Kevin Renard Harris, the chief spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for two years, is returning to the Obama administration as a media specialist for the Peace Corps.
Although Harris is the first senior-level defection since Rawlings-Blake announced last Friday that she is not running for reelection, rumors that he was job-hunting have been circulating for months. (Harris denied them to The Brew.)
Harris was paid $125,000-a-year as director of the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Communications, which was recently renamed the Mayor’s Office of Public Affairs.
Hidden from View
The 31-year-old was an unassuming, buttoned-down presence in City Hall.
He made a point of listening to Rawlings-Blake’s weekly “press availability” from the doorway of a side room, hidden from the TV cameras, and made himself accessible to some news organizations and shunned others.
He got his start in politics by working for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and later served as regional press secretary for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and at the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.
After Rawlings-Blake was named secretary of the DNC in 2013, Harris was recommended as a successor to her previous spokesman, Ryan O’Doherty.
For a brief spell in 2013, Harris worked for the mayor’s campaign committee.
He was paid $6,100 in consulting fees by the campaign committee in October 2013, or two months after he started his City Hall job, according to Maryland Election Board records.
Last January, former Baltimore Sun editor and KO Public Affairs officer Howard Libit was named to the newly-created post of director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy.
In that role, Libit increasingly took over Harris’ duties.
There was no word today on whether Libit, a Baltimore County resident who is paid $132,000 annually, will become the mayor’s next spokesperson.