Mike Bloomberg is in it to win it – Presidential campaign opens well-staffed Oklahoma office
Published: February 8th, 2020
Oklahoma City, February 8 – Twenty-four days before the March 3 Democratic presidential primary in the Sooner State, the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign officially opened a campaign headquarters on N. Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City.
Many present for the HQ launch planned to travel to the Oklahoma History Center for Saturday evening’s event featuring Bloomberg and “Judge Judy” – Judy Sheindlin, known worldwide for her long-running “reality court” program.
Between 50 and 100 guests crowded into a suite of offices for the launch, hearing detailed reports from organizers for the campaign, most of whom are Oklahomans.
Jasmine Brown-Justras – born in Rhode Island, went to college in Arkansas, resident of Oklahoma City in recent years — explained she will act as field organizer for areas north of Interstate 40. She said the campaign has coordinated 25,000 calls, 10,000 texts and 15 community meetings over the past three weeks. The volume in such work is expected to jump significantly over the next three-and-a-half weeks, as most of those in attendance at the HQ opening were signing up as volunteers.
Jose Rubio, field organizer for areas south of I-40, said he joined the Bloomberg campaign because he believes the former mayor of New York City is “the candidate who can get Trump out.” Rubio told the crowd he was born in Mexico, came to Oklahoma at age 3.
Max Federman, another field organizer who is a native Oklahoman, said the aspiration of most presidential campaigns is to attract volunteers who will give “time, talent and treasure” to support a candidate. Bloomberg, a successful businessman who is a billionaire, is financing his own campaign, “so all we need is your time and talent.”
The trio of upbeat staffers laid out plans for training and organizing volunteers to make telephone calls, text messages to those with questions, and handle other campaign chores.
Brown-Justras said she was thrilled to be part of a campaign pouring massive resources into a “red state.” Federman said he believes Oklahoma will shift from from “red” (Republican) to “blue” (Democratic) in his lifetime.
Helping to organize the noon-hour event was Nick Singer, a Progressive activist in Oklahoma City who is working as a regional organizational director.
As for issues, the state campaign leadership stressed Bloomberg themes for gun control, combating climate change, and increased economic opportunities. Bloomberg visited Tulsa recently to launch “The Greenwood Initiative,” to spur creation of black-owned businesses and create generational wealth through home ownership, among other objectives. While in the state for the north Tulsa event, he came to Oklahoma City for a meet-and-greet at the home of former Governor David Walters and his wife, Rhonda. (The former chief executive, active with the national party, is neutral in the primary, but says he is delighted to see any Democratic presidential candidate who comes to the state.)
After the field team set the table (figuratively) with some of the details of the effort, State Director Sarah Baker, past communications director for the state Democratic Party, said Bloomberg intends to win the race. Baker praised the team the campaign has quickly assembled. She thanked former state Rep. Cory Williams of Stillwater for coming on board as state chairman.
After answering several questions, Baker was headed to the history center, northeast of the state Capitol, to continue arrangements for tonight’s event. By 1 p.m., 800 people had responded to invitations. Those interested in attending should arrive by 7:45 p.m. The evening program will begin around 8:15 p.m.
Note: Pat McGuigan is publisher and editor of The City Sentinel newspaper in Oklahoma City. A member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, in winter 1987-88 he worked as deputy political director for the presidential campaign of former Delaware Governor Pete du Pont. McGuigan’s efforts for du Pont were concentrated in Iowa and New Hampshire.