Democratic Rep. Anna V. Eskamani is expanding her independent effort to register voters in advance of the 2022 elections, announcing the hiring of three more staff members for her People Power For Florida committee.
Eskamani, a Democrat from Orlando, announced Monday the People Power For Florida committee has hired Allison Minnerly as a statewide organizing coordinator, plus Brevard County field organizers Betsy Bray and Lucy Casey.
Minnerly, who has held positions with Val Demings’ U.S. Senate bid and in Orlando Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith’s office, assumes Sunny Toreihi’s former role.
Toreihi moves to interim operations director until July 2022.
People Power For Florida originally was an independent political committee supporting Eskamani’s election campaigns. Eskamani and Toreihi repurposed the committee early last year exclusively for voter registration efforts, including training programs for voter registration field organizers. With the latest hires, Eskamani said the organization now has 10 full- and part-time staff, plus a volunteer network of nearly 600 people.
Eskamani organized the effort to add to Democratic voter registration efforts by the Florida Democratic Party and other groups, at a time when the Democratic voter registration efforts have been struggling. In the past year, the Republican Party of Florida has taken the upper hand in voter registration statewide, and has been making gains against Democrats in most counties.
People Power For Florida focuses primarily on voter registration efforts on college and high school campuses, plus online. The group has efforts centered in South Florida, Tampa Bay, Central Florida, and Brevard County.
“We’re really proud of the work we’re doing. It’s not easy. For so many of our young volunteers, this is their first time in political involvement, so we’re working on building a bench, too,” Eskamani said.
Since the repurposing, the organization has raised about $300,000. It also has been spending about $15,000-$30,000 each month, according to filings with the Division of Elections. The group did not fundraise in February due to Session. Eskamani said fundraising has resumed, and she is confident the spending levels can be sustained with anticipated fundraising.
“So far in 2022 we’ve registered nearly 2,000 people to vote in person and via our virtual online portal,” Eskamani said. “We’re using every tool we have to connect with our communities and build collective power.”