Tad Devine, Julian Mulvey and Mark Longabaugh said they would not work for Sanders' 2020 campaign. Their firm was behind Sanders' 2016 media strategy, including a 60-second television spot titled "America" that included the Simon and Garfunkel song by that name.
"We are leaving because we believe that Sen. Sanders deserves to have media consultants who share his creative vision for the campaign," Devine, Longabaugh and Mulvey said in a statement. While his 2016 campaign stunned the Democratic establishment with its insurgent energy, it was also criticized for failing to appeal to people of color and for treating women poorly.
Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement "the campaign appreciates all the good work DML has done and wishes them well." With the campaign in its early days, Sanders already is signaling that he's seeking to professionalize his operation. Shakir recently joined Sanders' team after working as the political director for the American Civil Liberties Union.
His previous campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, has been criticized for not responding sufficiently to allegations of sexual harassment on the 2016 campaign. He remains a senior adviser to the 2020 operation.
Sanders is among the most well-known Democrats in a crowded field. He has already showcased his impressive fundraising prowess, outpacing his rivals by raising $10 million in the first week. Sanders will hold a pair of rallies this weekend to formally launch his campaign. The events, which will happen in Brooklyn, where he was born, and Chicago, where he attended college and participated in civil rights protests, are aimed at more effectively presenting his personal narrative.
__ Associated Press writer Elana Schor in Washington contributed reporting.