The Florida Democratic Party on Thursday announced it will bring Brice Barnes on board to serve as the party’s new finance director.
Barnes comes to Florida after years working in North Carolina, previously serving in similar roles with U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan — who lost her pivotal swing state Senate seat to Thom Tillis back in November during a difficult mid-term cycle for Democrats — Gov. Bev Purdue and a host of Tar Heel state congressional Dems including Rep. Alma Adams and pop star-turned-candidate Clay Aiken, who ran in the state’s 2nd Congressional District last year.
Barnes, a mother of two, is the founder of Greenprint Strategies, a “political strategy and fundraising firm focused on working with progressive candidates and organizations.”
“Brice Barnes is very selective with who she works with, and brings a deep understanding of the political landscape to each campaign. This approach has led to an impressive track record of success,” reads her consultancy’s web page.
Florida Democrats are hoping that success can translate across state boundaries. Barnes joins the party at a strategically sensitive time, as legislative Republicans are at odds with each other and with Gov. Rick Scott as they prepare to reconvene in Tallahassee for a special session, having failed to pass a budget in May.
The FDP has jumped on the schism with a rapid response campaign of targeted mailers against vulnerable GOP House members.
But as the AP’s Gary Fineout told attendees at yesterday’s post-session legislative roundtable — apropos of the seeming chasm between wide Democratic support in Florida and anemic minority legislative caucuses — “it takes money to run campaigns.”
That’s something the FDP has been sorely lacking for some time, routinely being outspent 3 to 1 or more in nominally competitive races.
Barnes claims that at Greenprint, she has “led teams raising more than $30 million” and that on average her candidates raise 172 percent more contributions than their opponents.
In a state as big and expensive to run in as ours, she’ll need to draw heavily on that out-of-state experience in order to convince the political class to help keep Florida from going the way of North Carolina.