Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg plans to open at least a dozen field offices across Colorado before the state's March 3 presidential primary and is expected to have 40 staffers on board by the end of the month, a campaign aide told Colorado Politics.
It's part of the former New York mayor's plan to invest heavily in Colorado and other states that start voting in March, after early states Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina kick off the primary season next month.
The wealthy, self-funding candidate has spent more than $200 million on television and digital advertising since entering the race in late November and shows no sign of slowing down.
More than 100 supporters cheered the campaign's aggressive strategy Saturday at an event in Littleton marking the launch of Bloomberg's national push to win the nomination — but some told Colorado Politics they were more excited to hear the billionaire intends to keep his team in place to support whichever candidate the Democrats pick to challenge President Donald Trump.
The packed Colorado meet-and-greet at Tavern Littleton was similar to more than 150 "Day One" campaign events held in 27 states, campaign organizers said.
"We were just notified that the people they're hiring here are going to stay on through November to help whoever is nominated for president," state Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, said. "That's great; that's the kind of energy that we need. I'm very optimistic."
Sullivan, who endorsed Bloomberg last month when the candidate met with gun violence survivors and activists in Aurora, said he's impressed that the campaign has taken shape so quickly, helped by activists with organizations Bloomberg has funded for years.
Josh Miller, a veteran political operative and the Bloomberg's deputy state director, said the campaign will be growing "at an exponential rate" in the weeks before Colorado's votes are counted on Super Tuesday, when 14 states and territories cast ballots.
Miller said to expect 12 to 14 field offices, with a presence in each of the state's seven congressional district and the first offices opening within a week. In addition, he said the 25 state campaign staffers will quickly swell with an additional 14 field organizers who should be in place by the end of January.
"Every moment is critical to this campaign," he said, noting that mail ballots start going out to Colorado voters in just four weeks.
While some of the other Democratic candidates also have strong organizations in place — including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who won Colorado's 2016 caucuses by a wide margin — Miller said Bloomberg has an advantage going into the state's first presidential primary in decades, which will allow unaffiliated voters to participate for the first time.
"The secret sauce here might be the 40% of independent voters," Miller said. "Mike appeals to those people. I believe there is a majority of people who are not cheering for Warren and Sanders, and it's our job to get out there and get them."
State director Jeannette Galanis emphasized the enduring nature of the organization she was building.
“Mike Bloomberg 2020 has invested in building grassroots infrastructure in Colorado given its importance not only as a Super Tuesday state, but also as a battleground for Democrats in the general election,” she said in a statement. “This support will help Democrats up and down the ballot, and I’m proud of the team we are building here in Colorado.”
Charlie Brown, a former Democratic legislator and 14-year member of Denver City Council, said he was a fan of Bloomberg but noted that he turned out for the event because his son is working on the campaign.
"He's a moderate; I'm a moderate. That's why I'm supporting him," Brown said. "I'm concerned about the Democratic Party moving so far left. I'm sure with the political expertise they have on staff, he will do very well here."
Former state Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, was one of several in attendance who said they were taking a look at Bloomberg along with a considering a handful of other Democrats ahead of the primary.
"I'm looking around at candidates who not just can get elected but represent the values of the Democratic Party. I think he's shown as mayor that he can get things done that benefit people, regardless who you are," Rosenthal said, adding that he also likes former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.
While organizations funded by Bloomberg have backed Sullivan's campaigns — including helping defend against a threatened recall election last summer — the Centennial lawmaker said he first met the candidate in December when he accompanied Bloomberg on a visit to the 7-20 memorial, which honors victims of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, including Sullivan's son Alex.
"I walked inside and I showed him what it was about, and we had some conversation, and he laid some flowers there," Sullivan said. "It shows this is a guy that understands what we've been through, and he's going to be ready to do something, starting day one."
Noting that she hasn't been involved in politics until recently, Sarah Van Pelt said she drove from Boulder to get a chance to meet Bloomberg's staff and connect with other supporters.
"I like him because he's investing his resources to ensure a Democratic candidate becomes president, and, secondarily, because he has the best skillset to become president," she said. "It's mostly that he has a broad agenda, the intention is to keep America awesome."