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Clinton California Campaign Director Expecting Victory -- and a Baby

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Hillary Clinton's California campaign director. Buffy Wicks, is expecting her first child on Election Day. (Scott Shafer/KQED)

Hillary Clinton's California campaign director, Buffy Wicks, and her husband, Peter, found out in early March she was pregnant with their first child. Due date: Nov. 8 -- Election Day.

Wicks, 39, jokes that her first thought was: "Do they have CNN in the delivery room?"

"This will be the first time I haven't been in a campaign boiler room on election night," Wicks said this week.

A veteran political strategist and native Californian, Wicks steered Clinton to a crucial victory in California's June primary, beating back a surging effort by Sen. Bernie Sanders. It earned her the name "Buffy the Bernie Slayer."

Working for Hillary Clinton this election cycle meant coming full circle after running Barack Obama's unsuccessful California primary campaign against Clinton in 2008.


Wicks went on to direct the Obama campaign's effort to win Missouri, a decided reach for any Democrat. But Wicks and her team of grass-roots organizers made it a real nail-biter, with Obama losing the state by just 0.1 percent of the vote.

After the election, Wicks worked in the Obama administration, becoming deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. She later became national Operation Vote director for Obama's 2012 re-election.

Wicks has been a political animal from a young age. In 1991 she was voted student body president of Foresthill Divide Middle School in Placer County. Something of a rabble-rouser, Wicks jokes "I was almost impeached for shaving off the bottom of my hair."

Some might underestimate a woman named Buffy. But don't be fooled: Wicks is a competitor. (Full disclosure: I know this from personal experience, having played water polo with her on the San Francisco Tsunami co-ed team).

She dipped her toe into the deep end of politics right out of high school, working for Democrat Katie Hirning of El Dorado County against ultraconservative Republican congressman John Doolittle in 1996. Hirning was trounced, but Wicks was undaunted and eventually found her way back to electoral politics.

The thought of helping to elect the nation's first female president while carrying a baby girl is "poetic," Wicks says. "There's something special about that."

Wicks says in the midst of 12-hour days, Clinton has been "so motherly, asking if I'm getting enough food and water." She and her husband, gun control advocate Peter Ambler, will not be naming their daughter Hillary, however. They've chosen Josephine, after her aunt, Kitty Jo.

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