Taveras taps Kedem, who quit Weiner’s campaign, for gov bid

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has found his campaign manager.

Taveras has hired Danny Kedem – who made headlines in July when he quit Anthony Weiner’s doomed comeback campaign over renewed sexting allegations – to lead the first-term Democrat’s bid for the gubernatorial nomination, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told WPRI.com on Wednesday.

Kedem started work on the Taveras campaign late last week, this person said. Before taking the job in Rhode Island he was a strategist for Human Rights Campaign, the gay-rights advocacy group. Taveras kicked off his campaign on Monday and was in Washington for a fundraising trip on Wednesday.

The news about Kedem’s hiring comes the same day as the resignations of two of Taveras’s most influential aides at Providence City Hall, Arianne Lynch and Matt Jerzyk. They will not be joining his campaign.

Kedem has worked on a long list of Democratic campaigns, including Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential run. (Taveras backed John Edwards in that race.) He also managed New Haven Mayor John DeStafno Jr.’s 2011 re-election bid and earlier worked on the campaigns of U.S. Sens. Kay Hagan and Claire McCaskill.

But it’s Kedem’s work with Weiner, the liberal former congressman who made a botched bid for New York City mayor this year, that is likely to attract the most attention. Kedem jumped ship when it emerged that Weiner had continued to exchange lewd photos and messages with women online despite saying he’d stopped.

“The 31-year-old Kedem was credited with helping Weiner pull into the lead among the crowded field of Democratic primary candidates before the latest revelations about Weiner’s raunchy online exchanges with women,” The Associated Press reported after Kedem’s resignation.

Apparently there were no hard feelings: Weiner told NY1 Kedem “did a remarkable job.”

The Taveras campaign later confirmed Kedem’s hiring. “Danny brings a wealth of experience managing campaigns. He will be an asset to the team,” Taveras said in a statement. “He brings integrity and hard work to his job and we are happy to have him.”

Taveras is expected to face formidable competition in the Democratic primary from Treasurer Gina Raimondo and possibly another candidate, Clay Pell, grandson of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell.

The mayor had a bit less than $700,000 on hand as of June 30. His advisers include Washington operative J.B. Poersch, the former longtime chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

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