Annette Taddeo campaign for Governor announces five key hires

Taddeo, Annette 2
'We need the best talent available and I firmly believe that they all represent that.'

Sen. Annette Taddeo has ramped up her run at Florida’s governorship with a handful of new hires — all from South Florida — to key campaign positions.

Taddeo’s political committee, Fight Back Florida, announced the new hires in a press note Thursday ahead of a planned 67-county RV tour.

“Our growing team of staffers are all experienced and will be vital to helping us get our message out across the state that we are building a movement for all of Florida,” Taddeo said in a statement. “To achieve that, we need the best talent available and I firmly believe that they all represent that.”

Atop the list of Taddeo’s new staff members is her campaign manager, Nick Merlino, a Miami native who previously worked “in battleground states such as Wisconsin, Georgia and Florida, and emerging states like Texas,” her campaign said.

Merlino, who has worked with Democratic strategist Ben Pollara on medical marijuana issues, was a senior adviser to the Retire Rubio campaign last year. In 2020, Merlino managed the campaign of former Austin Assistant City Attorney Mike Siegel’s run to represent Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to his LinkedIn page.

Two years before that, he served as a financial adviser to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

“His experience working on campaigns in diverse districts and states will immediately serve as a benefit in helping shape our message to the people across the state,” Taddeo’s campaign said.

Clifton Addison, another Miami Democrat who boasts more than a decade in Florida politics — including work as the African American vote director for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign — is Taddeo’s new political director.

Other roles Addison has held include deputy political director and coalition director of the Florida Democratic Party and the African American vote director of For Our Future PAC.

Taddeo’s new deputy finance director is fellow Miamian Adrian Delgado, who since last year has served as president of the Miami-Dade Young Democrats. He also worked on Taddeo’s successful 2017 Special Election campaign.

According to his LinkedIn page, Delgado also spent a short stint in 2016 as a community organizer for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and worked in a similar capacity from April 2016 to November 2017 for the Florida Democratic Party.

Dawson McNamara-Bloom, who has lived in Miami most of his life, according to the Taddeo campaign press note, will serve as campaign press secretary. McNamara, who previously worked with LGBTQ+ advocacy groups including COLAGE and PFLAG, has been part of at least three other campaigns in Florida, Massachusetts and Texas, including that of former U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala.

His LinkedIn page also lists a four-month internship in Scotland under Keith Brown, deputy leader of the Scottish National Party.

“He’s a veteran of several campaigns from across the country, winning some tough battlegrounds,” Taddeo’s campaign said.

Vanessa Garcia — who was born in Caracas, Venezuela, but grew up in Boca Raton — will serve as Taddeo’s new campaign coordinator. She previously worked with organizations “central to amplifying Latino and immigrant voices, including serving as Palm Beach County’s Team Lead for Florida Immigrant Coalition’s Civic Engagement Program,” Taddeo’s campaign said.

Garcia also was the campaign manager of Yvette Drucker, the first Latina to serve on the Boca Raton City Council.

Taddeo, who announced her candidacy in October, is one of 10 Democrats running to unseat Gov. Ron DeSantis in November. Others include Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only statewide-elected Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a former Republican who served as Florida’s 44th Governor.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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