FDP Chair Race: Elected Officials Trying to Annoit Chair Again


Earlier today, Allison Tant of Tallahassee publicly declared her candidacy for Chair of the Florida Democratic Party. Tant is an excellent fundraiser and has written many checks herself for Democratic candidates over the year. This past year she gave $10,000 to former Rep. Loranne Ausley’s CCE, Project New Florida, a committee that partakes in electioneering communications. But Tant is essentially a Tallahassee socialite, comfortable and effective on the insider driven cocktail party circuit Democrats must get away from in order to rebuild the infrastructure of a once proud but long decrypt party.

Tant would be an excellent head of a Finance Committee for the FDP but is not chairperson material. But once again we have found a situation where the party “elders” namely elected officials like Senator Bill Nelson and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz are more concerned about party fundraising and possibly keeping access and employment for party staff & consultants than rebuilding a party that has lost a greater percentage of races for statewide (non-Federal) office than any other Democratic Party east of the Mississippi since 2000.

Several elected officials have continued to show an arrogance and condescending attitude to the will of the party activists. They have maintained that they know what is best for the party, despite a continued losing streak that is threatening to reach two decades on the state level.

By all accounts, Tant’s candidacy is about raising money, protecting certain high priced staff/consultants (some of whom have a woeful record in statewide and state legislative races) and keeping the party Tallahassee-centric and weak on a statewide level. We need to rebuild the party and take full advantage of the sweeping demographic changes throughout the state not simply anoint another Tallahassee insider.

Tant’s husband Barry Richard is one of the top lawyers in the state, and among the most prominent Floridians in national legal circles. He is an accomplished attorney, who represented George W. Bush in the 2000 Election Recount using his immense legal skill to ensure that every vote was not counted in Florida, thus denying Al Gore the Presidency. Tant herself has contributed to a few Republicans over the years but that may very well be a non-issue when you consider how much money she has effectively raised for Democrats, including President Obama recently.

Should Tant become the Chair of the party, she would be fourth consecutive head of the FDP spanning a decade that is from north of Orlando. This has come at a time when Democrats have become an urban-centric party based around the three major metropolitan areas in the state. Yet, the Tallahassee centric party insiders continue to look to leaders from outside the I-4 corridor or southeast Florida in order to maintain their grip on a woefully inadequately built party.

For a party who finds itself in a helpless minority position in state government, Florida’s top Democratic elected officials certainly have a lot of arrogance to claim they know what’s best for the party. The Democratic Party needs a Chair that will work hard to build an infrastructure statewide, provide a permanent presence in the large urban centers of the state and bring some fresh ideas and thoughts to the job. Tant based on her social circle and those promoting her candidacy will not bring that.

It is critical that whomever is the next chair of the Democratic Party have a real plan to change the fortunes of the party and take advantage of what is becoming increasingly a blue state in national elections. Those serious about leading the party back to majority status in the state must provide a clear vision of where they want to see the Democrats go in the future.

Thus far in the race of Chair, only Alan Clendenin who is from Tampa, has offered a real vision and plan for where he would take the party. It is imperative that any candidate seeking this position offer a similarly detailed vision for the future.


21 thoughts on “FDP Chair Race: Elected Officials Trying to Annoit Chair Again

  1. It’s pretty pathetic how desperate certain consultants are to cling to power. I was hopeful Randolph could shake up this gang. Now we will have to count on Tadeo or Clendenin to do so.

    We cannot afford another insider picked chairman who goes AWOL and let’s the staff run amok.

  2. “Should Tant become the Chair of the party, she would be fourth consecutive head of the FDP spanning a decade that is from north of Orlando. This has come at a time when Democrats have become an urban-centric party based around the three major metropolitan areas in the state. Yet, the Tallahassee centric party insiders continue to look to leaders from outside the I-4 corridor or southeast Florida in order to maintain their grip on a woefully inadequately built party.”

    This is a pretty damning article in general but the above paragraph is perhaps the most important. And you wonder why we keep losing? And are DEC leaders like Diane Glasser and others more concerned about keeping their status and cow towing to Tallahassee insiders than actually making the party more representative of the people who actually vote for Democrats? I say move the party HQ to Orlando and get the heck away from all these lobbyists and socialites!

  3. Clendenin is nothing but a puppet for OFA and a way for them to take over the party. If you’re going to call out someone for being connected, then pay attention to who tou’re endorsing as well, and who is backing them.

  4. I know Tant and like her. But she’d be an incredibly weak chair from the standpoint of formulating and articulating a message. Of course the Dems are obsessive about promoting women and minorities into these sorts of positions.

  5. This is a double edged sword. We expect leadership from our top electeds and in many cases they do lead. But they live in a bubble, isolated from the reality on the grassroots and the frustration of hard working activists who are tired if constant losing. We can tout our election success in 2012, but the reality for the next two years is that we are still an overwhelming minority and the GOP still holds every state office. More of the same is not going to change that. We need fresh thinking, more organization in areas that actually support Democrats and a lot more media savvy.

  6. I thought this time the Tallahassee faction would leave well enough alone. I actually thought this go round with the tight rules thanks to DEC Elections they’d let the State Committee choose a chair without interference. We after all have zero cabinet members and little leadership in the Legislature.

    But I was wrong. I would nit know Mrs. Tant from a hole in the wall but do not like the process to find her and push her candidacy. Also, keeping the current staff and consultants is sure fire way to lose yet again. When will we learn!

  7. Those darn OFA people! Thanks to then we have fresh blood, fresh ideas and some wins in the party! They must be stopped at all costs!!!’n

  8. Considering most activists wouldn’t have a clue about electoral strategy I feel better about Nelson and DWS selecting a chair than know-nothing DEC leaders motivated by narcism.

  9. OFA didn’t do anything in Orange County. They didn’t coordinate with any local Democratic candidates. They are a machine of their own, for their own.

  10. What is it some of you folks have against OFA? THEY WON TWICE…….hell of a lot better than the smart leadership in Tallahassee has done in the last several years!

  11. I have said this once, twice and a hundred times, but it isn’t OFA’s job to build local DECs. It is the local DECs jobs to build local DECs, as well as the Florida Democratic Party. If the DECs keep electing crappy leaders, as well as the FDP, then they will falter.

    I’m really getting tired of people saying that OFA owes them something. No, they owe the DECs nothing. It is time for some of these DECs to get off their asses and become proactive instead of bitching and blaming others for their woes.

  12. Yeah, considering Nelson and DWS have been in some real close races. DWS wins because she has the right district. Nelson only wins because the Republicans pick the worst possible candidates. If the Democrats had nominated Hideki Tojo to run against Katherine Harris, he would have even won. Not like Nelson or DWS’s electoral wins are anything to write home about.

  13. OFA did what it was built to do- deliver an Obama victory in Florida TWICE. The FDP has failed in what it was built to do, win Governors races (lost 4 straight) and capture the legislature (16 years of total GOP control). That is the bottom line, the score-sheet if you will.

  14. OFA is done with the DECs. DWS and Nelson need to step aside. Charlie thing …don’t think its not going to bite you in the ass. It will.

  15. Democratic spokesperson and US Senator pushes Bush’s aide while they advocate for Crist return.

    LOL what fools. No wonder the Ds will be screwed statewide.

    Has Johnson or Wexler been arrested yet? I heard longtime Diane Glasser’s buddy and Stacey R friend is going on down.

    Cleaning up in PBC and Broward….just wait.

    Thanks CC

  16. I’m at a loss about this.

    Really Clendenin should stay in the race and fight this heavy handed attempt to again choose an unqualified Tallahassee insider as chairwoman.

    I know the deck may be stacked but many activists in DECs have grown sick and tired of this type of top down, Tallahassee centric management. I think he may just still win this thing.

  17. One of the most important things any FDP chair needs to do is to raise money. Without adequate funds, we will never be able to staff our DECs adequately and build the infrastructure needed to win in 2014. Allison Tant is a proven and effective fundraiser and a generous donor. Annette Taddeo is second best. The Party MUST have an enthusiastic and respected fundraiser at the helm.

  18. Pingback: Exclusive: FDP Staff Campaigning for Chair Candidate in State Capitol « The Political Hurricane – Florida Political Blog.

  19. Pingback: Crist Now a Democrat: Reaction « The Political Hurricane – Florida Political Blog.

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