Hickenlooper Denver forum

U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper, a former two-term Colorado governor, speaks with Denver Democrats after a forum in Denver on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, that featured the eight candidates seeking the nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020.

John Hickenlooper on Wednesday named key hires for his 2020 U.S. Senate campaign, including veterans of his gubernatorial and White House runs and operatives with experience at national Democratic organizations.

The staffing announcement comes two months after the former two-term Colorado governor ended his long-shot presidential bid and became the frontrunner in a crowded field of Democrats hoping to challenge Republican Cory Gardner, considered one of the most vulnerable senators on the ballot next year.

“We’ve brought together a hardworking and talented staff with experience winning tough races across the country and here in Colorado,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “This outstanding team will help our campaign to get out across the state and earn every vote so we can make Washington work and get things done for Coloradans.”

Campaign manager M.E. Smith has been helming Hickenlooper's campaigns since July, when she took over his presidential operation in the wake of a shake-up that saw most of his senior staffers depart. Before managing U.S. Sen. Bob Casey's 2018 campaign in Pennsylvania — reaping the biggest win for a Democrat in a state won by President Donald Trump — Smith worked as deputy campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet's 2016 win in Colorado and held the same position on Hickenlooper's successful 2014 re-election campaign.

Deputy campaign manager Phil Munson has years of experience as a research director under his belt, most recently at Democratic super PAC America Bridge 21st Century and before that at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which endorsed Hickenlooper in the Colorado primary after recruiting him to the race.

Val Nosler Beck, the campaign coordinator, was director of operations for Hickenlooper's presidential campaign. Prior to that, she held numerous positions in Hickenlooper's gubernatorial administration and was his scheduling and advance director when he was mayor of Denver.

Becca Charen, the campaign's research director, held the same position on former state Sen. Mike Johnston's U.S. Senate campaign before he dropped out of the primary soon after Hickenlooper got in. Earlier, she did similar work at the DSCC.

Two of Hickenlooper's recent hires hail from U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand's presidential campaign — digital director Alana Conant and scheduling and advance manager Rayhaan Merani.

Maisha Fields, the surrogates director, was national political director for Hickenlooper's presidential campaign and managed campaigns for her mother, state Sen. Rhonda Fields.

Shad Murib, the outreach director, has held numerous government and campaign posts in Colorado, most recently serving as director of government and public affairs for Secretary of State Jena Griswold. Before that, he ran the policy and research team for Jared Polis' gubernatorial campaign and was chief of staff for he Colorado Senate Democrats. 

Communications director Melissa Miller held communications posts with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Governors Association.

Shannon Salk, Hickenlooper's national finance director, raised money for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow's 2018 race in Michigan and has done the same for other Senate and congressional candidates.

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