Clinton Hires Dick Durbin Staffer To Lead Latino Outreach In Colorado

Gabe Rodriguez who worked for Sen. Dick Durbin and former Sen. Mark Udall joins Clinton as a ramp up in Super Tuesday states begins.

Hillary Clinton has hired Gabe Rodriguez as Latino outreach director in Colorado, BuzzFeed News has learned.

Rodriguez who worked on economic policy for Sen. Dick Durbin and on the failed reelection campaign for former senator Mark Udall in the 2014 Democratic wipeout, will lead strategy for Hispanic outreach and is considered a top young operative with connections in the state that Clinton could use, as Bernie Sanders continues to show strength with young people.

"He’s a good addition, he’s got a good network," said Mannie Rodriguez, a Colorado superdelegate supporting Clinton, who serves as the DNC Hispanic caucus finance chair. "He’s going to bring a lot of the millennials to the party and to the Hillary campaign.

Gabe Rodriguez spent time as a carpenter and electrician, before joining Udall's campaign as deputy political director. That campaign, which lost to now Sen. Cory Gardner, was criticized by advocates at the time for waiting too long to embrace immigration contrasts with the Republican.

Mannie Rodriguez, who watched presentations from both campaigns at the Colorado Democratic Latino Summit in January, said Clinton's Latino outreach — including Latino-to-Latino phone banks in the state — has impressed.

"Out of 100 people [watching the presentations] maybe only 5 or 10 were Sanders supporters," he said.

Asked if Clinton needs an operative like Gabe Rodriguez to help bolster her youth support in the state, Mannie Rodriguez said it's about more than that in the Super Tuesday state.

"We need all of the groups, to get them to the caucus," he said. "That’s what we’re working on."

While the Clinton campaign has been centered on the first four states, and will turn its focus after New Hampshire to Nevada and South Carolina where Hispanic and black voters will be crucial in the coming weeks, it is starting to do more in the March states as well.

On Saturday, national political director Amanda Renteria canvassed with Rep. Joaquin Castro in the San Antonio neighborhood where Clinton registered Latino voters more than 40 years ago.

This coming Saturday, Clinton will attend the Colorado Democratic Party's annual dinner.

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