Sonal Shah is taking a step away from her post at Georgetown University to assist in the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg’s campaign announced the hiring of Shah as national policy director, as well as Jess O’Connell as the senior adviser.
Politico reports that the Buttigieg campaign hired Shah and O’Connell as the South Bend, Indiana, mayor tries to beef up his policy bona fides.
Shah is taking a leave of absence from Georgetown University, where she was the founding executive director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation.
The Indian American was a deputy assistant to the president during the Obama administration and previously worked at Google, Goldman Sachs and the Clinton-era Treasury Department.
Shah's hiring comes after Buttigieg released policy proposals on National Service and his Douglass Plan, aimed at African Americans. Buttigieg plans to roll out additional policy proposals in the coming weeks, according to the campaign, CNN reported.
The hirings are the most high-profile additions the campaign has made since it announced raising $24.9 million in the second fundraising quarter of 2019, the highest total in the Democratic field, according to the Politico report.
Buttigieg's campaign is planning to expand rapidly in the third quarter, the report said.
Buttigieg started exploring his presidential bid in January with four employees. Months after that soft launch, the campaign has 250 people on staff, according to an aide, and will continue to hire into the third quarter with investments in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and California, according to the aide, CNN said.
While Buttigieg's operation and campaign bank account have grown significantly over the last month, his standing in the polls has not.
Buttigieg, after polling as high as 10 percent in late April in a Quinnipiac University poll, has consistently polled nationally between 4 percent and 7 percent in more recent polling, including a CNN poll released earlier this month that found the mayor at 4 percent nationally.
Buttigieg has largely dismissed the lack of growth in the polls, telling reporters that he believes his fundraising haul proves he has a message that, once voters hear from him, will resonate, the report said.
He also told CNN that he does not believe he is a candidate that only appeals to people able to donate to campaigns.