Operation BlackOut staffs up ahead of 2022 election – Florida Politics

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, American Civil Liberties Union, Black Voters Matter Fund, The Common Ground Project, Deliver My Vote, Equal Ground, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Florida Rising, Service Employees International Union, Florida Student Power Network (Coalition of the States HBCUs) and Real Women Radio Education Fund.

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