Yesterday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, stepped down. Doyle, long Hillary’s right-hand woman, said she hadn’t expected the primary to run on so long and wanted to get out of the race for personal reasons. She was replaced by Maggie Williams, a former aide to Bill Clinton when he was president and another longtime ally of Hillary’s. Williams, according to the Daily News, is a tough fighter who has engaged in many legal battles on behalf of the Clintons. She’s also been used by the couple in the past to boost their likability with African-Americans. The turnover came swiftly on the heels of four Obama wins over the weekend, in primaries in Maine, Washington state, Nebraska, and Louisiana. Obama now holds a small delegate lead. The appointment of Williams seems to indicate that Hillary is in fighting mode again, and we remember how that went last month. But according to The Wall Street Journal, it might not be the only big shift in her team and strategy. Harold Ickes, who has been a longtime Clinton helper, might also get an “expanded role.”
Until now, Ickes has been primarily concerned with working to win the favor of superdelegates, the group of more than 400 convention voters who are not tied to any candidate and who seem to favor Clinton two-to-one. This could mean a big strategy change for the New York senator, who already has stopped focusing as much on smaller states and instead is making a big push in delegate-rich ones. It seems to be a public recognition of the high currency she’s placing on the politicians and party officials who make up the superdelegate group, in lieu of the average voter. As more and more people already worry that the neck-and-neck primary will not be decided by the public, an elevation of Ickes’s role may be seen by some as a confirmation of their fears.