By Javier Manjarres
The second noteworthy election in Florida in 2013 is the heated race to replace Rod Smith, the outgoing Chairman of the Democratic Party of Florida. Earlier this month, current RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry ran unopposed and was re-elected for the Chairman’s position.
The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz- who as you know is also the Democratic National Committee Chairwoman- could suffer a “an embarrassing snub” by Democratic activists in the “race to lead the state Democratic party.”
Wasserman Schultz has “aggressively” lobbied for, and has given her blessing to her long-time friend Allison Tant to succeed Chairman Smith, but it seems as if the uber-liberal and openly gay Democratic activist from Tampa Alan Clendenin could run away with race. Clendenin has stated that Wasserman Schultz has already “urged him” to drop out of the race.
The Times also posted that “a tally of announced support” for the two candidates was announced and Clendenin was able to garner 68.4 percent of the vote, while Tant received 32 percent.
Democratic state committee members from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties on Monday night held a non-binding vote on the race for party chairman and unanimously backed Clendenin over Tant. The way the party weights votes in such party elections, the votes from those three Democratic strongholds could all but ensure Clendenin is the next state party chairman.
“They’re in absolute denial that they’ve lost,” Hillsborough Democratic Chairman Chris Mitchell said of Tant and her supporters. “Now they’re scrambling, and Debbie’s trying to save face…she wants to have complete control of the (state party) and what they do, and Allison Tant gives her complete control. Debbie knows she can’t control Alan and she can control Allison.”-Tampa Bay Times
Throughout the 2012 election, widespread disapproval and animosity towards Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz spread amongst the ranks of the Democratic party nationwide, but none was more telling that the criticism she received from local Broward politicos, friends, and past ‘DWS’ supporters who soured towards her and believed that she had become too polarizing and divisive.
At one point in the election season, ‘DWS’ position as DNC Chairwoman was in jeopardy as sources close to the administration leaked information out about Obama’s issues with Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz. But with Obama’s re-election, those past troubles are now water under the bridge, and it appears that the President and Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz have made nice.
But as Wasserman Schultz says, “the vote is on Jan. 26th and that’s the one that matters.” She is correct. These type of inter-party races boil down to last minute arm-twisting and negotiations, but this race could go either way.
The big prize here for the Democrat party of Florida is not the state party’s race but the 2014 Gubernatorial election. Wasserman Schultz is suspected of backing former Republican turned Democrat Governor Charlie Crist, to run against Rick Scott.
“This is nothing more than I am leader of the party nationally and I care about my state, and I really care about making sure that we can defeat Rick Scott.” -Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
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