Kelly Mehlenbacher was Kamala Harris’ director of operations.
In a resignation letter published by the New York Times on November 29, it was revealed that Mehlenbacher, 35, has left the California senator’s campaign. At the time of writing, Senator Harris is campaigning at about 4 percent nationwide.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mehlenbacher Says That She Has Never Seen Campaign Staff Treated So Badly
Mehlenbacher accused the Harris campaign of treating campaign staff shabbily. In one specific allegation, Mehlenbacher criticized the campaign for encouraging staff to move from Washington D.C. to Baltimore only to lay them off in order to concentrate on Iowa. Mehlenbacher says that “morale has never been lower” within the campaign. The letter reads, “It is not acceptable to me that we encouraged people to move from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore only to lay them off with no notice, with no plan for the campaign, and without thoughtful consideration of the personal consequences to them or the consequences that their absence would have on the remaining staff.”
Mehlenbacher said that nobody from the leadership of the campaign has apologized to staff for the conditions they have been forced to work under. One scathing sentence in the letter reads, “This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly. With less than 90 days until Iowa, we still do not have a real plan to win.”
Despite Saying that Harris Is ‘the Strongest Candidate to Win the General Election,’ Mehlenbacher Is Now Michael Bloomberg’s Chief Operating Officer
Mehlenbacher wrote in her letter that she still believes “that Senator Harris is the strongest candidate to win the General Election in 2020.” Despite this, Mehlenbacher has now joined former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign. Mehlenbacher’s resignation came into effect on November 30.
Politico was the first to report on that move on November 27. The outlet says that Mehlenbacher joins the campaign as deputy chief operating officer.
3. Mehlenbacher Was a Treasurer on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign & Worked in the Obama White House
According to Mehlenbacher’s LinkedIn page, she was formerly the treasury manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. On that page, Mehlenbacher says that she is the Chief Operating Officer of Onward Together, Hillary Clinton’s progressive super PAC that was launched in 2017. In its first year, the committee raised over $3 million for liberal causes. In 2017, Mehlenbacher was paid $58,312 by the PAC.
Between November 2011 and April 2014, Mehlenbacher worked as a White House Liaison for the State Department in the Obama administration and as a Special Assistant to the Director of Budget and Resource Management at USAID. Mehlenbacher also worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign in accounts. Mehlenbacher graduated from Texas Tech University in 2007 with a degree in Political Science.
4. Mehlenbacher Describes Herself as ‘Fiercely Loyal, Passionate & Outspoken’
An online bio for Mehlenbacher calls her “fiercely loyal, passionate and outspoken” thanks to her astrological sign, Leo. That bio says that Mehlenbacher “cares deeply” about her friends and family and strives to make American a more equal place. Mehlenbacher says she “loves reading, wine and sarcasm.”
5. Harris’ Has Cut Staff in New Hampshire & Baltimore in Recent Weeks
In recent weeks, Harris campaign has laid off staff in New Hampshire and Baltimore. Ohio Democratic Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who has endorsed Harris, criticized the campaign in an interview with the New York Times. Fudge said, “I have told her there needs to be a change. The weakness is at the top. And it’s clearly Juan [Rodriguez, Harris’ campaign manager.] He needs to take responsibility — that’s where the buck stops.”
Rodriguez told the Times in response to the story, “Just like every campaign, we have made tough decisions to have the resources we need to place in Iowa and springboard into the rest of the primary calendar.”