Kunoor Ojha: Sanders’ top student organizer, hired by Clinton campaign

Kunoor Ojha: Sanders' top student organizer, hired by Clinton campaign

Kunoor Ojha, an Indian American, who was previously part of the 74-year-old Bernie Sanders campaign, will serve on Clinton’s campaign as the national campus and student organizing director. In an ongoing effort to extend her campaign’s reach into the younger demographic, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and her campaign team announced June 9 it hired Indian American

Clinton’s announcement of the Illinois-based youth activist Ojha’s hire came hours after President Barack Obama virtually extinguished Sanders’ run for the White House by endorsing his former secretary of state.

Ojha began her political activism as a field organizer on the ‘Obama for America’ campaign in Chicago in 2011, and worked in various state-level campaigns before joining the Sanders bandwagon in 2015. The campaign’s outreach to students, fuelled primarily by the pledge to make college tuition free, saw America’s youth flock to him.

Sanders attracted more support from voters under 30 years old than Clinton and Donald Trump put together — 71 percent in a two-vote race — which kept him in the nomination hunt long after it became clear he wouldn’t make the cut.

Early in the race, Sanders was beating Clinton 84-to-14 among Democrats under 29. Even in the 30-to-44 demographic, he had a 21 percent lead. It was only in the 45-to-64 age group that Clinton retrieved ground (58 percent to 35 percent), increasing it to 69 percent to 26 percent in the 65 and up age group.

Now the Clinton campaign is moving quickly to ensure that the Sanders’ youth brigade remains firmly in the Democratic fold. Although there is little danger of them bolting to the Trump camp — a Harvard Institute of Politics poll earlier this year found 61 percent of voters under 30 would back Clinton, compared to 25 percent for Trump in a two-way race — they want to ensure a high youth turnout. That’s where Ojha comes in.

Ojha has plenty of experience in this area, having worked as a field director for political campaigns tasked with organizing volunteers and ensuring Election Day turn-out. Of course, it will need a lot more to win over the youth, many of whom believe Clinton is part of the “establishment” regardless of political colors.

Kunoor Ojha, the first senior aide to move from the Sanders campaign to Clinton’s, will join Anne Hubert, formerly of Viacom, and Sarah Audelo, who’s worked as a political and field director at Rock the Vote. Hubert will be advising Clinton on multiplatform messaging, outreach and producing content for younger voters. Hubert has also worked in development and programming for MTV and mtvU, MTV’s college network. Ojha will serve as national campus and student organizing director.

Subscribe to our Newsletter