Jun 21, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: VP Harris gets campaign chief of staff

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on gun violence during an event at John R. Lewis High School in Springfield, Va., on June 2. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Longtime Democratic operative and Biden aide Sheila Nix will be joining the Biden campaign to serve as Vice President Kamala Harris' chief of staff, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: It's a sign of the prominent role that Harris will play in the re-election effort as a frequent surrogate and aggressive campaigner for the 80-year-old president.

What we're watching: Nix — who's trusted by both the Biden and Harris teams — will play a major role in setting Harris' political travel schedule and sharpening her message on the campaign trail as 2024 kicks into high gear.

  • Harris has been vocal on reproductive rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. She's also expected to continue making gun violence and safe communities a centerpiece of the re-election campaign, a Biden adviser told Axios.
  • Harris will also have a major part in Biden's "Investing in America" tour focused on the administration's push to implement the sweeping climate, semiconductor and infrastructure programs Congress approved last year.

Background: Nix is currently chief of staff to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, and will start her new role in July.

  • During the Obama administration's second term, Nix served as chief of staff to second lady Jill Biden and as a deputy assistant to former President Obama.
  • Nix worked on the 2020 Biden campaign as a senior adviser to Harris.

Between the lines: Top White House officials have been rushing to repair Harris' public image and shore up her underwhelming poll numbers heading into 2024, as Axios' Alex Thompson previously reported.

  • They want to prevent her from being a drag on the ticket, especially as Republicans prepare to seize on Harris as a key foil in an election that will boil down to a few states.

What they're saying: "Sheila is no stranger to campaigns or the Biden-Harris team. Sheila’s strategic sense and ability to navigate challenges made her an invaluable advisor to me on our 2020 general election team," Harris told Axios in a statement.

  • "They know that whether it’s a brand new cabinet member like Cardona or an alignment of multiple Vice Presidents to the tops of their tickets or elevating Dr. Biden, they can put her in a position and know she’ll deliver.” Scott Mulhauser, a Biden and Obama administration alum, told Axios.
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