Hillary Clinton is putting her future in the hands in a 35-year-old gay man. Robby Mook is going to the manager of Clinton’s presidential campaign manager, a high-profile, high-pressure job with the potential for a big reward–or black eye.
Mook has quite the resume. At 16, he was organizing phone banks in his native New Hampshire for the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign. At 23, he was running Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in New Hampshire. At 27, he was responsible for three key victories in Hillary’s unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Somewhere along the line, he found the time to get a degree in classics in Columbia University. (Yes, Mook actually reads ancient Greek.)
In many ways, Mook is taking on a thankless job. Hillaryland is known for its dysfunction. Clinton’s 2008 campaign was marked by internal chaos, backstabbing leaks, and general disarray. (There’s a reason why her opponent styled himself “No Drama Obama.”) Not only will he be responsible for keeping the candidate on message. He’ll have to rein in her famously wayward husband.
But Mook has a track record of bringing discipline to previously undisciplined candidates. He ran Terry McAuliffe’s successful campaign for Virginia governor in 2013, and McAuliffe had a well-earned reputation as a loose cannon candidate. By all accounts, Mook is not only good at what he does, but he’s well liked by the people who work for him.
He’s also self-effacing. Mook won’t be hogging the spotlight. He expects the campaign to be low-key. At a staff meeting, Mook made it clear that humility has to be a campaign theme and the campaign’s culture.
As for Mook’s personal life: Mook is doing his best to break all the stereotypes. He doesn’t have a Facebook page; he’s forgotten his Twitter password. He dresses in chinos and simple dress shirts.
But Mook is married–to the campaign. Don’t expect to see much of him or hear much about him, at least as long as the candidate is doing well. If not, we may see the worst of Hillaryland coming back. Of course, it won’t earn Clinton any points with the LGBT community if she trashes or cans the first openly gay man to run a major presidential campaign.
Photo credit: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee