‘He’s buying the ground war’
For David Enriquez, a 23-year-old recent graduate of the University of Florida now acting as a field organizer for Mr. Bloomberg in Tampa, the pay came as a surprise. “I was expecting 30,000 a year, essentially till March, so whatever that is,” he said, referring to a salary that would have translated to $2,500 monthly. He is receiving more than twice that — $6,000 a month — and he expects his work will continue through November, given Mr. Bloomberg’s pledge to support the Democratic effort to unseat President Trump regardless of whether his own name is on the ballot.
“I was just going to pay the minimum payment on my credit card for an extended period, but when I found out what my salary was, I was like, ‘Wow,’” Mr. Enriquez said.
The campaign’s pay for field organizers, the equivalent of $72,000 annually, is well above the $42,000 that other campaigns have offered. Bloomberg staff members have also been issued campaign-owned electronics, including Apple laptops and the latest-generation iPhones, which a spokeswoman said were distributed with cybersecurity in mind.
“I was paid $15 a day as an organizer for Ted Kennedy in 1980,” said Joe Trippi, a longtime Democratic strategist, referring to a rate that, adjusted for inflation, would amount to roughly $1,500 monthly today.
Mr. Trippi called substantial pay such as what Mr. Bloomberg was offering plausible for a campaign’s staff members in key early-voting states, like Iowa or New Hampshire, but highly unusual as a standard for employees across regions — and even more so for the apparent sense of job security through the fall. “That’s never happened before,” he said.
Reflecting similar premiums, Mr. Bloomberg’s state communications directors and state political directors uniformly receive $12,000 monthly, according to the campaign, while state press secretaries make $10,000 monthly and the campaign’s national political director commands $30,000 a month, or $360,000 annually.
“Everyone knows that campaigning is hard work, long hours and lousy pay,” said Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg campaign spokesman. “We can’t change the first two, but we can do something about the third.”