An experienced political operative, former Rhode Island Democrats executive director will work to continue party’s progress and growth

Update: Olasanoye released the following statement on Facebook:

It has been an absolute honor to serve as the Rhode Island Democratic Party Executive Director for the past two years. However, after some serious deliberation, I have decided to take on another exciting opportunity.

In reflecting on my time at the RIDP, I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish by working together. Our electoral successes in the 2018 cycle include sending every member of our congressional delegation back to Washington to continue standing up to President Trump and his disastrous agenda. Here in the Ocean State, we made history by re-electing Governor Raimondo and all of the general officers, as well as adding more Democrats to the ranks in the General Assembly. I am especially proud of the partnerships we have built with our city and town committees, which helped deliver decisive and resounding victories all across our state from Barrington and East Greenwich to Smithfield and Portsmouth.

I do not make this decision lightly. Instead, I do so knowing that the infrastructure that our party has built is stronger than ever. I am confident that Chairman McNamara’s leadership will lead to more success at the ballot box in 2020 and beyond. While I may not be with you on a daily basis, I will most assuredly be fighting alongside you as we continue to work together towards a more perfect union where everyone has a real opportunity to succeed.

I am truly honored to have gotten the chance to work in the state I grew up in with some of the most outstanding public servants and committed party activists in the country. More than that, I am thankful for the trust you placed in me two years ago to lead this fantastic organization.

Now onto the next challenge…

The New Jersey Democratic State Committee (NJDSC) has hired Tolulope Kevin Olasanoye as its new Executive Director. An experienced political operative, Olasanoye most recently served as the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Democratic Party and previously worked on President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, as well as many others on the federal, state and local levels. He replaces Liz Gilbert, who recently started a new position as President of the Milwaukee 2020 Democratic National Convention Host Committee. Olasanoye will officially start on August 5, and Gilbert will also continue to serve as an advisor to Governor Phil Murphy and NJDSC.

“Democrats across the country are taking notice that Governor Phil Murphy is leading New Jersey in a more progressive direction, and that inspiring leadership is a major reason why I was attracted to this position where I will be able to join in that fight,” said Olasanoye. “I can’t wait to get to work in helping NJDSC continue growing its impact and reach and pushing to elect more Democrats at all levels.” 

Olasanoye holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Roger Williams University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Rhode Island. He was the Connecticut GOTV Director for the Obama 2012 campaign, responsible for recruiting and training volunteers, creating and executing organizing plans and coordinating with grassroots activists to support the President’s campaign and agenda. Kevin has also worked on numerous other campaigns as well as in the public sector with leadership positions at the City of Providence, Rhode Island. 

“Kevin is a rising star in our party and I’m thrilled that he will be leading our excellent team at the New Jersey Democratic State Committee,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “He has big shoes to fill in succeeding Liz Gilbert, whose leadership helped contribute to unprecedented midterm wins. I’m confident Kevin is the right choice to continue the tremendous progress our party has made in the last year and a half.” 

Since Governor Murphy took office in January 2018, NJDSC has significantly expanded its operations, fundraising and capabilities. The party provided crucial staffing and operational support to Senator Bob Menendez’s re-election campaign as well as the campaigns of victorious challengers Mikie Sherill, Tom Malinowski and Andy Kim. NJDSC has also invested significantly in the party’s future, holding numerous training events for hundreds of future candidates and operatives that are helping to build a bench that will continue to carry the party’s message and ideals forward. 

“After several years of unprecedented victories, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee has never been in a stronger position, and I’m elated to welcome someone of Kevin Olasanoye’s experience to our team as we continue to become even stronger,“ said NJDSC Chairman John Currie. “We’re doing more to help elect Democrats at every level than ever before, and I know that Kevin will be an important part of those continuing efforts as we work to grow our Assembly majority and win county and municipal elections throughout our State.” 

In addition to dramatically enhancing the party’s capabilities, NJDSC has focused extensively on connecting with the rapidly growing grassroots progressive movement in the state and harnessing the energy it’s creating in communities across New Jersey to help win elections. Olasanoye will continue those efforts, with introductory meetings planned for the next several weeks with leaders from many of the influential groups that are reshaping the conversation about progressive change in the state. 

“As Chair of the Somerset County Democrats I have seen up close what can happen when grassroots energy is met with organizational support from our state party, and the result is unprecedented victories for Democrats,” said NJDSC Vice Chair Peg Schaffer. “Kevin Olasanoye understands this as well, and I am thrilled that he is joining our team and will be working with us to make a difference in New Jersey.”

[From a press release]