Michael Bloomberg is expanding his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to Washington, hiring staff and preparing to open 10 campaign offices across the state.
The former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman’s campaign has hired eight senior campaign aides, including some experienced local political hands.
Grant Lahmann, chief of staff to King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, is Bloomberg’s state campaign director. (He’s taking leave from his county job to work on the campaign.)
Alex Glass, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, has been named senior adviser for the state. And Katie Rodihan, who recently worked on Gov. Jay Inslee’s presidential campaign, has been named communications director.
Rodihan said the campaign is in the middle of hiring additional organizers and plans to open a fully staffed campaign office in each of the state’s ten congressional districts.
“One of the things I am most excited about is that we will target voters not normally hit during a presidential primary,” said Rodihan, who also worked on the 2018 campaign of Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Sammamish. “It’s actually an infrastructure that other Democratic candidates in Washington state can draw from after the primary.”
Bloomberg is the third Democratic presidential candidate to staff up in Washington ahead of the state’s March 10 primary. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders also have made hires here, as well as having significant volunteer networks.
Another of the Bloomberg hires announced this week is Kristin Misner-Gutierrez, a Seattle consultant who previously worked for Bloomberg’s mayoral administration in New York.
With a net worth estimated at $60 billion, Bloomberg has been self-funding his presidential campaign and had already hired more than 500 staff in more than 30 states as of early this month, according to NBC News.
He also has blanketed local TV airwaves, with more than $3.7 million spent on ads in the Seattle market as of this week, according to Federal Communications Commission filings.
Bloomberg has yet to campaign here, but visited Seattle last year to announce a climate-grant award for the city and attend a panel discussion on gun violence.
His organization, Everytown for Gun Safety, donated more than $500,000 last year to help pass Initiative 1639, a sweeping package of gun regulations. The group gave more than $3.4 million in 2014 to help pass an initiative in the Legislature requiring universal background checks for gun purchases.