a sprawling legal operation inside the campaign to ensure that votes are counted correctly, she was formerly the lawyer for Barack Obama’s foundation and post-presidency office, a White House lawyer under Obama, and a law professor.

Senior Advisers

The Biden inner circle contains loyalists with ties that go back decades: Chief strategist Mike Donilon, a veteran Democratic operative, and Ron Klain, the top lawyer for venture-capital firm Revolution who was Biden’s first chief of staff as VP, have been at Biden’s side since the 1980s. Bruce Reed, his second chief of staff as VP, was President Clinton’s chief domestic-policy adviser. Campaign chairman Steve Ricchetti, a former lobbyist, was Biden’s third chief of staff as VP and a longtime adviser. Tony Blinken, a former Senate foreign-relations staffer and Biden’s national-security adviser as VP, is the go-to aide on foreign policy and has been cited as a possible Secretary of State. More of a newcomer to the inner circle, by comparison, yet key to the operation is strategist Anita Dunn, a partner at SKDKnickerbocker who acted as the de facto campaign manager for a time last winter. Under Obama, she ran White House communications and advised both the President’s campaigns.

Chief strategist Mike DonilonChief strategist Mike Donilon
Bruce ReedBruce Reed
Tony BlinkenTony Blinken
Ron KlainRon Klain
Campaign chairman Steve Ricchetti Campaign chairman Steve Ricchetti
Anita DunnAnita Dunn

Symone Sanders

Senior adviser

The former commentator for CNN was Bernie Sanders’s press secretary during the 2016 election cycle.

Jake Sullivan

Senior adviser

The campaign’s senior policy adviser was VP Biden’s national-security adviser after serving as a top aide to Hillary Clinton at State.

Cristóbal Alex

Senior adviser

He previously headed the Latino Victory Fund, an influential Hispanic political organization.

Ashley Etienne

Senior adviser

The campaign’s strategic-planning adviser used to be Nancy Pelosi’s top spokesperson.

Bob Bauer

Senior adviser

A veteran Democratic campaign lawyer, Bauer (who’s married to Biden campaign adviser Anita Dunn) is overseeing the election-protection operation with Dana Remus.

Annie Tomasini

Traveling chief of staff

Tight with the Biden family, she has worked in various press roles for Joe Biden going back to his days in the Senate.

Anthony Bernal

Deputy campaign manager

The chief of staff to Jill Biden is close with the Bidens, having worked with Jill for more than a decade.

Karine Jean-Pierre

Chief of staff to Kamala Harris

She was regional political director at the Obama White House during term one and later helped run Martin O’Malley’s 2016 presidential bid.

Kate Bedingfield

Communications director/deputy campaign manager

Biden’s top spokesperson, another Obama-administration alum, has flacked for the Motion Picture Association, Monumental Sports, and VP Biden.

Natalie Quillian

Deputy campaign manager

A top aide to President Obama and his chief of staff Denis McDonough, she has also done tours at the Pentagon and the National Security Council.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez

Deputy campaign manager

The granddaughter of César Chávez helped run Kamala Harris’s presidential bid and worked in the Obama White House.

Rufus Gifford

Deputy campaign manager

US ambassador to Denmark under Obama, he and his husband became celebs there through their reality-TV show, I Am the Ambassador.

Ashley Allison

National coalitions director

She worked under Valerie Jarrett in the Obama White House; now co­ordinates between the campaign and activists on all kinds of issues.

Stef Feldman

Policy director

She joined Team Biden more than a decade ago during a college internship in the VP office, working on environmental and other domestic-policy issues.

Rob Flaherty

Digital director

He ran digital efforts for Beto O’Rourke’s presidential bid (under Jen O’Malley Dillon) after stints with a Democratic super-PAC and Clinton ’16.

Carlyn Reichel

Director of speechwriting

She was VP Biden’s foreign-policy speechwriter and, before that, wrote speeches for the National Security Council and at State for Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

Vinay Reddy

Speechwriter and senior adviser

Biden’s chief speechwriter during VP term two is from Ohio and has been a speechwriter for Senator Sherrod Brown. After Biden left office, Reddy worked for the NBA.

Dan Cluchey


The Harvard Law grad penned speeches for Obama-administration officials including Eric Holder, then published a novel about a tortured young lawyer.

Katie Petrelius

National finance director

Biden’s head of fund-raising spent years buckraking for the DSCC and then for the Biden Foundation, the family charity.

Erin Wilson

National political director

Originally from Philadelphia, she long worked for Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey and helped run political operations in PA for Clinton ’16.

Patrick Bonsignore

Director of paid media

The MBA developed digital-ad strategies for Clinton ’16 and at GMMB, the DC political-strategy and branding firm.

Caitlin Mitchell

Senior adviser for digital

The operative has pulled campaign stints for Elizabeth Warren and Rahm Emmanuel and helped run digital strategy for Emily’s List and the DNC.

Maju Varghese

Chief operating officer

He spent six years in the Obama White House doing advance and as senior staffer for management/administration.


This article appears in the November 2020 issue of Washingtonian.

Kristen Hinman
Articles Editor

Kristen Hinman has been editing Washingtonian’s features since 2014. She joined the magazine after editing politics & policy coverage for Bloomberg Businessweek and working as a staff writer for Voice Media Group/Riverfront Times.