10:06 am Feb. 15, 2013
After a few years as the executive director of the Democratic National Committee, Patrick Gaspard, the former New York City labor operative, is reportedly the president's top choice to become ambassador to South Africa.
The news was first reported by the Washington Post , which says his selection is "likely."
Gaspard impressed Harlem strategist Bill Lynch while working on Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign in 1988, and Lynch recruited him to work on David Dinkins' mayor campaign the following year.
After leaving City Hall, Gaspard worked as a labor strategist and as chief of staff to Lower East Side councilwoman Margarita Lopez. He spent nearly a decade as the political strategist for the health care workers union 1199 SEIU, and then worked on Howard Dean's presidential campaign in 2004, before becoming an all-purpose political fixer for Barack Obama.
Gaspard's parents are Haitian, but he was born in Zaire, before his family moved to New York City.