Friday, July 31, 2020

What's Wrong With The Florida Democratic Party?


FDP chair Terrie Rizzo-- Not just Florida's but America's fate could be in her hands

On February 18, just in time for the March presidential primary in Florida, the secretary of state reported that there are currently 5,103,540 registered Democrats, 4,823,917 registered Republicans and 3,619,456 No Party Affiliation voters. And yet... the Florida legislature is made up of 73 Republicans and 46 Democrats in the House and 23 Republicans and 17 Dems in the Senate. Those are weird disparities for a 50/50 state. Obviously, you can blame it on gerrymandering and you would be correct... or partially correct.

Tuesday, we started the morning with a look at one of the star recruits for the state legislature this cycle, Jared West in Polk County's 41st district. But he wasn't a recruit of the Florida Democratic Party. He was recruited by the Florida Environmental Caucus, 90 For 90 and... by himself and people in his community who thought he would be a much better member of the legislature than garden variety conservative Republican Sam Killebrew. It struck me as exceedingly odd that the Florida Democratic Party hadn't recruited a candidate and haven't embraced West. Why exceedingly odd? Well, Polk County has been getting bluer and bluer and will probably be its own congressional district after the next maps drawn and because HD-41 is already a district with a Democratic voters advantage. You read that right-- the Florida Democratic Party was ready to concede a district to a Republican incumbent in a district with 47,409 registered Democrats, 41,497 registered Republicans, 37,128 NPA voters. What the hell is that about?

Is that how Terrie Rizzo and Juan Peñalosa think they're going to win back the legislature? Is that how Terrie Rizzo and Juan Peñalosa think they're going to build a vibrant Democratic Party? Is that how Terrie Rizzo and Juan Peñalosa think they're going to develop a Democratic bench? Is that how Terrie Rizzo and Juan Peñalosa think they're going to win Florida-- a state with notoriously close elections-- for Biden? Why are Terrie Rizzo and Juan Peñalosa running the Florida Democratic Party? It's almost as though they were appointed by Ron DeSantis and Joe Gruters.

And then I noticed that the Polk County district wasn't unique in that way. HD-15 is entirely in Duval County and has another conservative Republican incumbent, Wyman Duggan who the Florida Democratic Party was willing to give a free pass to reelection with the old Debbie Wasserman Schultz tactic of recruiting "Democratic candidates" in districts her favored Republicans represented who don't actually run. The Florida Democratic Party was satisfied with pretend-Democrat Tammyette Thomas, a pastor who does not match the affluent district profile, announced for the seat last year, but raised no money and, on examination, appears suspiciously like Kim Daniels, a Republican in Democratic clothing. HD-15 is one of the most obviously flippable seats in the whole legislature. In a county fuming over the Trump/DeSantis pandemic, there are 43,584 registered Dems, 41,249 registered Republicans and 22,912 NPA voters. There's also a real Democrat in the primary, Jay McGovern, a well known Navy veteran and former congressional candidate. McGovern is looking good to win the primary and offer Duggan some competition-- unless the FDP sabotages him.

HD 105 is another interesting district that deserves some scrutiny. Most of it is in Miami-Dade with small pieces of Broward and Collier counties. In a wave year like 2020, it should definitely be a blue district, if for no other reason, because of the registration numbers-- 27,289 Dems, 27,064 Republicans, 29,769 NPA. The Republican incumbent, Ana Maria Rodriguez, is retiring rather than face Democrat Javier Estevez again. He almost won in 2018, just 417 votes separating the two of them in a 50.4% to 49.6% decision. This is a seat that defines the word flippable. But instead of rallying around Estevez, the local version of EMILY's List-- Ruth's List-- is playing identity politics games, putting up a primary challenger, Maureen Porras.

Andy Mele is a respected and well-liked environmental activist on Manatee County. HD-71 is pretty red-- 46,605 Republicans, 37,074 Democrats and 28,271 NPA voters, but not too far gone for a wave election year. Again, no interest by the Florida Democratic Party to take on a GOP incumbent, this time Will Robinson. The Manatee County district-- with a bit of Sarasota County-- is inside the crucial 16th congressional district, where Florida Democrats are hoping that state Rep. Margaret Good will flip Vern Buchanan's seat. Why would the FDP leave an uncontested HD inside a coveted flippable CD that the DCCC is playing hard for? Andy Mele is making it a real contest, exciting Democratic voters who are also going to get out and vote for Good and for Biden. And the contribution of the FDP? Reusing to give him access to the voter files for the district.

Charlie Crist, a former Republican who served as both Attorney General and Governor managed to flip a red congressional seat. Inside his congressional district sits HD-65 (Pinellas County), where powerful Republican Chris Sprowls-- in line to become Speaker if Republicans maintain the majority-- is the incumbent. The FDP decided, for whatever reason, to give him a free pass. This is INSANE! Another ex-Republican, like Crist, was recruited by the Florida Environmental Caucus and 90 For 90 and she-- if not the FDP-- is taking Sprowls on. The district has 51,475 registered Republicans, 38,121 Democrats and 35,640 NPA voters-- tough but not impossible... well, not impossible if you try. Impossible if you don't try.

HD-5 is a red hellhole in the Panhandle, spread over Walton, Jackson, Washington, Holmes and Bay counties. Right-wing nut Brad Drake is the incumbent and, as usual the FDP decided to ignore the district. But the environmental caucus didn't; they recruited a progressive firebrand, Annie Huffman. But... it is the only district that had the Democratic candidate disqualified due to a supposed filing error. The case is currently being litigated, in order to get Huffman on the ballot. Because she's a Bernie supporter she doesn't have the “blessing” of the Walton County DEC Chair, Samantha Hope Herring. There's something very strange here and many people suspect dirty dealing. It's a tough district but there are 32,872 registered Democrats and if they don't turn out for Biden, it's going to be that much harder to win the state. Having Annie Huffman fighting for progressive values would help turn out those Dems-- not to mention help turn some of the 18,847 NPA voters in the legislative district.

Goal ThermometerOne more I want to mention-- HD-116, fully in Miami-Dade-- and home to right-wing power-house Daniel Perez (in line to be Speaker in 2024 if the Democrats keep allowing the GOP to hold onto their majority. They didn't bother recruiting anyone to run against Perez, of course. But the Environmental Caucus and 90 for 90 did-- Bob Lynch, who is kicking butt and taking no prisoners. He has Perez the ropes in a race where he expected (was promised?) no opposition. Like in all Florida swing district races, the winner will be determined by the NPA voters and in HD-116 there are 31,995 of them. If Lynch can appeal to them and turn out the nearly 30,000 Democrats in the district, he'll replace Perez in November. Lynch was on air with Jonathan Tasini at Working Life yesterday. Take a look and listen to what he has to say. If you like it... well, Lynch its the guy who is going to lead the impeachment movement against Ron DeSantis in Tallahassee next year. So, that ActBlue 2020 Florida thermometer on the right? Please click on it and show these candidates some love. They sure don't get any from the lame state Democratic Party. Florida voters aren't forgetting how DeSantis' and his puppets in the legislature have let them down. Yesterday another 9,446 new cases in the state, bringing the total to 451,423, already 10,000 more than New York. There are 21,018 cases per million Floridians, one of the worst in the country. Over 6,000 Floridians have died-- 216 more yesterday-- and the hospitals are full and overflowing. This is a good year for Democrats to run against Republicans, especially Republicans like Daniel Perez.

This new video (below), while not Florida specific, certainly applies to Florida. And, besides, the Lincoln Project just released it a few minutes ago. I knew you'd want to be among the first to watch it. Sure, they're conservative Republicans over there at the Lincoln Project, but they sure know how to make a strong statement with their ad campaigns. This one will help defeat Trump and help elect Democrats up and down the ballot... like Bob Lynch and the other recruits for the Florida state legislature:

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At 10:47 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I love this challenge the state status quo Democrats & beat them at their own game this is why primaries & fighting back matters good luck 90 For 90.

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what's wrong with it? it's in the name...

it's in FL, one of the dumbest, most evil states in the union.

it's the democrap party. corrupt. fascist. stupid. cowardly.

next item!

At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's never a Manhattan Island-sized iceberg when you REALLY need one.

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Mary said...

The root of the problem is that the FDP is not really democratic.
The counties "State Reps" still have "weighed votes" on the State Committee. So basically the 3 largest counties (6 state reps) can decide any vote on the state committee, and the diversity in those larger counties is not reflected.
This and the "you must be part of the in-crowd" to stand for any position in the party means the state party is not reflective of the grassroots democrats in Florida.


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