Politics

Warren Taps Reid Aide Orthman as Senior Political Adviser

Massachusetts native will work for home state senator

Kristen Orthman, right, will be a senior adviser to Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has brought on a top leadership aide to Sen. Harry Reid as a senior adviser to her political operation.

Kristen Orthman, who hails from the Boston suburbs, will be going to work for the Massachusetts Democrat after a run as communications director in the retired Nevada senator’s leadership office, as well as a senior adviser to the Nevada State Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 campaign cycle.

Warren, who in her first term as a senator has been a favorite of the liberal base and a persistent voice against President Donald Trump, faces re-election in Massachusetts in 2018.

The seat is rated Solid Democratic by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales/Roll Call, so the obvious question will be if Warren is bolstering her political apparatus in advance of a potential challenge for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

The Nevada Democrats basically ran the table in 2016, even as Republicans trounced Democrats elsewhere across the country.

Longtime Nevada political analyst Jon Ralston noted on Twitter that Reid has already encouraged Warren to run for the White House in 2020, and that with the hire of Orthman, there’s “no need for an election.”

Warren spoke with reporters in Worcester, Mass., on Thursday about Reid’s advice, which reportedly came at a meeting before Thanksgiving.

“I thought that was a very generous suggestion from Senator Reid, but not something that I'm thinking about,” Warren said, according to MassLive.com.

Matt House, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s communications director who worked in the Senate Democratic “war room” with Orthman, praised the hire.

“Kristen knows Massachusetts and she knows politics. She’ll be a great asset to Senator Warren and her team,” said House, who was a spokesman for the Massachusetts Democratic Party before joining Schumer’s team.

Orthman informed her contacts of the new role Friday morning.

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