WASHINGTON (AP) — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is hiring veterans of President Barack Obama’s highly regarded digital operation for his 2016 White House campaign.
The goal is to help Sanders reach small donors online and harness the energy of liberals who want an alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic race.
Sanders’ campaign said Wednesday that it was hiring the Revolution Messaging firm to run online fundraising, social media and digital advertising. The firm’s leader is Scott Goodstein, who developed social networking and mobile platforms for Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Among the other former Obama staffers employed there are Arun Chaudhary, who worked on the new media team during the 2008 campaign and became the first official White House videographer.
Sanders, an independent, announced last week that he will run in the Democratic presidential primary, making him Clinton’s first opponent for the nomination.
A long shot, he has said he will campaign on populist economic policies to reduce income disparity and will bypass a campaign finance system that has becoming increasingly dominated by political action committees that can raise unlimited money.
Sanders’ team says he is focused on online fundraising through small donors and brought in $3 million in his first four days as a candidate. The campaign says it has received 75,000 contributions, with an average donation of $43.
“The campaign will bring together millions of Americans who are sick and tired of the economic and political status quo and want fundamental change in how we do economics and politics in this country,” said Sanders’ adviser Tad Devine.
During the 2008 campaign, Obama’s digital operations revolutionized the ways candidates could reach voters and gather personal information about them through social media and other platforms. Clinton has also hired several veterans of the Obama campaigns, including Teddy Goff, digital director for the president’s 2012 re-election campaign.
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