Amid a major surge in the polls, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign suffered a major shakeup this week.
A high-ranking member of the Warren camp has been fired over what campaign spokesperson Kristen Orthman described to Fox News as “multiple complaints regarding inappropriate behavior.”
Orthman said the complaints against Rich McDaniel arose two weeks ago, and outside counsel was brought in to investigate.
“Based on the results of the investigation, the campaign determined that his reported conduct was inconsistent with its values and that he could not be a part of the campaign moving forward,” Orthman said.
A person familiar with the investigation said that there were no reports of sexual assault by Elizabeth Warren’s national organizing director, but could not comment further due to confidentiality https://t.co/BYseRq162t
— POLITICO (@politico) October 5, 2019
A veteran Democratic political operative, McDaniel was the Warren campaign’s national organizing director.
McDaniel previously served as a field and political director for Sen. Doug Jones in his 2017 special election victory over Roy Moore in Alabama and as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s primary states regional director in 2016, Fox News reported.
In 2015, he worked as political director for the Democratic Party of Georgia.
An anonymous source familiar with the investigation indicated to Politico that the alleged inappropriate behavior was not related to sexual assault.
The source reportedly declined to comment further.
McDaniel, for his part, said in a statement he has “separated” from the campaign.
He cited disagreements with complaints made about his behavior and wished his now-former colleagues the best.
“I have separated from the campaign and am no longer serving as National Organizing Director,” McDaniel told Politico. “I have tremendous respect for my colleagues despite any disagreements we may have had and believe departing at this time is in the best interest of both parties.”
“I would never intentionally engage in any behavior inconsistent with the campaign or my own values,” he continued. “If others feel that I have, I understand it is important to listen even when you disagree.”
“I wish the campaign and my colleagues well,” McDaniel added.
The shakeup comes at an inopportune moment for Warren’s campaign.
With the first votes of the primary season still months away from being cast, the controversial Massachusetts progressive has picked up considerable steam on the campaign trail — arguably earning herself the title of front-runner for the nomination in recent weeks.
Warren first appeared to overtake long-time front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, in a Quinnipiac University poll just last week.
According to RealClearPolitics, she has topped the former vice president by slim margin in several polls since then.
But Biden’s apparent implosion — sparked by an endless flow of verbal gaffes and sped up by the Ukraine scandal — might not do Warren any favors should shakeups come to serve as a serious stumbling block for her campaign.
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