Democrat Michael Bloomberg's presidential campaign is hiring staffers at a fast clip in Colorado as the state's Super Tuesday primary approaches, including high-profile veterans of Barack Obama's campaigns.
The billionaire and former New York mayor's team on Tuesday named veteran political consultant and former Obama administration official Jeannette Galanis as Colorado state director, Colorado Politics has learned.
Galanis, the former director of public affairs for Denver Public Schools and a former national campaign director for the AFL-CIO, joins a growing state operation that also includes senior advisor Ray Rivera, who was the Colorado state director and western states caucus director for the 2008 Obama campaign before working at the White House during the Democratic president's first term.
"Mike Bloomberg has taken on and won on some of our country’s toughest fights — be it on guns, climate or public health — and our effort to defeat Donald Trump in Colorado and across the country will be no different,” said Galanis in a statement.
"I'm eager to start building an organization that will not only help us win in the March 3 primary, but also in November so that we can start rebuilding America."
Rivera, one of the leading Democratic strategists in the state, said in a statement: “Jeannette has an outstanding history of building and running teams on some of the most important and high-profile campaigns across the country and in Colorado, and we’re delighted to have her lead our efforts in the Centennial State to unseat President Donald Trump and to elect a proven leader to the White House."
After entering the race in late November, Bloomberg is tapping his fortune to spend big in states that start voting in March, like Colorado, while mostly ignoring the first four nominating contests in February, in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
"We can have a large and concurrent conversation with the American people in 29 or 30 contests all at once while our opponents are stuck talking to a narrow portion of the electorate in the early states,” senior Bloomberg operative Dan Kanninen told McClatchy when the campaign announced its first round of hires.
“It means we’re out of the sandbox. … While we’re late to the contest overall, we’re going to be early to the March states.”
Other recent Bloomberg hires in Colorado are communications director Curtis Hubbard, a political consultant and former Denver Post editor; political director Melanie Knaus, the Obama campaign's 2008 deputy general election director for Colorado; and senior advisor for western states Debbie Willhite, a prominent political consultant and the executive director of the Denver host committee that landed the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Rivera and Knaus recently worked together at the nonprofit Leadership for Educational Equity, where he was vice president and she was west managing director for candidate development.
Willhite also served as executive director of the Denver Summit of the Eight in 1997 and was the national coordinate campaign director for the Clinton/Gore presidential campaigns in 1992 and 1996.
Galanis' deputy state directors are Josh Miller, who most recently worked for former Mayor Wellington Webb's Webb Group International consulting firm, and Tyler Mounsey, a former constituent affairs director for Gov. John Hickenlooper and advance team manger for Vice President Joe Biden.
Hubbard, a partner at Onsight Public Affairs, said the Bloomberg campaign operation will continue to grow in the months ahead.
He noted that unaffiliated voters will be able to cast ballots in Colorado's upcoming presidential primary, potentially resetting the equation in a state that has expressed its presidential nominating preference in caucuses for the last 20 years.
Hubbard, who helmed the 2016 statewide ballot measures that established Colorado's presidential primary and opened its primaries to unaffiliated voters, said the Bloomberg campaign will be well positioned to reach the potential primary voters who aren't registered as Democrats, an exceedingly expensive endeavor that could determine who walks away with Colorado's DNC delegates.