Jovanni Ortiz in talks for potential Harris job

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Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to the National Congress of American Indians’ 78th Annual Convention, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, from the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(The Hill) — Jovanni Ortiz, a long-time communications official in Democratic circles, is in talks to join the Biden administration, potentially in a top communications role in Vice President Harris’ office, two sources familiar with the discussions told The Hill.

One source said Ortiz has been in touch with Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to President Biden who left her White House job over the summer, about joining the administration.

Another source said the exact role Ortiz could take in Harris’ office is still in flux, and that the role of communications director could undergo some restructuring as new hires are made.

Ortiz was an early backer of Harris’ presidential campaign during the 2020 Democratic primary, and Ortiz’s Twitter photo is an image of him with Harris while wearing one of her campaign T-shirts.

He frequently tweets about the administration, including as recently as Friday morning when he shared criticism by Sanders of media coverage of the vice president’s trip to Charlotte a day earlier.

“He was an early supporter of her, and is seen as someone who can aggressively rehabilitate her current image and that of her office,” one Biden ally said.

Discussions about bringing Ortiz into the vice president’s office come amid a shakeup in her press team after several weeks of difficult headlines and reports of dysfunction and frustration about how she is being used within the administration.

Communications director Ashley Etienne and press secretary Symone Sanders are both slated to depart their jobs in Harris’ office by the end of the year. Sanders in an email denied that Ortiz was in talks to potentially take a communications role in Harris’ office.

Ortiz has worked in a variety of communications roles, as well as in the real estate business. He previously worked for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, New York State Assembly Democrats and a non-profit that finds obs for individuals who were recently incarcerated.

White House officials downplayed the timing of various exits from her office, saying officials like Sanders had been working dating back to the 2020 campaign and were ready for a change.

Alex Gangitano contributed.

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