The first 2020 presidential campaign office in Mississippi opened this week — and it’s in Oxford.
Mike Bloomberg posters outlining the Democratic presidential candidate’s message, “We Like Mike” are pasted across the walls that were formerly the Merle Norman and Hallmark store on Jackson Ave.
Jarrius Adams, director for Bloomberg’s Mississippi campaign and a recent Ole Miss alumnus, chose Oxford as a campaign office location.
“Oxford is key because of the university and community involvement. Mississippi is in its political prime with Bloomberg’s attention to it. This is the largest ground gain by a presidential candidate in the state since 1976 with Jimmy Carter,” Adams said.
Adams said the short term goal of Bloomberg’s local campaign is largely people-focused.
“Firstly, I want to get kind and energized young people on board with us. We are also trying to reach out and touch people. We want to make the case that Mike Bloomberg is a viable candidate. Since the election for a candidate is March 10, it is important to get people’s attention in the hopes that they will take action,” Adams said.
While this is not the first time that presidential candidates have had offices in Mississippi, Adams said it is the largest democratic presidential campaign staff that has been hired in the state in decades.
Oxford’s will be one of three Bloomberg offices in Mississippi. Gulfport and Jackson offices are opening by the end of the week, and for Mississippi — which is typically known as a red state — Bloomberg’s investment could mean a lot to potential voters.
“Imagine the city filled with dominoes falling and how the action of one causes another to act,” Kimar Cain, the campaign field organizer, said. “That has been the impact of Bloomberg in the city of Oxford and the northern region of Mississippi. People are leaning forward and passing along the information to various community members about Mike Bloomberg.”
On Sunday, there was an opening party where roughly 80 community members supported Bloomberg’s contribution to the state.
“Our state gets written off a lot even though we are still dealing with the same problems as the rest of the country. (Bloomberg’s) recognition of our red state as valuable is a huge message to voters everywhere,” Amy Scruggs, an Oxford community member, said. “Two of Bloomberg’s main policies — public health and education — are some of the biggest challenges we face and (are) thereby relevant.”
With the focus on community involvement and the people of Oxford, the campaign is hoping to utilize the local college demographic.
“The Bloomberg campaign has the largest-paid staff in the state,” Katie Davis, president of College Democrats, said. “It appears that the sheer amount of personal wealth that Bloomberg is able and willing to devote has helped his campaign move into some spaces that other Democratic campaigns are not willing or able to invest in.”
Adams and Cain said the campaign is looking to encourage young people to vote. The final day to vote in the Mississippi primary elections is March 10.