After mayor didn't hire him, tech-savvy fundraiser led Randall Woodfin's surprising money machine

Monday, 09 October 2017, 07:37:54 PM. Chris Barrineau wanted to help William Bell win re-election, but the mayor didn't hire him. Instead, Randall Woodfin reaped the benefit of the man the mayor-elect calls 'the best fundraiser in the state.'
Chris Barrineau was already respected throughout the state as savvy political operative and fund-raiser; he worked on several campaigns for former U.S. Congressman Robert "Bud" Cramer of Huntsville, as well as other candidates. But the Mobile native always wanted to work on a Birmingham mayoral campaign, so early this year be reached out to incumbent William A. Bell, who was running for re-election after serving as mayor since 2010. The two men met. Barrineau had watched incumbent mayors in cities across the state--from Selma to Vestavia--get ousted by younger or simply fresher challengers, and he gave Bell an honest assessment of the landscape ahead. "I said, 'Look, mayor, there a lot of civil unrest out there. It's gonna take a lot of money to win and I'd like to help you with that.' I liked what he was doing."Yet Bell never returned numerous calls, Barrineau says. "I thought the mayor would hire me," he says. "I don't know why he didn't." At that juncture, in February, Chris Barrineau had never heard of Randall Woodfin."I asked someone, 'Who's the other candidate?" he recalls. Not quite a millennial At 44, Barrineau would be considered the grown-up in a room of millennials. Or maybe big brother. Yet his fund-raising acumen is rooted in technology, specifically the intersection of technology, the Internet, data and good, old-fashioned hard work: dialing thousands of telephone numbers and knocking on thousands of doors. When he walked into Cramer's campaign headquarters in...Read more
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