Mitchell has a background in campaigns and community organizing, and he becomes the first African-American to hold the post of running the state party’s day-to-day operations. He has been a member of the legislature since 2013 and lives in Bronzeville.
He fills the vacancy created when House Speaker Michael Madigan in early June dropped Mapes, who served as his chief of staff since 1992 and executive director of the state Democratic Party since 1998. Mapes’ departure came after House staffer Sherri Garrett accused him of harassment and bullying.
Mitchell was selected by a panel made up of the party’s 18 state committeewomen and chaired by state Rep. Juliana Stratton, the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor on the ticket with governor candidate J.B. Pritzker.
Mitchell previously served as Midwest director of paid media and polling for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, a senior adviser for Tammy Duckworth’s U.S. Senate campaign, former campaign aide to Attorney General Lisa Madigan and former Ald. Will Burns, director of external affairs for Cook County government under Board President Toni Preckwinkle and a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago.
“I look forward to doing the work necessary to assure Democratic victories up and down the ticket and charting a new and inclusive path forward for our party,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Together, I know we can build a party that represents the diversity of our state, listens to our young people and relentlessly fights for the values that make Illinois strong.”