03 August 2017

Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation hired a top presidential pollster

President Zuckerberg?
President Zuckerberg?

Image: LISA HORNAK/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

For someone who insists he has no interest in running for office, Mark Zuckerberg is really, really good at surrounding himself with top political strategists.

The latest: Zuckerberg’s philanthropic foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, has reportedly hired Joel Benenson, who was the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The hire was first reported by Politico’s Annie Karni, who reports that the former pollster’s company will be “conducting research” for the organization. A spokesperson for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

As Politico points out, Benenson’s company has worked with a bunch of nonprofits in the past, but the latest move still raised more than few eyebrows, adding fuel to speculation that the Facebook exec is laying the groundwork for a potential political campaign.

Even though Zuckerberg insists that he is definitely not running for office, his recent actions have done little to quiet that speculation. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative previously hired David Plouffe, Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, as president of policy and advocacy.

He’s also in the midst of a year-long tour of all 50 states that just so happens to have brought him through Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, and other swing states. There’s also a probably-not-very-serious super PAC pushing him to make a run in 2020. You know, just in case.

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