One of the men behind President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has joined Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s 2014 gubernatorial bid.
Jim Messina — a former Takoma Park resident who was Obama’s campaign manager in 2012 — will be a senior adviser to Brown. Messina said he will apply the same focus on technology and social media that helped push Obama to a second victory to the Brown campaign’s grass-roots efforts.
Messina’s name is well-known as the sender of numerous Obama fundraising messages. He joked to the crowd on Monday at Brown’s campaign headquarters in Largo that “you all may have received a few million emails from me.”
Brown said Messina “brings just a wealth of experience” and that he knows how to make people feel invested in a campaign and mobilize support.
Messina may be known as a “fixer,” but Brown assured the several dozen assembled supporters that nothing was broken. In fact, the campaign has raised $1 million so far this year, he said.
State law forbids state elected officials from raising money during the General Assembly session, so that money has been raised since early April, said Justin Schall, Brown’s campaign manager.
Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D), began the year with $1.6 million and $2.1 million in their respective campaign accounts. Attorney General Douglas Gansler (D), who also is planning a run but has not officially begun campaigning yet, had $5.2 million. Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Dist. 20) of Takoma Park, who also is considering a gubernatorial bid, had about $350,000 on hand.
Among Republicans, Harford County Executive David Craig and Del. Ronald George of Arnold have said they are running for governor; a handful of others are in the exploratory phase.
Schall said the Brown-Ulman campaign had closed an initial fundraising gap and was now in a “totally different world” than where it had been in January.
Messina said he reached out to the Brown camp, rather than vice versa, because he believed the lieutenant governor had the right vision for the state. He praised the record of Brown and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on education and health care issues.
Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as email, will be instrumental in recruiting additional voters and volunteers, Messina said.
“We’re going to take nothing for granted,” Messina said. “We’re going to work every single day.”