Joe Biden, the Delaware Democrat who is ahead in most polls of the 2020 Presidential field, has hired an operative with North Florida ties.
Evans will be “Southern Political Director” for the former Vice President’s ongoing outreach to “minority and women voters.”
The calculus surrounding the hire of Evans and five other senior staffers: “Biden and his team hope this diverse staff can help them rebuild the diverse coalition that Barack Obama captured in 2008.”
Evans, who has served as a political director for one-time gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum and as “special assistant” for U.S. Rep. Al Lawson in Washington, D.C., knows something about how to energize the kinds of coalitions that Democrats need in the South.
The staff hires come at a time when Biden, once the prohibitive front-runner, is facing a stiff challenge from Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
At least one poll shows a dead heat between Warren and the former VP, setting an interesting context for Thursday night’s debate in Houston.
Minority women, especially African American women, will be key to Biden’s attempt to maintain a southern firewall. Many are undecided, notes a “roundtable” poll from Essence magazine.
“While older black women polled continue to place their hopes in the centrism of former VP Joe Biden (25 percent), younger black women (18.9 percent) polled responded that they would vote for progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders if the 2020 presidential election were held today,” Essence says.
Other findings in the poll suggest that bloc of voters, the key to any nominee’s hopes, is wearying of said “centrism.”
Evans’ success or failure will be predicated on helping to assure potentially restive primary voters that, like President Obama, his former VP offers change they can believe in.
Evans is not the only Florida Democrat engaged this week by Biden’s operation.
Laura Jimenez, who previously worked for Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, was also brought on to handle Hispanic outreach.