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Joe Biden’s Florida campaign adds Brandon Thompson, Juan Peñalosa

Taps two from Organizing Together 2020 Florida campaign

Brandon Thompson, leader of Organizing Together 2020’s Florida operation and a former national campaign staffer for Kamala Harris‘ presidential campaign, has been hired as coordinated director of Joe Biden‘s presidential campaign in Florida, the campaign announced Monday.

At the same time, Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Juan Peñalosa is taking on a second role as senior advisor to the Biden Florida campaign, and Karen Andre, president of People First Strategies, is coming onboard as senior advisor in the Biden Florida campaign and senior advisor to national faith outreach.

They all will be under Jackie Lee, who assumed the position of Florida state director for the Biden campaign last October.

The personnel moves were first reported by the Miami Herald.

Before moving over to Organizing Together 2020, Thompson managed the Super Tuesday states program for Harris’ presidential campaign as director of national campaigns. A 2008 and ’12 Barack Obama campaign veteran, Brandon worked previously in Central Florida on Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. He has since served in several state and national roles for campaigns and progressive organizations, including as national field director for For Our Future, and national training director for the DCCC.

Peñalosa has served as FDP executive director since March of 2018. Together with FDP Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo, Peñalosa has grown the Democratic Party’s vote-by-mail enrollment edge over Republicans to 400,000 voters along as well as increased statewide Democratic voter registration margins.

Andre has advised and directed strategy for elected officials, campaigns, and candidates at the federal, state, and local level. Most recently, she served as political director of Organizing Together 2020 in Florida, where she helped build a state-wide partnership coalition. Previously, she served as senior advisor for Andrew Gillum‘s 2018 gubernatorial campaign. In 2014, she was appointed by Obama to serve as White House liaison to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Andre is president of People First Strategies. She is also an attorney, author, and professional speaker. She is a first generation Haitian-American.

The FiveThirtyEight.com Florida polling average on Friday showed Biden ahead of Trump 49.0% to 42.7%, an advantage for the Democrat of 6 percentage points.

Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, talks eagerly of “an expanded map” that puts Florida and North Carolina in the same toss-up category as the Great Lakes states that sent Trump to the White House. Georgia and Texas, she adds, will be tighter than they’ve been in decades.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this article.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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