Meet the backroom staff, advisers, spin doctors and pollsters behind Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The Federal Election Campaigns Act of 1971 gives each US presidential candidate the right to assemble a campaign organisation distinct from the national party staff. The group usually includes an inner circle of advisers who are close to the candidates.
The candidates' inner circle are often people who have either worked with them in previous campaigns, served them in comparable positions, or are long-term close acquaintances.
Whoever becomes President, they will certainly appoint many of his or her inner circle into powerful positions within the White House.
Bannon temporarily stood down as executive chairman of Brietbart News, a right-wing news organisation which favours Trump, to become his campaign chairman in August 2016. Bannon has been accused of using Breitbart as "Trump's personal Pravda". As campaign chairman he is considered to have made the Trump campaign return to the "bare-knuckles brawl" politics and populist rhetoric that had energised much of his primary run. Bannon's appointment has caused controversy as many news outlets have run stories about him involving a 20-year-old domestic-violence charge and an allegation of voter-registration fraud. A Bloomberg article last year described him as "the most dangerous political operative in America".
Conway has served as an adviser for Trump since July 2016 after working for a super PAC that supported Trump's primary rival, Senator Ted Cruz. Conway is a former attorney who now specialises as a gender gap expert who helps conservative politicians court female voters. In August 2016, Conway became the campaign manager for Trump replacing Corey Lewandowski who was fired in June. Media reports recently disclosed rather than uncovered $1.9m and counting in fees from federally registered political campaign committees during the election for strategic and polling advice.
Hicks keeps a low profile, rarely speaks in public, and according to AdWeek, has "deleted all of her social media accounts". The 27-year-old public relations professional had never worked on a political campaign and joined the Trump's campaign in 2016 after working with Trump's daughter, fashion designer Ivanka. Hicks is the go-to person for journalists covering Trump's White House bid. Hicks is reportedly integral to Trump's controversial Twitter posts and takes dictation from him on various subjects and then sends his thoughts to someone else to craft it into a tweet. Trump reportedly trusts her so much that she alone decides which media gets in and who's kept out of Trump's events.
Scavino is in charge of managing the social media messaging from the Trump campaign, he has worked for the Trump Organisation's golf division as the executive vice president and general manager of Trump National Golf Club. Scavino had been on the Trump campaign team since June 2015. According to various sources Scavino had been "working directly with Trump while managing his social media efforts". Scavino's work involves using Twitter to post images and videos covering Trump's campaign rallies and for attacking Hillary Clinton, including rapid responses. Scavino is another trusted Trump insider who has been brought in without any political experience to manage a presidential campaign.
Stone may no longer have an official role in Trump’s presidential campaign having left in August 2015, yet he remains an important influence on Trump. He is often called Trump’s "campaign confidant", "long-time ally" and "closest political adviser". A political campaigning veteran, Stone has built his reputation on controversy and dirty tricks. During his time on the Nixon campaign, for example, he reportedly created a fake identity, and made multiple donations to Nixon's opponent from the Young Socialist Alliance. He then tipped off a local newspaper about those donations, to prove Nixon's opponent was a left-wing extremist. His friendship with Trump matured in 2012, during Trump's campaign to question the validity of President Obama's birth certificate. Stone was credited with advising Trump on the strategy, and Stone himself called the accusations "brilliant" as "it gives voice to a concern shared by many on the right".
Pierson is the face of the Trump campaign, acting as a spokesperson for the Republican hopeful. Before joining the Trump team, she actually worked for Trump's former challenger, Senator Ted Cruz. A former Democrat, Pierson voted for President Obama in 2008, but decided to switch her affiliation to Tea Party Republicans after hearing that Obama did not wear an American flag pin on his lapel. Pierson's role is to bring tough-talking conservative messages with a Texas twang on to the screen. Pierson told the Dallas Morning News that much of her job "is to contextualise some of Trump's high-profile comments".
Trump's oldest daughter Ivanka has no official role in the campaign, however she is her father's most trusted confidante. As the second of three children from Trump's marriage to Ivana, Ivanka has always been close to her father. She has travelled across the country with him, joining the populist swirl of rallies and polling stations and quite often been used as a vote-puller for women voters. She introduced her father when he announced his candidacy, and also at the Republican convention. She has emerged as one of his most trusted advisers and the most effective defender. The 34-year-old serves as an executive vice president for her father's business.
In August 2016, Podesta was appointed to lead Hillary Clinton's presidential transition planning efforts, focusing on "creating lists of potential administration appointees and developing a roadmap for her policy agenda".
Podesta was President Bill Clinton's chief of staff in the White House and later the founder of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank. Podesta is also well-regarded by the Clintons and President Barack Obama. He stepped down earlier this year as Counsellor to Obama. His presence in the team is to steer a possible Hillary win to help integrate longtime Clinton allies and newer former Obama staffers. In July 2016, The New York Times reported that Podesta would have "the right of first refusal on becoming Clinton's chief of staff if she wins".
Abedin is seen as Clinton's shadow who manages operations in the campaign. She began working with Hillary Clinton as an intern when she was First Lady and went on to work as her aide when she was New York Senator and as deputy chief of staff during Clinton's years as secretary of state. In a 2016 Vanity Fair profile, the magazine summarised the relationship between Clinton and Abedin: "Wherever Hillary goes, Abedin goes". Abedin is involved at the highest level in discussions of tone, messaging and strategy for the campaign. Abedin is tipped to be deputy chief of staff if Clinton wins.
Mook was part of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008, directing the ground operations in Ohio, Indiana and Nevada, three states which she won. As campaign manager, Mook is responsible for strategy and messaging in all aspects of the campaign. Mook, in his mid-30s, is known for a calm, measured demeanour, an aversion to the spotlight and an interest in data, which resulted in The Guardian dubbing him as a "a political nerd who lives and dies by data". He has also served as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Benenson was Obama's chief pollster in 2008 which helped him defeat Hillary Clinton, also serving on the Obama team during 2012 election. Now on board, Benenson is Hillary Clinton's chief strategist and pollster, his chief work is in crafting campaign strategy based on the polling he and other strategists perform. Benenson's jobs before becoming a pollster in 1995, included working as a political journalist for the New York Daily News, a stint in beer distribution and a role in the knife sales industry.
Palmieri was senior vice president of the Center for American Progress. In 2011, Palmieri left CAP to join President Barack Obama's administration as deputy director of communications. In February 2015 Palmieri joined the Clinton campaign as communications director. Palmieri's responsibilities include press access and managing the messaging of the Clinton campaign and, ultimately, how to break through to the American people in a cluttered media world.
Sullivan is a senior policy adviser for Clinton and had previously served as a deputy policy director on her 2008 presidential campaign. As secretary of state, Clinton relied on Sullivan to establish the groundwork for a preliminary nuclear deal with Iran when he was deputy chief of staff, and later as director of policy planning. Sullivan is expected to become national security adviser under a Clinton presidency.
It is unclear what role Bill Clinton would have if his wife wins, but he is clearly a prominent voice as a counsel and confidant for her. He is a major asset to her and brings with him a cadre of friends and advisers. In a future Clinton administration, he has said he would be willing to sit in on cabinet meetings if asked, serving as a sort of benign elder statesman. He added, however: "I think it's better for me to give her my advice privately most of the time."