By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Confirmed, the recently appointed CEO of the Democratic National Committee is exiting the DNC after less than a year on the job.
The Veteran Democrat activist and top operative, Jess O’Connell, took the reigns of the Democratic National Committee back in May 2017 with a mandate to help newly appointed DNC Chairman Tom Perez revamp the troubled party that is still struggling with fundraising (according to FEC) even though, they have swept the last several elections with impressive wins over Republicans Virginia up and down the ticket as well the Alabama U.S. Senate race where O’Connell was instrumental in turning the state blue after 25 years of being a solid red state for the GOP.
According to NBC News who broke the story of the exit by O’Connell, she is set to leave the DNC stabilized, if not yet fully recovered and her decision to leave is a personal one, according to a DNC official who spoke with NBC News.
The DNC was also quick to point out that the exit of O’Connell will cause minimal disruption ahead of November’s midterm elections.
In a farewell email to DNC staff on Monday Jan. 29, O’Connell thanked the entire DNC team and said she was proud of their work while at the same time not giving any information on why she’s leaving other than for personal reasons.
NBC News reported that Perez is already on the hunt for a new CEO. O’Connell, who previously held a top job at the Democratic women’s group Emily’s List, will help with the transition after she leaves next month.
Perez thanked O’Connell in the email for progress made under her watch. “When Jess walked in the door, the Democratic Party was broken,” Perez wrote.
“Rebuilding the party will take time. While it isn’t an easy task, we developed a strategy, we implemented it, and we won races up and down the ballot in 2017,” O’Connell said in a statement. “While I’ve made the decision to pass the baton, our work remains far from over and under Tom Perez’s leadership and direction, our party will continue to build on the progress we’ve made in 2017.”
Perez praised O’Connell for her help during his first year on the job, when the DNC was often defending itself from attacks while also trying to expand its mission to include year-round organizing.
Perez released the following statement:
“Jess O’Connell joined the DNC at a time when our party needed it the most. “She helped build our ‘Every Zip Code Counts’ strategy, oversaw unprecedented programming and support for state parties and campaigns, renewed our focus on data and technology, and helped lead us to 100+ victories in elections all across the country in 2017. Jess laid the groundwork for an infrastructure to win in 2018, 2020 and beyond.”
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