Biden campaign staff more than half women, 35% people of color

Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about the unrest across the country from Philadelphia City Hall on June 2, 2020, in Philadelphia, Pa. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
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By Jennifer Epstein Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — A majority of Joe Biden’s campaign staff are women, and people of color make up more than one-third of the Democratic presidential nominee’s team, according to data released by the campaign on Saturday.

Biden’s campaign had been pressed for information on the diversity of its staff by journalists and allies on the left, especially as conversations about racial justice have overtaken much of the national conversation in the past month. Neither the White House nor President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign have released any data on the race or gender distribution of their staffs.

“The fact of the matter is we have a very diverse staff and we have a diverse staff that goes across the board,” Biden said Saturday at a town hall meeting hosted by Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, a group that mobilizes voters.

Overall, 53% of the campaign’s staff are female and their representation is even higher among senior staff, at 58%. Campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon, deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield, and several senior advisers, including Anita Dunn, Symone Sanders and Karine Jean-Pierre, are women.

Biden’s staff is 35% people of color and senior staff is 36% people of color, the campaign said. Senior people of color on the staff include Sanders, Jean-Pierre, senior adviser Cristobal Alex, and national voter protection director Rachana Desai Martin.

“This is a great, first transparent step from the Biden campaign,” said Alida Garcia, founder of and partner in Inclusv, a group that supports people of color working in progressive politics and advocacy. Inclusv is working with the Biden team to connect potential staffers of color with the campaign.

“Inclusv is very excited to see them share the makeup of their organization publicly. Obviously there is room for growth, but they’re approaching where the Clinton campaign ended and still have the opportunity to beat those numbers as they staff up their battleground state operations,” Garcia said.

Clinton’s 2016 campaign staff was 54% female and more than 38% of staff identified as racially and ethnically diverse, though that number was lower, at 34%, for the campaign’s leadership.

Inclusv and others fighting for greater representation of minority groups in progressive politics argue that if a campaign like Biden’s is seeking the support of people of color and women, its staff should reflect the share of its voters who are from those groups.

“If campaigns want to run operations to engage the voters they need to be elected, they need to have more stakeholders at the table who represent those voters,” Garcia said. “The candidate of Black Lives Matter, immigration reform and women’s issues should have a team that reflects those values.”

The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for information about its staff demographics. A photo of dozens of members of staff at the campaign’s Northern Virginia headquarters was posted this month on Twitter by Vice President Mike Pence, only to be deleted after it was noted that the staffers were violating the state’s rules on social distancing and masks, and were predominantly white and largely male.

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