The Florida Democratic Party (FDP) is hiring seven field directors across the state as the party looks to increase its grassroots organizing investment this cycle.
A document obtained by Florida Politics lays out the new hires, which the FDP says “show a commitment to building the sustainable grassroots organizing systems needed to win in Florida.”
Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz also added a statement, arguing the hires will help Democrats get a head start on high-profile 2022 contests.
“By investing early in statewide, grassroots organizing, we will meet Florida voters where they are now, not just 3 months before each election,” Diaz said. “To flip Florida blue we are building a longterm, sustainable infrastructure, and deploying field staff all across Florida earlier than ever. Our field team is the heart of the foundation necessary to defeat Marco Rubio, Ron DeSantis, and Republicans up and down the ballot.”
Organizer Desmond Batts will lead organizing in the state’s central west region. Betts helped organize the first People’s Climate March in New York City and advocated for successful minimum wage increases in Connecticut and New York. He has also done field work in Florida in the Tampa metro area.
Ric Gable, a veteran of Rep. Al Lawson’s campaign team, will take over the central Panhandle region for the FDP. He has served as Jackson County DEC vice chair and state committeeman and as FDP’s small county coalition vice chair.
Pensacola native Keith Hardy will head the party’s efforts in the western Panhandle. Hardy was the regional organizing director in the Panhandle for the 2018 gubernatorial and Senate races, both of which Democrats narrowly lost. Hardy has served as the FDP’s community engagement director for the Panhandle, as well as the deputy statewide engagement director.
Activist Ebony Hardy-Allen will serve as field director in the northeast region. Hardy-Allen recently did work with Color of Change and was also chief administrative officer and program director for the First Coast Leadership Foundation and My Vote Project. In 2018, Hardy-Allen served as Duval County regional field director pushing for support for Amendment 4.
Rick Ibarria, who has decades of experience as a corporate manager, will lead efforts in the southeast. He has experience working with American Express and Mastercard international managing teams in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has also supported several local arms of the Democratic Party in Miami-Dade County.
Jamie Jarvis is a relative newcomer, having graduated from Kansas State University in 2019. He helped organize in Nevada for Pete Buttigieg‘s 2020 presidential bid and chaired a county chapter of the Democratic Party in Kansas. He’ll take over the central north region for FDP.
Finally, Drake Thomsen will focus on the center of the state near Orlando. He worked on an Orange County Commission race in 2018 before training with the Democratic National Committee Organizing Corps and working for FDP in Seminole County.
Democrats saw several near misses in 2018 before seemingly losing ground in 2020. Republicans’ performance in Miami-Dade County was particularly concerning, helping President Donald Trump win the state by 3 percentage points and allowing the GOP to expand its hold on the Senate.
With Manny Diaz now leading the party, the FDP is hoping this cycle’s investments will pay off, with big time races for the U.S. Senate and Governor on the ballot in 2022. The FDP release says the organization “will be expanding the team further and hiring organizers throughout the summer.”