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Bernie Sanders’ Democratic presidential campaign is experiencing a major shakeup, with several top advisers heading for the exits, just one week after the Vermont senator launched his second bid for the White House.
Three of the top advisers who helped propel the senator’s 2016 White House bid — Tad Devine, Julian Mulvey and Mark Longabaugh — are parting ways with Sanders, the campaign confirmed Tuesday.
Sanders’ 2020 campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement to Fox News that “the campaign appreciates all the good work DML has done and wishes them well.” DML is the name of the political consulting firm headed up by Devine, Mulvey and Longabaugh.
“The entire firm has stepped away. We’re leaving the campaign … We just didn’t have a meeting of the minds,” Longabaugh told NBC News, which was first to report the departure of the senior strategists. The advisers cited creative differences.
Devine, a veteran political strategist who was a top adviser to the presidential campaigns of then-Vice President Al Gore in 2000 and then-Sen. John Kerry in 2004, served as Sanders’ chief strategist and leading surrogate in 2016. Longabaugh steered the campaign’s game plan for winning delegates and negotiating with the Democratic National Committee. Mulvey played a large role in creating the campaign’s television and digital ads.
Sanders, once a longshot for the 2016 Democratic nomination, crushed Hillary Clinton by 22 percentage points in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, launching him into a marathon battle with the eventual nominee that didn’t end until after the primary and caucus calendar concluded.
But this time, Sanders is running in a crowded field with several other liberal Democrats, like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris, with others expected to join the race.
On Monday, Sanders’ campaign sought to demonstrate the enthusiasm for his campaign by reporting that 1 million people had already signed up to volunteer. As of Monday, six days after his campaign launch, the senator also had raised an eye-popping $10 million from over 359,914 donors. Those numbers put him far ahead of his rivals for the nomination in the race for campaign cash.
But Sanders has also drawn fire from former aides to Clinton, who leaked details about Sanders’ use of private jets in 2016 to attend campaign rallies on her behalf. That provoked Sanders’ 2016 campaign spokesman, Michael Briggs, to tell Politico that Clinton’s staff are the “biggest a–holes in American politics,” adding that Clinton is “one of the most disliked politicians in America.”
Meanwhile, during a CNN town hall on Monday night, Sanders promised to release his taxes soon but downplayed the unveiling by saying “they’re very boring tax returns.”
Sanders faced some criticism for not releasing his taxes during his marathon 2016 primary battle with Hillary Clinton. He said Monday he would have done so had he beat Clinton.
“If we had won the nomination, we would have done it,” Sanders said.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.