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Elizabeth Warren Expands Texas Campaign, Naming Senior Staff

Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, speaks at a town hall held in Austin on Sept. 10, 2019.
Eddie Gaspar
Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, speaks at a town hall held in Austin on Sept. 10, 2019.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is expanding her staff in Texas, giving her easily the biggest organization devoted to the state of any primary campaign.

In an announcement first shared with The Texas Tribune, her campaign named six senior staffers Friday morning who will work under its previously announced state director, Jenn Longoria. The staff for now will be spread across offices in San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth.

The campaign also announced it will hire full-time organizers in north, central, east and south Texas.

The Texas team, according to the campaign, “will focus on traditional, digital and data-driven voter contact and dedicated outreach to communities of color across the Lone Star State." The delegate-rich Texas primary is on March 3, or Super Tuesday.

Here are the senior staffers that Warren’s campaign announced Friday morning, starting with where they will be based:

  • San Antonio area: Matthew Baiza, deputy organizing director. Baiza was the 2019 campaign manager for San Antonio City Councilwoman Ana Sandoval and an organizer for Gina Ortiz Jones’ 2018 bid for the 23rd Congressional District.
  • Austin area: Sissi Yado, organizing director. Yado most recently worked as senior field manager for the Human Rights Campaign in Texas and previously was training manager for the Florida Democratic Party.
  • Austin area: Michael Maher, operations and training director. Maher has worked for Battleground Texas in a number of roles, including 2018 programs director and 2016-2019 operations and finance manager.
  • Austin area: Beth Kloser, data director. Kloser was managing director of Battleground Texas from 2015-2018 and a regional organizer for Wendy Davis’ 2014 gubernatorial run.
  • Dallas area: Jess Moore Matthews, mobilization director. Matthews most recently served as chief content officer for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and previously was digital director for de Blasio’s 2020 presidential campaign.
  • Houston area: Andre Wagner, community organizing director. Wagner is a former staffer for state Sen. Carol Alvarado of Houston and Houston City Councilman Dwight Boykins whose campaign experience includes organizing for Beto O'Rourke's 2018 U.S. Senate bid.

The announcement puts Warren far ahead of her primary opponents in building out a Texas operation. The only other campaign with a Texas state director is Joe Biden’s, which named Jane Hamilton to the post Tuesday. The Warren campaign announced Longoria’s hiring in early October and says it has had staff on the ground in Texas since August. Longoria is based in San Antonio.

Beto O’Rourke, the former El Paso congressman, had a state director and four other Texas staffers until he dropped out of the White House race earlier this month. The campaign of the remaining Texan candidate, Julián Castro, is based in San Antonio but has not announced staff focused on winning the state. However, Castro's campaign says it is looking to hire a state director as it refocuses its dwindling resources on a trio of states including Texas.

Warren's Texas team is poised to continue growing as it brings on organizers, some of whom have already made public their moves. Michael Anthony Orona, previously political director for congressional candidate Julie Oliver, announced Monday that he had joined Warren's campaign as Austin regional organizing director.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

Copyright 2019 KERA

Patrick Svitek is a reporter for the Texas Tribune. He previously worked for the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau. He graduated in 2014 from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He originally is from Fort Wayne, Indiana.