Politics & Government

Democrat Smith hires former Obama, Clinton staffer as new campaign manager

James Smith wins SC democratic primary for SC governor

James Smith enters a room amid applause after his landslide victory in democratic primary.
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James Smith enters a room amid applause after his landslide victory in democratic primary.

James Smith, the Democratic candidate for S.C. governor, Friday named an alum of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Scott Hogan, as his campaign manager.

Hogan is Smith’s fourth campaign manager since the state representative from Columbia announced his run for governor last year. He succeeds Mike McCauley, who parted ways with the Smith campaign shortly after the June 12 primary, which Smith won easily.

The Friday announcement comes four days after the Republican Governors Association launched an attack ad trying to tie Smith to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders lost his 2016 presidential primary bid to Clinton, whom Smith supported.

“Scott has the skills, experience and drive to take our campaign to victory in this race,” Smith said in a statement. “We have a strong staff that is deeply rooted in South Carolina, and Scott brings the ability to forge it all into a winning combination.”

Smith’s pick for lieutenant governor, state Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell of Lancaster, said Hogan will help “deliver our message of building a better future for all South Carolinians.”

Most recently, Hogan was campaign manager for U.S. Senate candidate Jenny Wilson of Utah. Previously, he worked as Minnesota state director for Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group.

In 2015, Hogan joined Clinton’s presidential campaign to help organize voters in Minnesota. Hogan also worked on President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Smith also announced four other new hires Friday:

Retired Lt. Col. J.C. Glick as state veterans coordinator.

Former state Rep. Virginia Leaman Crocker as scheduling director.

Iraq war Marine veteran Patrick Elswick as Upstate veterans coordinator.

Former OneColumbia staffer Ashleigh Lancaster as events coordinator.

Smith will face Republican Gov. Henry McMaster in the November general election. A Democrat has not been elected S.C. governor since 1998.

Maayan Schechter: 803-771-8657, @MaayanSchechter