By Renae Reints
February 26, 2019

Three of Senator Bernie Sanders’ top strategists have departed his 2020 campaign, citing creative differences.

Tad Devine, Mark Longabaugh, and Julian Mulvey were all integral parts of Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid, but the three are leaving the Independent senator’s campaign just a week after its initial launch.

“We are leaving because we believe that Sen. Sanders deserves to have media consultants who share his creative vision for the campaign,” Devine, Longabaugh, and Mulvey said in a joint statement, according to NBC News.

Their consulting firm reportedly made $5.3 million from Sanders’ 2016 run, a sizable number that’s come under fire from supporters of the campaigns’ small-donation fundraising. Devine, in particular, has faced criticism for his consulting work with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in Ukraine, NBC reports.

The strategists’ departure comes just after Sanders’ hired Faiz Shakir—the national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — as his 2020 campaign manager. According to Jonathan Martin of the New York Times, Shakir’s hiring pointed to a more organized structure than the 2016 campaign.

Although it’s been just a week since the launch, Sanders’ 2020 bid has been markedly successful in its grassroots outreach. In the first 24 hours of his campaign, Sanders received $5.9 million from about 223,000 donors. Within the first six days, one million people signed up to support his campaign.

Sanders will still need to overcome reports that his 2016 campaign perpetuated a culture of sexism and harassment. The senator has twice publicly apologized for the alleged behavior, after first saying he was too busy to be aware of the mistreatment.

He has since pledged to make his 2020 campaign leadership less white and male-oriented.

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