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Kennedy’s son taking active role in campaign

Wednesday, Dec 20, 2017

* I think some Chris Kennedy campaign staffers were a bit surprised when a new organizational chart was distributed by the candidate’s 25-year-old son, Chris Jr., who appears at the very top. Here’s the upper portion of the chart…

* The Sun-Times explains

Kennedy, one of former U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s 11 children, says his four children are all volunteering for the campaign in varying roles that will become more significant in the new year. A new organizational chart of the campaign shows Chris Kennedy Jr., 25, at the helm of the organization. But campaign spokeswoman Rebecca Evans said Kennedy Jr. is there to “support” multiple departments, including finance and communications. Kennedy took time off from a full-time management consulting job to help the campaign ahead of the primary March 20.

Kate Kennedy, 26, has been active in the campaign for months, helping with events and “organizational issues,” according to her father. Sarah Kennedy, 23, is a teacher in Englewood but serves as a surrogate for events on the weekends. And Clare Kennedy, 19, is planning to spend a six-week college break to help bolster her dad’s campaign.

Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy — the 28-year-old daughter of Robert Kennedy Jr. — is helping out with the campaign’s communications and digital teams. She previously ran digital communications for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights advocacy organization. And the Democratic candidate says there’s more family on the way.

“Almost all of my brothers and sisters and cousins will be coming in during the next three months, and that’s really great. They’re able to cover some of the parts of the state where we have two events simultaneously and that’s super helpful,” Chris Kennedy said. “Chris, in particular, he’s able to spend the most time on the campaign and it’s really helpful to have somebody who can call me at 11 o’clock at night or 6 in the morning and say, ‘Hey you need look at these two or three things,’ or ‘be prepared’ or ‘stick to your call time’ in a way that is more difficult for someone, let’s say in a classic sense, works for me.”

Despite some rumors, the campaign emphatically denies that the candidate’s son has taken over the operation. And from what I’m told, the son does a good job of handling the candidate in a way that others haven’t been able to.

At the request of the campaign, I’m not going to post the entire organizational chart, but it shows that Mary Beth Sova has been brought in as finance director. Hanah Jubeh, a consultant who has served as Kennedy’s chief fundraiser, is not on the chart.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - The Captain - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:19 pm:

    The Kennedy campaign has been a major disappointment. For whatever reason we keep whispering around and hinting at the obvious issue instead of just being blunt: the candidate is the problem. The team around him has been good at every job they’ve ever had except this one and now they’ve all been layered by various family members, not a good sign. It doesn’t suggest learning or growth for a campaign that hasn’t functioned well, instead it suggests they’re trying to institutionalize their dysfunction.


  2. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    I’m sure the campaign professionals on that team are really looking forward to battling 20-something family members over strategy and operational decisions. That’s a recipe for turmoil.


  3. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    The biggest problem with Kennedy’s campaign has been Pritzker’s campaign - like Rich said at the City Club speech, Pritzker is copying Rauner’s campaign playbook and shutting out his opponents from campaign cash. In Rauner’s case it was billionaires & the business community, in Pritzker’s case it’s unions.

    Sen Dillard got around the blockaxe by turning to a big Dem donor - teacher’s union - & only lost the primary by 3%.

    Kennedy’s hopes rely on finding some outside the box donors because Pritzker (with a HUGE assist from the Speaker) shut down the union money


  4. - theCardinal - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    This isn’t Massachusetts


  5. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    Great! More ways Chris Kennedy can get out of showing up for campaign events.
    Dude nobody wants your kid or a cousin let alone nieces and nephews to do their event.
    Especially Southern Illinoisans
    Really hate resume padding
    Children of the wealthy
    Who take college/job slots
    That the hardworking honest folks
    Should have a shot at
    Will Kennedy’s fill administration slots?
    Chris Kennedy Jr as Dir of IDOR?
    Kick Kennedy as DHS Secretary?
    Sarah Kennedy as chair of ISBE?

    Man you’d be all over JB if he did this.
    Privileged Kennedy’s
    Get what they want I guess


  6. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:40 pm:

    Wait….what just happened? I was chanting a Biss mantra and I blacked out.


  7. - Responsa - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:40 pm:

    There are always both pluses and minuses when candidates bring family into the campaign structure. Sometimes they are too close to the candidate to be able to see the truth –and sometimes they are the *only* people who can see the truth and speak it to the candidate.

    I don’t know what the case will be with Chris. But I think that people who regularly mock him for being a Kennedy and say we’re not Massachusetts look rather foolish for not recognizing that Chris has lived and worked in IL most of his adult life, raised his family here and knows the state top to bottom. He’s no carpetbagger.


  8. - Spliff - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:40 pm:

    Family isn’t always bad. Not knowing Illinois has counties other than cook is a bad thing, not being able to raise money is a bad thing.


  9. - WSJ Paywall - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    I’m decently plugged into the gubernatorial race, but I’ve never met a single Kennedy staffer. Maybe this is part of the reason why?


  10. - Amalia - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    Mary Beth Sova is wonderful.


  11. - DuPage Bard - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:47 pm:

    The Kennedy clan generations of inside baseball politics. Now running as outsiders. Are all his relatives getting paid to be on the campaign as well?
    Candidates need to learn when they run for office to have their ideas, their personalities and their charm but let the professionals handle the rest. Where to be, who to talk with, how and when to do polling, create the mail pieces, direct the strategy, etc etc.
    Changing of the guard less than 100 days out is not a good strategy.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    This is not snark.

    This is very Kennedy. This is probably what I expected mints ago.

    As the story goes, “Bobby” Kennedy was the campaign manager for his brother, but his biggest role was playing “traffic cop” to those actual professionals doh g what they need to do, and keeping “Old Man” Joe Kennedy from gunming up the works.

    Only Bobby, as stories go, could keep the campaign itself running on full tilt with the Crew they had running the campaign.

    Kennedys make everything a family affair. That doesn’t mean they all are blindly ignorant to what professionals bring to winning campaigns (they’re spending enough on them) but they are trying (I’m guessing) to ingrane the family in the apparatus, and also trying to get the traffic coordinated, not necessarily orchestrated.

    A post-morten, win or lose, may show things different, but Kennedys coordinating chaos might not be the same as running the whole shop


  13. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    ===Mary Beth Sova is wonderful.===

    Agreed.


  14. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 1:06 pm:

    Bobby was ruthless, savvy, and savage when he needed to be. Chris ain’t Dad.


  15. - Anon0091 - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    “The biggest problem with Kennedy’s campaign has been Pritzker’s campaign”

    You sound like Rauner. It’s everybody’s fault but my own. The biggest problem with the Kennedy campaign is Chris Kennedy and the Kennedy campaign. Self-inflicted wounds all around right from the very beginning with that disastrous elevator encounter. Kennedy - who at the time was making the rounds with Madigan and others - proved to be a horrible candidate and failed to do what was necessary which opened the door for JB.


  16. - Red fish blue fish - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    ==This is very Kennedy. This is probably what I expected mints [sic] ago====

    I agree with OW. To be honest, I was concerned that there wasn’t a large presence of his children earlier on. From all my interactions with that family, I have left impressed with the maturity and intelligence of his children.

    It’s a family affair with the Kennedys and I’m glad to see Chris Jr taking on a large role.


  17. - prairiestatedem - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 1:38 pm:

    Since Chris Kennedy and Ra Joy were the only candidates in this race to actually get signatures from all 102 Counties of our state I would say they have shown they care about the state as a whole. The Kennedy family having a role in the operation is a pretty tried and true method from previous successful campaigns and as Rich made mention of there is a level of skill, talent and dedication Chris’ kids and family members have that will be proven on Election Day….Just wait and see


  18. - Joan - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 1:42 pm:

    Anyone but Rauner. We have been devastated by him.


  19. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    ==Since Chris Kennedy and Ra Joy were the only candidates in this race to actually get signatures from all 102 Counties of our state I would say they have shown they care about the state as a whole. The Kennedy family having a role in the operation is a pretty tried and true method from previous successful campaigns and as Rich made mention of there is a level of skill, talent and dedication Chris’ kids and family members have that will be proven on Election Day….Just wait and see==

    Look Junior we appreciate you stopping by and all, but maybe you should get back to running dads campaign? Surely there are more important things to be doing right now than commenting on Capfax. Thanks, and please say hi to Hanah Jubeh for us!


  20. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 3:06 pm:

    –…Mary Beth Sova has been brought in as finance director. Hanah Jubeh, a consultant who has served as Kennedy’s chief fundraiser, is not on the chart. –

    Wasn’t Bill Daley supposed to be the finance big hitter? Is he on the chart or the milk carton?


  21. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    I brought up the Dillard example for a reason - if Kennedy can raise $5 Million somehow someway he still has a very good shot of winning the nomination.


  22. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 3:23 pm:

    It’s not about the kid, it’s about the dad. If he only does call time when Junior says so, that’s bad. His son won’t be the only one advising him once he’s in office.


  23. - Anon0091 - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 3:32 pm:

    “if Kennedy can raise $5 Million somehow someway he still has a very good shot of winning the nomination.”

    And if I were 6′8″ with a decent jump shot maybe I could have played on the Bulls. Geez.


  24. - Little Lebowski Urban Achiever - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 3:54 pm:

    If JR is getting his Dad to be more focused, that can only be a good thing for the campaign. Leaders often bring in family to help because they know that they only one motivation: your success. As has happened time and time again in Kennedy campaigns. I think I remember reading that Chris Sr. ran his brother Joe’s first Congressional race.

    Also, anything that shakes up the fundraising operation is a good thing.

    I view this a significant positive for the Kennedy campaign.


  25. - Prairie Dog - Wednesday, Dec 20, 17 @ 6:52 pm:

    The truth of the matter is that this is a Pritzker state and not a Kennedy state. Pritzker has put together a large and polished campaign organization. He has excellent campaign advisors. Kennedy is way behind in organization and money. $5 million is not even remotely competitive against a top-notch Pritzker organization. Pritzker will be the next governor.


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