Senate Democrats have announced a new leadership team at Senate Victory as the 2022 midterms inch closer.
The Senate Democratic caucus’ campaign arm, under the leadership of Minority Leader Lauren Book, on Monday added Sierra Fareed as its finance director, Christian Ulvert as its general consultant, Claire VanSusteren as its communications director and Tim Wagner as its political director.
“I am excited to welcome our new team of Democratic operatives to Senate Victory as we lay groundwork to defend incumbent seats and win new ones,” Book said in a statement. “Our diverse team will bring with the winning skill sets and battle-proven experience to effectively elect more Democrats to the Florida Senate.”
Fareed served as a field organizer for the Florida Democratic Party in 2016 and as the party’s finance associate in 2018. Most recently, she was finance director at Ruth’s List Florida, an organization that helps elect Democratic, pro-abortion rights women in Florida.
Ulvert, the founder and president of EDGE Communications, led and advised more than a dozen successful campaigns during the 2020 election cycle, including for Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
VanSusteren, the founder and president of CVS COMMS, is an EMMY Award-winning producer and a former Florida Politics 30 Under 30 winner. She has provided communications consulting in the political world for the past decade.
Wagner’s nine year career in politics most recently included leading the Federal IE Program for the Environmental Defense Fund as political director. In 2018, Wagner helped Democratic Sen. Janet Cruz defeat incumbent Republican Sen. Dana Young, which is in the top five most expensive state legislative races in U.S. history. He also led Tampa Mayor Jane Castor‘s successful and historic campaign in 2019.
Senate Democrats are coming off a rough 2020 electoral cycle in which the party lost nearly every competitive race. Democrats hoped to expand their majority but ultimately lost a seat, falling from 17 to 16 members.
Incumbent Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez lost by a few dozen votes to Ileana Garcia.
Senate Democrats have also had problems on the political front. With days left in this year’s Legislative Session, the caucus removed former Minority Leader Gary Farmer and replaced him with Book after questions about Farmer’s leadership abilities. Book was originally slated to succeed him after the 2022 election.
The internal strife arose from brewing animosity over Farmer’s failure to unite his minority caucus around several bills this year. Within the party, Book was seen as a remedy — someone who proved her ability to navigate partisan complexities to get stuff done. With 16 seats of 40 in the upper chamber, unity is crucial to get legislation passed and, often, to block what the party sees as bad legislation.