Biden Benefits from Bloomberg's $1.5 Million to Knock on Doors of Latino, Black Voters

Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg continues to deploy parts of his staggering $100 million Florida investment, this time with a focus on the door-knocking the Biden campaign is only now starting, aimed at Latino and Black voters, Newsweek has learned.

The latest cash injection from Bloomberg is $1.5 million to the Florida For All coalition, which will begin door-knocking on Sunday, in partnership with Somos PAC, which also received $1.5 million from Bloomberg to engage Black and Latino voters.

In addition to those key constituencies, the efforts seek to reach Haitians and other infrequent voters of color in six counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Orange, Pinellas and Hillsborough County.

Mike Bloomberg told Newsweek a strong ground game has never been more important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic changing how campaigns are run, misinformation surrounding how to vote, as well as recent attacks on mail-in voting and the integrity of the election.

"That's why I'm glad to support efforts to reach underrepresented voters in key districts throughout the state of Florida, to ensure they know what's at stake in this election, and have the information they need to cast a vote," Bloomberg told Newsweek. "Black and Latino voters are the backbone of the Democratic party, and we're going to make sure their voices are heard at the ballot box this fall."

In addition to the Somos PAC work aimed at Latinos in Central Florida, Bloomberg earlier this week announced a $1 million investment to BlackPAC aimed at Black voters in North and Central Florida, and $1.5 million to For Our Future PAC, the Miami Herald reported.

The return to door-knocking comes as the campaigns have been thrown into uncertainty over the news that President Donald Trump has contracted the coronavirus, and questions over what campaigning will look like over the final month of the election.

But it also represents a new phase in Florida, as it will begin a day before the October 5 voter registration deadline in the state, meaning efforts moving forward will no longer be about growing the electorate, but Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts instead.

Democrats have publicly and privately encouraged the Biden campaign to follow suit in ramping up ground efforts during a high-stakes final period to do GOTV, which the campaign had resisted due to safety concerns over the coronavirus. The announcement comes a day after the Biden campaign itself relented and decided to send hundreds of newly trained volunteers to hit the ground in Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.

The campaign's choice of which states to march into also reflects a key advantage of Bloomberg's largesse. From the beginning, his money was meant as a signal that Biden could focus on other states, while Bloomberg's operation took care of all aspects of Florida—which has thus far been focused on TV and digital ads—including Spanish-language efforts, as well as direct mail.

While the Florida For All coalition says it has made more than 9 million attempts to contact voters through calls, texts, and direct mail, it acknowledged "a safe and socially-distanced return to the doors" will guarantee engaging voters who are not easily accessible over the phone.

"There is no greater priority here in Florida over the next four weeks than reaching Latino voters and increasing voter participation in communities of color to elect Joe Biden as our next president," said Melissa Morales, Somos PAC president. "Our people are not getting the information they need, especially from events such as this week's debate disrupted by Donald Trump and his antics. We know that talking to them frequently and directly, whether at their home or through the phone, is critical to get them out to vote."

Andrea Mercado, executive director of New Florida Majority, which is part of the Florida For All coalition, said targeted voter suppression efforts around the country by the GOP are aimed at making it harder for Black and Latino communities to vote.

"We are rooted in our communities and we are committed to making sure everyone is informed about the elections and has a say in what the future of this country looks like," she said, "because we cannot afford four more years of Trump."

Democrats told Newsweek the ground efforts couldn't come at a better moment.

"I think it's great that they're doing door-knocking," said Federico de Jesús, former Hispanic media director for Obama in 2008. He said the ground game situation reminded him of Obama's line in 2012 that Democrats weren't going to "unilaterally disarm" their super PACs in the face of Republican spending.

"Republicans are going crazy door-knocking and doing events without masks," he said, "and we can do door-knocking as long as there is a safe way of doing it."

mike bloomberg
Democratic presidential hopeful former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg leaves after speaking at a rally at Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020. EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP/Getty