TPH has learned through multiple sources that several advocates in the Latino/Hispanic are unhappy with state party leadership particularly Congresswoman/DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for pushing Allison Tant’s candidacy after Annette Tadeo-Goldstein had already announced she was running for FDP State Chairwoman. Despite the intense lobbying from DWS and other leaders, Taddeo-Goldstein retains most of the support among Latino/Hispanic leaders around the state, with Alan Clendenin also boasting some support in this important demographic. It is worth noting that Wasserman-Schultz retains a favorable image among most activists although many are choosing to defy her for the time being on this matter.
Latino/Hispanic voters made the difference in Florida this election year, launching President Obama to victory statewide. For example, in Osceola County where George W. Bush had defeated John Kerry in 2004, President Obama carried the county by 25 points on November 6th. The swing among Latino voters was almost completely responsible for this shift. The same can be said for the upward trends in Orange, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties as well the increased Democratic margins in Broward county.
With grassroots activists throughout the state fuming about the push for Tant, we have learned that Taddeo-Goldstein and Clendenin have begun conversations in the last few days regarding the future of the FDP. These conversations have been described as ” very constructive” by a source wishing not be identified publicly. Anger with a state party run by Tallahassee elites with little or no input from the grassroots, particularly the large urban counties in southeast Florida and along I-4 are uniting supporters of both Taddeo-Goldstein and Clendenin.
In our informal canvass this past week of Democratic activists we have found while many disagree as to whether Clendenin or Taddeo-Goldstein would be the better choice (Clendenin has more support statewide than Taddeo-Goldstein) both sets of supporters agree that the other would be a better choice than Tant. The issues related to Tant’s candidacy with most activists have little to do with the candidate herself, but with the continued frustration about a Tallahassee/lobbyist centric party that has been losing elections at the state level for well over a decade. The general sense is that the performance of the party in statewide (non-Presidential) elections is a cause to change direction and restructure the party apparatus.
Should Tant become the Chair of the party, she would be fourth consecutive head of the FDP spanning a decade of futility in state elections that hails 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, it’s striking to many outsiders that the party continues to repeat the same mistakes. The majority of activists around the state continue to push the idea that the Florida 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.