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Personnel note: Jane Castor campaign staffer joins Pete Buttigieg for President

She’s the first Florida staffer identified in Buttigieg’s campaign.

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.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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