Sean Downey named New England director of ‘Ready for Hillary’ SuperPAC
By JOHN DiSTASO, News Editor
A top Democratic operative with long-time ties to New Hampshire will lead the growing group urging Hillary Clinton to run for President.
The New Hampshire Journal has learned that Sean Downey was announced Monday night as the New England director of the Ready for Hillary SuperPAC that has been laying the groundwork for a potential Clinton candidacy for President.
The announcement was made at a gathering of the Ready for Hillary leadership by Terry Shumaker, the state’s senior adviser to the group, a long-time friend of Hillary and former President Bill Clinton and a former ambassador in the Clinton administration.
The Ready for Hillary post caps a steady rise for Downey in New Hampshire Democratic politics. He recently stepped down as state director of U.S. Rep. Ann Kuster’s congressional office and was the 2012 state political director of President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign.
Downey was previously political director of former Gov. John Lynch’s 2010 reelection campaign and in 2008 was political director for the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary campaign of former Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd.
He was finance director of the New Hampshire Senate Democratic Caucus in 2006, after serving as a key staffer on former Connecticut U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman’s presidential campaign in 2004.
As far back as 2002, Downey was political and field director for the Manchester City Democrats, after graduating from Holy Cross College.
The naming of Downey as New England director clearly signals that Ready for Hillary is moving to a new phase as it organizes the first-primary state for a potential Clinton candidacy. Clinton won the 2008 first-in-the-nation primary, which set the stage for a long nomination campaign against Obama.
Shumaker became senior adviser of Ready for Hillary last year and began meeting with and organizing the group with the help of top Democratic activists, including former state party chair Kathy Sullivan, and 2008 Obama campaign co-chairs Jim Demers and Ned Helms.
In January, top national Ready for Hillary adviser Craig Smith visited the state and spoke at a lunch at Executive Council Chris Pappas’ Puritan Back Room Restaurant. In mid-March, Ready for Hillary executive director Adam Parkhomenko and communications director Seth Bringman hosted a lunch they said was attended by 80 state House and Senate members, including House Speaker Terie Norelli and Senate Democratic leader Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord.
Shumaker played a key role in organizing the event and those visits.