Sources have told City&State PA that Lauren Hitt, a spokesperson and close aide to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, will exit the administration in January.
Multiple City Hall sources, both inside and outside the Mayor’s Office, acknowledged that Hitt has made plans to leave the administration. Several sources said she is bound for Democrat Randy Bryce’s high-profile campaign against U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.
Hitt’s move is consistent with her penchant for working with progressive candidates: Before joining Kenney’s 2015 mayoral campaign, Hitt did communications work for 2014 Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio during his successful 2013 bid for office. Both those efforts were helmed by Hilltop Strategies consultant Bill Hyers, who is now managing Bryce’s quest to unseat the Republican House Speaker.
Few in City Hall are closer to the mayor than his Director of Communications. A University of Pennsylvania alumna, Hitt returned to Philadelphia to serve on lawyer Ken Trujillo’s short-lived mayoral bid in the 2015 race. After he abruptly dropped out, Hitt and other staffers quickly migrated to then-Councilman Kenney’s nascent campaign.
Along with campaign manager Jane Slusser, Hitt was widely credited with keeping the sometimes-loose-lipped South Philly pol on message during a race that saw him initially counted out as a longshot late arrival.
After his victory, Hitt followed Kenney into City Hall as his top spokesperson. Sources in City Council have frequently commented on the strong influence both Slusser and Hitt have retained over Kenney and his agenda while in the Mayor’s Office.
Deputy Communications Director Mike Dunn is expected to succeed Hitt, sources said. She did not respond to multiple requests for comment.