The CEO of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced that she is stepping down after less than a year at the helm, according to a Monday email to her subordinates.
Jess O’Connell, a former senior aide on the 2008 Clinton campaign, took over in May to assist newly appointed Chairman Tom Perez in rehabilitating the DNC in the wake of a Russian cyber security breach and apparent favoritism, which may have tilted the 2016 Democratic primary toward Hillary Clinton.
“I’m proud to have helped to rebuild our party at a time when we needed it most,” O’Connell wrote in the email, first obtained by NBC News.
O’Connell’s departure comes on the heels of special election wins in Virginia and Alabama and a gradually improving financial situation that represents a marked difference from the debt-addled organization she inherited.
The decision, reportedly made for personal reasons, was timed so as not to distract from the upcoming 2018 elections but it comes just months after the finance director due to lackluster fundraising.
Perez praised O’Connell for her willingness to to take over day-to-day operations when the DNC was at its most vulnerable.
“Jess O’Connell joined the DNC at a time when our party needed it the most,” Perez said in a statement. “She helped build our ‘Every Zip Code Counts’ strategy, oversaw unprecedented programming and support for state parties and campaigns, renewed our focus on data and technology, and helped lead us to 100+ victories in elections all across the country in 2017. Jess laid the groundwork for an infrastructure to win in 2018, 2020 and beyond.”
O’Connell, who serves as executive director of the Democratic women’s group Emily’s List, was named in a recent New York Times report as one of the aides who urged then-Sen. Hillary Clinton to fire a staffer accused of sexual harassment. Clinton overruled O’Connell and her colleagues.
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