If timing is everything in politics, Michael Bloomberg’s campaign could not have picked a worse date to open its Vancouver office.
The office in the Schofield’s Corner shopping center at 1819 Main St. opened one day after Bloomberg took a verbal beating from Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and other Democrats during Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas.
Jesse Sutherland, regional director for Bloomberg’s presidential campaign in Southwest Washington, was in the spartan office Monday morning.
Sutherland, originally from North Carolina, wore a University of North Carolina sweatshirt and ball cap lauding the university’s six basketball national championships.
Sutherland said she was part of the Democrats’ coordinated 2016 campaign in Southwest Washington. She spent the past 3 1/2 years in Seattle before returning to this area to work for the former New York City mayor’s presidential campaign.
“I think he is the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump,” she said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Bloomberg is believed to be the only presidential candidate with a local office.
The office should be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, although hours may vary. It likely will be closed for the next couple of days as Sutherland and Bloomberg’s other two paid local staffers attend “get out the vote” training in Seattle.
The Vancouver office will be used to stage phone banks and organize door knocking, Sutherland said, although the office is still in its early days.
“Typical days, it’s hard to say,” she said. “We haven’t had many typical days yet.”
Bloomberg’s performance in his first presidential debate was widely panned. Polling confirmed he lost ground after seeming unprepared and unsure how to answer his opponents’ attacks.
He will get a second chance tonight when he squares off with six other candidates (the five Democrats from the Las Vegas debate plus fellow billionaire Tom Steyer) in a Charleston, S.C., debate.
With second-tier candidates nearing “do or die” moments, they likely will focus their barbs on Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and try to prevent the frontrunner from surging to a big delegate lead following the March 3 “Super Tuesday” primaries in California, Texas and 12 other states.
“I think he is going to do great tomorrow,” Sutherland said about Bloomberg’s prospects for debate redemption.
The Vancouver office is a narrow suite, with “Washington for Mike 2020” signs and Bloomberg T-shirts, a few tables and chairs, and not much else. The concrete floors create a distinct echo during conversation.
On one wall is a countdown to Washington’s March 10 primary, which as of Monday morning indicated 17 days, not 15 days.
“I’m going to update that,” Sutherland said.