Bernie Sanders Campaign Shakes Up New Hampshire Operation

Senator Bernie Sanders has overhauled his New Hampshire state operations five months before the primary, as his campaign fights to maintain support in a state he won by more than 22 percentage points in 2016.

In a series of moves, the campaign has replaced the New Hampshire state director, Joe Caiazzo, with Shannon Jackson, who is a member of Mr. Sanders’s inner circle and who led the senator’s re-election campaign in Vermont last year. Mr. Caiazzo, who was Mr. Sanders’s political director in Massachusetts and Rhode Island during the 2016 campaign, has been named state director in Massachusetts.

The moves were announced to the campaign’s New Hampshire staff on Sunday.

“We feel really good about where we stand in New Hampshire right now,” said Faiz Shakir, the Sanders campaign manager. “The poll numbers, the volunteer capacity, the crowds that we have been getting at these events all suggest to us that we are in a very good position.”

He added: “Obviously, much work to do to continue that trend.”

The Sanders campaign also recently shook up its top leadership, promoting both Ari Rabin-Havt, the chief of staff, and Arianna Jones, the communications director, to the position of deputy campaign manager and bringing on a new senior communications adviser.

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Mr. Sanders’s campaign said the moves in New Hampshire and elsewhere are an attempt to expand his operations and organize supporters in the northeast as they look beyond the early states toward Super Tuesday, when several other New England states, including Senator Elizabeth Warren’s state of Massachusetts, will vote. The campaign recently hired a Maine state director, Ben Collings, a member of the Maine Legislature who ran Maine for Mr. Sanders’s 2016 campaign.

“This campaign is building up and spreading out over the next few months,” Mr. Shakir said.

But Mr. Sanders’s decision to shake up his campaign in first-in-the-nation New Hampshire, a state he almost certainly must win to have a chance at the nomination, underscores the challenges he faces in recreating the formula from his landslide victory there against Hillary Clinton.

Without the same mix of New Hampshire’s anti-establishment and progressive voters all to himself this time, he has fallen into the 20s in most polls, bunched up with Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ms. Warren at the top of the surveys in the state.

The rise of Ms. Warren, in particular, has created difficulties for Mr. Sanders because, like him, she is from a neighboring state and, also like him, appeals to much of the party’s left. Potentially even more threatening, she represents a new alternative for the voters who were mostly aligned with Mr. Sanders in 2016 to oppose Mrs. Clinton.

What gets less attention, but which some New Hampshire Democrats say helps explain Mr. Sanders’s challenges there, are the long-shot candidates: Andrew Yang, a former tech entrepreneur, Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Marianne Williamson, a best-selling self-help author, are drawing attention from the sort of avant-garde voters who had no such alternative options last cycle other than the Vermont senator.

New Hampshire Democrats said Mr. Caiazzo, who grew up in Massachusetts and last year ran the re-election campaign of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, was a traditional party operative and always something of an unusual fit for Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist whose campaign is about upending the establishment.

And increasingly, Mr. Sanders, in New Hampshire and across the country, is focused less on winning over traditional Democratic activists than he is in mobilizing volunteers as well as new supporters, particularly individuals who have not participated in past primaries, including independents and disaffected Republicans. New Hampshire Democrats also believe that Mr. Sanders did not have the sort of organization befitting the candidate who had won the state so overwhelmingly three years ago.

Mr. Jackson, who was previously the Sanders campaign’s northeast regional director, has worked with Mr. Sanders for years, including in his senate office in Burlington, Vt. He also helped start Our Revolution, the senator’s political advocacy group.

In a statement, Mr. Jackson said he was “honored to be taking on a more direct role in this critically important state” and praised the team there.

The campaign said it had recently added a campus outreach director and labor outreach director in New Hampshire as well.

Glenn Thrush contributed reporting.