Operation BlackOut staffs up ahead of 2022 election
Image via Operation BlackOut.

Operation BlackOut
A number of Democratic Party and campaign trail veterans joined the turnout effort.

Operation BlackOut, an effort to increase Black turnout in Florida this election, has announced some high-profile hires.

Darryl Banks will lead political and partnerships. Ali Kurnaz, Juan Peñalosa and Giovanna Salucci will head digital and targeting operations. Ashley Bauman comes on as head of communications. Natalie Kato will direct the legal department.

The moves come weeks after state Sen. Shevrin Jones announced the voter outreach effort and a major ad buy behind it.

“When we launched this project we did so with a laser focus and commitment to creating an organization and operation unlike any other,” Jones said. “As you can see, this team, some of the best and brightest in the country, will not only work tirelessly to meet our goals but to exceed them. We’re at a pivotal point in the state of Florida and it will take all hands on deck to ensure this November looks different than the last few decades.”

Banks previously served as director of strategic engagement and outreach for Democrat Chris King’s gubernatorial campaign in 2018. He stayed on with King after he joined Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum as his running mate.

Peñalosa served as executive director of the Florida Democratic Party from 2018 through the 2020 election cycle. Kurnaz worked with him there.

Salucci has worked at global strategy firm Mercury, where Bauman, a former communications director for the city of Tampa, also came on last year as a senior vice president.

Kato has long worked as a lobbyist and election law lawyer in Florida.

Beyond the personnel moves, Operation BlackOut also announced partnerships with the following organizations: America Votes, Black Voters Matter Fund, The Common Ground Project, Deliver My Vote, Equal Ground, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Florida Rising, Florida Student Power Network (Coalition of the States HBCUs) and Real Women Radio Education Fund.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


11 comments

  • Impeach Biden

    May 12, 2022 at 9:10 am

    So you have a picture of a black person with a raised clinched fist. That demonstrates “black power”. Now if you posted an article titled “white out” and you had a picture of a white hand with the “ok” sign that what be deemed white racism. Interesting how that works one way only

    Reply

    • Aren’t

      May 17, 2022 at 10:45 am

      It’s like world war 2
      Some master you are lol

      Reply

      • Nancy

        May 17, 2022 at 3:30 pm

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        Reply

  • Itold Usoh

    May 12, 2022 at 2:07 pm

    1) Terrible name. When I think of blackouts, I think of power failures and spoiled food. Or over the top binge drinking.

    2) Why are Democrats just focused on turning out black voters? What about everyone else? White and Hispanic voters in my D + 30 precinct seem pretty apathetic this cycle.

    Reply

    • Jim

      May 15, 2022 at 10:51 am

      You beat me to it. Yes, “BlackOut” could not be any worse for a name. Once again, my party shoots itself in the foot.

      Reply

    • For me

      May 17, 2022 at 10:44 am

      When I think of blackouts I think of Texas lol

      Reply

  • It's Complicated

    May 12, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    Black voters are the most reliably-Democratic Party voting block in Florida. Yet, they are not necessarily reliable about turning out to vote, which is why ‘ballot harvesting’ is so important to these groups.

    Reply

  • Just a comment

    May 16, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Getting those who are uninterested in politics could go wrong in so many ways.

    Reply

    • Just a comment

      May 16, 2022 at 7:30 pm

      Politics are a governing force of people in general.but culture will only govern a one culture and cut off may end. Usa has to be like the musketeers all for one and one for all achievements if that first. But I understand the black votes

      Reply

  • Just a comment

    May 17, 2022 at 12:43 am

    Are we doing a celestial al picino ugh

    Reply

  • TONY

    May 17, 2022 at 3:53 pm

    “BLACK UP”………. Save your Race, Vote Republican.

    Reply

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