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Ground Game

Shaheen aides to head up Clinton efforts in N.H.

Hillary Clinton (right) campaigns with Jeanne Shaheen at a campaign event last year in Nashua, N.H.

Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton (right) campaigned with Jeanne Shaheen at a campaign event last year in Nashua, N.H.

Key players in New Hampshire US Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s brain trust, including the manager of her reelection campaign last fall, will head up efforts for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s likely Democratic presidential campaign in the Granite State, sources familiar with the move said Friday morning.

Mike Vlacich, Shaheen’s campaign manager last year, and Kari Thurman, who served as the campaign’s political director, were to leave Shaheen’s staff Friday to begin preparing to assist Clinton.

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Joining them is Harrell Kirstein, who was Shaheen’s communications director on her reelection campaign, and who has served in similar roles for the New Hampshire Democratic Party and President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign in the state.

“For nearly two decades, Mike Vlacich has been a trusted adviser and a close friend,” Shaheen said. “He is both a dedicated public servant and a brilliant political strategist. Mike, Kari, and Harrell are among the best people I’ve ever worked with, and I’m thankful for their service. I wish them well in their next venture and know they will continue to work to make New Hampshire and the country a better place.”

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These moves are the most significant step Clinton has made in preparation for a run in the early primary state, and the nature of the hires show she is taking New Hampshire seriously.

Last week the Washington Post reported that Matt Paul, a longtime aide to former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, will lead Clinton’s team in the Hawkeye State.

In New Hampshire, Vlacich is viewed as the state’s top Democratic operative. Shaheen’s win last fall, one of the few Democratic bright spots across the country, raised his national profile. He served as Shaheen’s state director before the campaign, was the director of New Hampshire’s Division of Economic Development, and managed then-Governor John Lynch’s first reelection campaign.

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In addition to her role with Shaheen’s campaign, Thurman has worked for two New Hampshire members of Congress and for the state Democratic Party.

Clinton is reportedly looking to launch her presidential campaign in a few weeks.

James Pindell can be reached at James.Pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell.
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