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Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders hire SC staff as 2020 campaign activity ramps up

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Klobuchar Greenville (copy)

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar visited Greenville in February for her first presidential campaign visit to South Carolina. The Minnesota Democrat has hired a veteran political operative from Charleston to lead her S.C. efforts. File/Jamie Lovegrove/Staff

COLUMBIA — Two more 2020 presidential candidates have hired campaign staff in South Carolina as the Democratic primary race ramps up.

Angela Kouters, a veteran political operative who lives in Charleston and began her career working for the late U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings, will lead U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's efforts in the Palmetto State, a campaign aide told The Post and Courier Thursday.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has brought on a team of six South Carolinians to manage his campaign in the state, spearheaded by former Charleston City Council member Kwadjo Campbell.

Klobuchar and Sanders join seven other candidates with full-time staff on the ground in South Carolina: U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bennet, former Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke and self-help author Marianne Williamson.

A College of Charleston graduate, Kouters brings an extensive political background to Klobuchar's campaign.

After starting with Hollings, she went on to work for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as chief of staff for three U.S. House members and as director of legislative affairs for two federal agencies in the Obama administration.

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She even spent a stint in 2017 working as chief of staff for another eventual 2020 candidate: Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.

Joining Campbell on Sanders' state campaign team is Jessica Bright, who was political director for U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham's upset victory in the Lowcountry's 1st Congressional District last year; Michael Wukela, a veteran S.C. communications adviser; field organizer Ernest Boston Jr, an alum of Sanders' 2016 campaign; and political strategists Raymond Corley and Isaac Williams Jr.

"We’re very excited to have a team that isn’t just experienced, energetic and talented, but is also very much rooted in the Palmetto State," Campbell said. "That was a deliberate decision when we were putting together this team, and I am absolutely convinced it was the right one."

Both Klobuchar and Sanders are among 19 candidates who have now confirmed that they will speak at the S.C. Democratic Party's annual convention next month in Columbia.

2020 SC Presidential Candidate Tracker

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

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