One of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s campaign team members is moving from her work on her mayoral campaign to work for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
Samantha Pollara served as the finance director for Castor, leading the charge to raise an unprecedented more than $2 million.
She’ll now serve as the Florida Investment Director for Buttigieg’s campaign. She’s the first Florida staffer identified in his campaign.
“My job within the campaign is primarily about raising money, so unfortunately I can’t help too much (right now) with connecting you all to the volunteer opportunities I know many of you have been looking for, but what I CAN do is keep you guys posted over the coming months on when/where Mayor Pete will be in Florida,” Pollara wrote on the Buttigieg for Florida Facebook page announcing her new job.
She said the campaign is “looking to do several trips” in the state in the coming months and hopes to eventually reach every region in the state.
Pollara said Buttigieg will be in Miami for a “big grassroots event” May 20.
“Mayor Pete is earnest, thoughtful, authentic and offers a fresh vision of positive change that lifts up all communities in America. I can’t wait to help support his new generation of leadership,” Pollara wrote in a separate post.
Buttigieg is one of 21 candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. Buttigieg, known as “Mayor Pete,” currently serves as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
It’s a pretty low-level elected position that wouldn’t typically bode well for a presidential candidate, but Buttigieg’s popularity soared in the weeks after he announced his bid, appearing on national TV with a speaking style many early supporters saw as a refreshing contrast to Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric.
His experience in the military is also a strong suit for the candidate. Buttigieg is also openly gay and gained notoriety last month when he kissed his husband on stage during his official campaign kickoff speech.
Buttigieg also gained points in the media over his self-taught Norwegian language skills.
Despite his early surge, media attention surrounding the young candidate’s rise to political fame, the buzz seems to have died down since former Vice President Joe Biden announced his candidacy.
Pollara has a tough fundraising road ahead. She’ll be battling for contributions from statewide Democrats in a crowded race with bigger names like Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren dominating conversation.
Still, Pollara proved herself an affable staffer with broad fundraising prowess.
Before working for Castor, Pollara also served in finance roles for Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s inaugural committee, Sean Shaw’s campaign for Attorney General and as an account executive for the local Democratic political consulting firm, Blue Ticket.