Jackie Burns, the communications director for U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, was among a group of political players named to senior staff positions with the Murphy for Governor 2021 campaign Friday. Burns will serve as deputy campaign manager.
The announcements, made by campaign manager Mollie Binotto, also included:
- Miguel Arreola, research director;
- Kaitlin Demchuk, digital director;
- Jerrel Harvey, senior press adviser;
- Rafi Jafri, finance director;
- Rob Long, treasurer.
Binotto said the group includes experienced campaign operatives with a diverse set of backgrounds and skills spanning both New Jersey and national politics.
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“From the beginning, Gov. (Phil) Murphy has been committed to building a talented and diverse campaign team that represents the very best of Democratic and progressive politics,” she said. “I’m proud to say that we’re assembling a first-in-class campaign leadership team committed to reaching voters all across the state and winning a second term for the governor.”
Additional senior staff hires will be announced in the weeks ahead.
Here’s a greater look at the six hires, with information provided by the campaign.
- Miguel Arreola, research director: During the 2020 campaign cycle, Arreola served as a regional research director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, directing research programs focused on competitive House races in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas and Florida. During the 2018 cycle, he spent a month as a field director for Xochitl Torres Small’s U.S. House campaign in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and is currently seeking his Master of Public Policy at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
- Jackie Burns, deputy campaign manager: Since 2019, Burns has served as communications director to Sherrill (D-11th Dist.), and previously served as communications director for Mikie Sherrill for Congress during the 2018 campaign cycle. Prior to that, she spent five years on Capitol Hill at the Office of the Historian for the U.S. House of Representatives. A native of Westfield, Burns earned her bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and holds master’s degrees from Columbia University and the London School of Economics.
- Kaitlin Demchuk, digital director: For the 2020 campaign cycle, Demchuk served as content director for Mark Kelly for Senate in Arizona, where she managed all organic content from Mission for Arizona, the Arizona Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign, and Kelly’s social media accounts. She executed the campaign’s messaging across digital platforms, including SMS, video and website copy. Previously, she served as digital strategist for the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab. During the 2018 campaign cycle, Demchuk served as deputy digital director for Bob Casey for Senate. She received her undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown.
- Jerrel Harvey, senior press adviser: He previously served as deputy press secretary in the Governor’s Office, serving as Murphy’s on-record spokesperson for issues including criminal justice, transportation, infrastructure, health care and community affairs. Prior to working for Murphy, Jerrel served as communications director for Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato (both D-Northfield) in South Jersey. He also served as deputy chief of staff for Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-Cinnaminson) and deputy campaign manager for Singleton for Senate and Conaway & Murphy for Assembly. He began his career as a diversity & inclusion coordinator for Proskauer Rose LLP in New York City. A native of Camden County and current resident of Voorhees, he is a graduate of La Salle University.
- Rafi Jafri, finance director: He most recently served as senior adviser to Murphy during his time as chair of the Democratic Governors Association. He served as finance director to Murphy’s 2018 Inaugural Committee and, prior to that, as finance director for the statewide Democratic coordinated campaign, Victory 2017. A New Jersey native, Jafri is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the DePaul University College of Law and currently resides in Bergen County with his wife and four children.
- Rob Long, treasurer: Long has nearly 40 years of organizational management experience spanning the private sector, government, nonprofits and campaigns, with a specialty in financial operations, budgeting, auditing and compliance. He most recently served as a deputy commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, with a focus on Atlantic City’s municipal operations. He previously served as executive vice president of D&R Long Associates, chief operating officer of Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster, commissioner on the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, executive vice president of the Entrepreneur Equity Corp. and executive vice president of the New Jersey Community Development Corp. He is a veteran of a number of prior New Jersey gubernatorial campaigns, including for Murphy, Jim McGreevey and Jim Florio. Long earned his Master of Divinity at Drew Theological School and served as pastor at First United Methodist Church in Sea Bright, where he lives with his wife, Dina, and son, Samuel. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and an undergraduate degree from Dickinson College.