Thirty-five percent of Joe Biden’s full-time staff are people of color, a Biden campaign aide told CNN, while 36% of senior staff are people of color. Both senior staff and full-time staff are majority women, with 53% full-time staff and 58% of senior staff identifying as female. Five percent of staff chose not to specify, the aide told CNN.
The newly disclosed data does not indicate a full breakdown of staffers based on race and ethnicity.
Alida Garcia, the co-founder of Inclusv, a diversity in politics group, told CNN that the firm is “excited” to see the Biden campaign “hit this great first step toward transparency around the makeup of their team,” but pointed out that there is “obviously room for growth.”
“We have optimism that they’ll be able to maybe even beat the numbers where Hillary Clinton ended up at her campaign,” Garcia said.
Per the aide, senior staff includes department heads, senior advisers, deputy campaign managers, and senior consultants who spend the majority of their time on the campaign, and others. The aide notes that the campaign is still continuing the hiring process and expects to continue to add key leaders across the campaign.
The release of the data comes after Biden was pressed on the diversity of his top staff during a town hall focusing on issues affecting Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and amid a growing national conversation on racial justice and inclusion.
Biden affirmed to the question-asker that it was and directed his staff to release diversity data after the event.
“We’ll release the diversity data today when we get off this call. We’ll call you, and the fact of the matter is we have a very diverse staff. And we have a diverse staff that goes across the board, in high level and senior positions,” Biden said.
Garcia told CNN that Inclusv has been working with the campaign for months on building a diverse team and previewed that they will work in tandem in the coming weeks to hold seminars and events for people of color who are interested in being involved in the campaign.
Pointing to the lack of specificity in the released data, Garcia said, “Giving each community a better understanding of where they stand within the organization is really important both for the organization to self-reflect to make sure that they’re building the teams in states that reflect the voters of the states but for outside entities to assess how much of a seat at the table they truly have.”
“At a minimum, we believe that democratic campaigns should be reflective of the voters that make up their vote shares for their pathways to victory,” Garcia said.
Biden has often touted the diversity of his team on the campaign trail, telling voters who questioned how he would be an inclusive president to, “look at my staff.” He’s also long made a pledge that he will have a diverse administration that “looks like America,” though his campaign recently would not provide diversity data to BuzzFeed News when asked.
In response to the specific question Biden was asked Saturday about Asian American and Pacific Islander representation during the town hall, the campaign noted that AAPI senior leaders on the campaign include the campaign’s chief financial officer, chief operating officer, national voter protection director, digital chief of staff, director of digital partnerships and surrogates director.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Inclusv.