In perhaps the most romantic story of the 2020 election season, a rising political reporter has given up her beat covering President Joe Biden to grow her relationship with one of his campaign aides and support him as he recovers from cancer.
Alexi McCammond, a political reporter for Axios and a contributor on MSNBC, started covering Biden’s campaign in 2019 and got close to then-press secretary TJ Ducklo while working the trail, People reported.
— Biden Institute (@UDBidenInst) January 3, 2019
At first, they were cordial colleagues. Then, they became close as friends over time. For most of the time they knew each other, Ducklo, 32, was single and McCammond, 27, was in a serious relationship. However, over time, things changed. In November, they made it official and started dating.
“We both realized we both felt the same way,” Ducklo told People. “We’re both really happy, and we wanted to do it the right way.”
That meant informing their bosses.
McCammond told her editors at Axios about her budding relationship with Ducklo and asked to be taken off Biden’s beat. In turn, they reassigned her to a beat covering progressive politics and Vice President Kamala Harris, an Axios representative said.
“We stand behind her and her coverage,” the spokeswoman said in regards to McCammond, a journalist she described as “a valued member of the Axios team.”
The 27-year-old reporter said she had support from her team to follow her heart and what she felt was best.
“Switching beats was an easy decision thanks to my Axios [family], who had my back in November and know just how lovely it is to find someone who cares deeply about you,” McCammond said.
Ducklo also shared with his team “at the very beginning” about their relationship,” a White House source said, calling Ducklo “an incredibly talented and valued member of the team.”
McCammond, honored as the 2019 Emerging Journalist by the National Association of Black Journalists, is a University of Chicago alumnus and has experienced a meteoric rise in her field due to her work covering the past election cycle.
She told People that even though skeptics have casted a doubtful eye on her relationship with Ducklo, the couple will not allow anyone to stop their love from thriving.
“These past few years have shown how easy it is for some to make quick and misguided judgments of those in the public eye. As a young Black woman in this industry, I’ve felt this first hand several times,” McCammond said. “TJ and I knew full well the unfair criticism our relationship might face but knew that we weren’t going to let bullies get in the way of our own happiness.”
Although they keep their work lives separate, insisting that they’ve never used each other as sources or for media access, they’ve depended on each other for emotional support.
In December 2019, Ducklo was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer and has been receiving treatment for the cancer throughout Biden’s political rise this year. McCammond, who travels with him for medical scans, said she realized how important he was to her when he told her of his condition.
“After the election, when we both had some downtime, it was clear that our years-long friendship had the potential for something else. When TJ was diagnosed … I had a sense then how much he meant to me and I’m just grateful that I get to be there for him now every step of the way as his partner,” she said.
A year after the cancer diagnosis and being “super single,” Ducklo said being in a “serious relationship” with McCammond is the “best thing that has ever happened in my personal life. What a difference a year can make.”