Pete Buttigieg, the youngest candidate vying for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, has been gaining traction in terms of national name recognition. The attention notably picked up following a CNN Town Hall on March 10, 2019.
Since then, the campaign has reportedly been inundated with more than 2,000 resumes from people wanting to join the campaign, communications advisor and press coordinator Lis Smith told CNN.
Here’s what you need to know about some of the senior members of the Buttigieg campaign staff.
1. Campaign Manager Mike Schmuhl Went to High School With Buttigieg & Served as His Chief of Staff in South Bend
Pete Buttigieg tapped a familiar face for his campaign manager: Mike Schmuhl. Schmuhl ran Buttigieg’s mayoral campaigns and served as his chief of staff in South Bend, Indiana.
The two have been friends since their teenage years. They went to Catholic school together at St. Joseph High. According to the South Bend Tribune, Schmuhl earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and previously worked at the Washington Post.
Schmuhl’s first major political job was serving as Joe Donnelly’s campaign manager in 2010. (Donnelly represented Indiana in the House from 2007-2013 and served in the Senate from 2013 to 2018).
Schmuhl resigned as Buttigieg’s chief of staff in 2013 in order to pursue a master’s degree. He studied international affairs at the Paris Institute of Political Studies.
But he wasn’t gone from the Buttigieg team for very long. According to the Federal Election Commission, Schmuhl was serving as Treasurer of Buttigieg’s fundraising committee called “Hitting Home PAC” in 2018. He is still listed as its Treasurer. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics, says Schmuhl was paid about $25,000 from the PAC in 2018.
2. Lis Smith, the Chief Communications Adviser, is a Former Obama Campaign Staffer & Democratic Commentator
Lis Smith is leading the charge in terms of media coverage for the Pete Buttigieg campaign. She has worked on more than 20 Democratic campaigns, according to her Twitter bio and is a graduate of Dartmouth College.
In 2015 and 2016, Smith was the Deputy Campaign Manager for Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign. (He dropped out of the Democratic primary in early February of 2016). Smith frequently appeared on CBSN as a political analyst throughout the remainder of the 2016 election. (Full disclosure: This writer was working for CBSN at that time met and produced political interviews in which Smith appeared).
Smith’s credentials include working as a senior communications advisor for Governor O’Malley’s political action committee; representing current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during his campaign and while he was the mayor-elect; the Director of Rapid Response for President Obama’s re-election campaign; and Communications Director for former Ohio governor Ted Strickland’s re-election campaign in 2010. (Strickland lost to John Kasich that year).
Smith made headlines in 2014 and 2015 for her personal life. She dated former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was 23 years her senior.
3. Marcus Switzer, a Veteran Staffer of the Obama & Clinton Campaigns, Joined the Buttigieg Team as Finance Director in Late 2018
Pete Buttigieg brought on another veteran of national Democratic campaigns to serve as the national Finance Director: Marcus Switzer. Switzer runs his own fundraising company called the Switzer Consulting Group, which he founded in April of 2018.
Switzer is a graduate of Duke University and according to his LinkedIn profile, working in the White House was one of his first jobs. He worked as an “Information Specialist” for nine months during President Obama’s first term. Switzer’s next role was with the Democratic National Committee, where he worked as the Deputy Finance Director for the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions.
In March of 2011, Switzer joined President Obama’s re-election campaign in a similar capacity as Deputy Finance Director. He was also on the African American Leadership Council, which he remained a part of after the election was over and he returned to the DNC until October of 2013.
After 18 months in the private sector, Switzer went back to the campaign world in April of 2015 and served as Hillary Clinton’s Deputy National Finance Director.
4. Chris Meagher, the National Press Secretary, Joined the Campaign in Early April of 2019
Chris Meagher, 36, is Pete Buttigieg’s national press secretary. He joined the campaign in April of 2019. He told the South Bend Tribune that he was drawn to Mayor Pete’s team because of his “message of generational leadership.”
According to his Linkedin profile, Meagher began his career as a newspaper reporter before getting into politics. He served as the communications director for Rep. Lois Capps, first during the campaign and then on Capitol Hill. He also previously worked as the communications director for “Montanans For Tester.” Senator Jon Tester was re-elected in 2018.
Meagher has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University and a law degree from Santa Barbara College of Law.
5. Press Aide Andrew Galo First Promoted Pete Buttigieg in 2017 When Galo Was Still a Student at Notre Dame
Andrew Galo is a young member of the campaign but has known Pete Buttigieg since at least 2017. Galo was a senior at Notre Dame when Buttigieg was running to be the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
At the time, Galo told the Observer that Buttigieg’s status as a millennial was appealing to younger voters. “For us, as college students, it’s really great to have a member of our generation moving forward with the party. We’re millennials and we’ve got a bad rap; he’s a millennial too, and he’s looking to bridge that gap.”
During his college years, Galo’s intern experiences included working for Senator Dick Durbin’s campaign as a field organizer. He interned in Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office in D.C. for five months. And in the fall of 2017, Galo was a press intern for Senator Tim Kaine.
In 2018, Galo served as Communications Director for Mel Hall, who ran for Indiana’s 2nd congressional district but lost in the general election to Republican Jackie Walorski.