Biden hires strategist Symone Sanders, adds diversity to bid

Symone Sanders attends the Black Girls Rock! Awards at New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Symone Sanders attends the Black Girls Rock! Awards at New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Joe Biden has hired Symone Sanders, a prominent African American political strategist, as a senior adviser to his newly launched presidential campaign.

The move adds a younger, diverse voice to Biden’s cadre of top advisers, which has been dominated by older white men. It suggests Biden is seeking to broaden his appeal to a new generation of Democrats.

Sanders, 29, rose to prominence during the 2016 campaign as press secretary for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. She then became a high-profile political analyst on CNN and is likely to be a forceful Biden defender on television.

Democratic strategist and former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile called Sanders “battle-tested” and said the hire was “one of the best moves” the Biden campaign could make.

“She understands how to build a coalition, and that women of color are the backbone of the Democratic Party,” said Brazile, who added that Sanders also helped her bridge the gap with millennials after the contentious 2016 primary elections.

Sanders has been heavily recruited by 2020 contenders, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Bernie Sanders notably did not ask her to come back after working on his 2016 campaign.

Biden, who formally joined the race on Thursday, began aggressively recruiting Sanders about a month ago. At Biden’s invitation, the two recently sat down at his home in Virginia and spoke for a few hours.

A Biden campaign official confirmed Sanders’ hire on condition of anonymity because it has not been formally announced. Another person described their meeting in Virginia and insisted on anonymity to discuss a private meeting.

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