— From NBC's Chuck Todd
One of the things that both Dem campaigns are always nervous about is defectors. In particular, Clinton is more vulnerable to this problem since she's the candidate that is trailing. Well, NBC News has learned that a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, former Amb. to Chile Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon is leaving the campaign to join up Barack Obama's campaign. Officially dubbed a "Hillraiser," Guerra-Mondragon raised nearly $500,000 for Clinton's campaign, according to some estimates. He has been informing people inside Clintonworld this week in what's been described as some tough conversations. A formal announcement of a role for Guerra-Mondragon on Obama's national finance committee will be made next week. Guerra-Mondragon was appointed Amb. to Chile by Pres. Clinton in '94 and served until '98.
Among the reasons for Guerra-Mondragon to defect, according to one informed source, was he was uneasy with the tone of the Clinton campaign and was beginning to worry about what this would mean for the general election.
It's unclear if this defection will lead to others; the Clinton camp has been particularly effective at getting folks to keep their powder dry. For Obama, this comes at a time when his campaign is trying to re-convince insiders that the math indicates he has the nomination virtually wrapped up. In addition, Guerra-Mondragon's defection could serve as a tipping point with some key Hispanic Democratic leaders that Obama is ready to start making a bigger effort to court Hispanics.