As she runs for president, Senator Elizabeth Warren is breaking away from a long-established campaign playbook that powers an influential and profitable consultant industry in Washington, according to a profile in Politico.
The D.C.-based political news website reported Tuesday that Warren is building on her risky decision to forgo high-dollar fund-raisers, which has so far paid off with the news this week that she raised $19.1 million in the second quarter. Warren has resisted hiring the expensive outside firms that create television ads, give advice, and conduct polls. Instead, she is relying on a huge staff of 300 for many of these tasks.
Here’s what we learned from the story about Warren’s campaign:
■ Campaigns often contract with outside firms to poll voters on their views of the candidate, test a new message or idea, and create advertising. Warren has not hired a polling company, and her staff is internally producing digital media and advertising with a team of 15 staffers, in addition to buying digital ad space.
■ Warren aides told Politico that the strategy has let the campaign respond rapidly to the 24-hour news cycle, including when it released one of her policy proposals, complete with a suite of digital content and ads, within three days of Alabama passing its restrictive abortion bill.
■ Critics told the news site that a presidential campaign is not the place to forgo well-established expertise from consultants who have often run past successful campaigns. “Quality has cost. I’d rather have Jim Margolis [who is working for Kamala Harris] on my side and pay some fees than ‘Larry’ in a cubicle in-house who is learning media buying,” one GOP strategist told Politico.
■ It’s also another big risk: Should her fund-raising slow down, Warren could struggle to maintain such a large staff even as the first critical contests in places like New Hampshire and Iowa draw closer.
■ A top Warren staffer said the decision is in line with her views on money in politics and shows that she is “willing to question existing power structures.”