Two presidential candidates opened campaign offices in Santa Monica in the last couple of weeks to court Westside voters ahead of Super Tuesday.
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer opened field offices a few blocks away from each other this month, becoming the first and potentially only 2020 candidates to set up shop within city limits. The Bloomberg campaign opened an office on Feb. 8 at 1639 11th St. and the Steyer campaign held a launch party Sunday at 1448 15th St. Both offices are employing six full-time staffers, campaign organizers said.
While both candidates are billionaires, Bloomberg has sunk an unprecedented proportion of his personal net worth of $63 billion to his campaign and is polling at 10% nationally, while Steyer, worth $1.6 billion, is polling at 1%.
Jamarah Hayner, Bloomberg’s senior advisor for Los Angeles, said the campaign has drawn substantial support on the Westside. The field office is one of six throughout the Los Angeles area and dozens across California, she said.
“The Westside and certainly Santa Monica is one of the highest-turnout communities in L.A., and there’s a tremendously strong progressive voter base there, so it’s exciting to see my fellow progressive responding to the work Mike has done on gun safety, climate change, public health and investing in communities of color,” Hayner said.
Hayner said the office has been integral to the campaign’s efforts to make more than 100,000 calls to California voters each day. She said it brings in an intergenerational mix of volunteers who are particularly passionate about gun safety reform.
“A lot of the young people getting involved are getting into Mike’s campaign because they have been affected by gun violence, and it’s the same thing with parents and grandparents who want to make sure their kid or grandkid can come home safe from school every day,” she said. “For them, there’s no one else who comes close to Mike’s record on actualizing gun safety reform.”
Tom Steyer, whose top platforms include combating climate change and curbing the political influence of corporations, finished seventh in the Iowa caucuses and sixth in the New Hampshire caucuses, and will likely fail to qualify for Wednesday’s Democratic debate.
Anne Wile, Steyer’s Los Angeles regional organizing director, said the campaign added a Santa Monica office in addition to its Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles offices in order to canvass communities of color on the Westside.
“People assume the Westside is white and rich but there are a lot of people of color in places like Oakwood in Venice and Pico in Santa Monica, and low-propensity voters in those neighborhoods don’t get outreach from campaigns,” Wile said. “We’re going to reach into those areas when we canvass over the next several weekends.”
Rebekah Salgado, Steyer’s California press secretary, said Steyer has a significant following on the Westside because residents are deeply invested in climate and environmental issues.
“He’s the original climate candidate, and that’s an area of great concern to people in Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu and West L.A.,” she said.
Wile said the Santa Monica office draws volunteers from Malibu who were affected by the Woolsey fire and rank climate change as their top priority.
“For them, it’s personal,” she said.