Florida Democratic Party Leaves Candidates High and Dry

If you aren’t inside you are outside goes the famous saying. In the case of Democratic legislative candidates this is a situation that is clear every single day. With limitless opportunities to grow in this state thanks to significant demographic changes and a more favorable apportionment of legislative seats, the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) seems committed to a facade of action when in reality they are creating more bitter feelings than ever.

Florida’s Democratic Party has failed to provide fundraising lists, campaign help or even at times returning calls in a timely fashion about buying the excellent voters file (The VAN) that has thankfully been developed over the past several years should be provided free of cost to any Democratic candidate as it is many other states.

Consider this: Many self recruited Democratic House candidates who are running in truly marginal seats (marginal by any definition except that of the FDP who takes the path of least resistance to targeting) are struggling to raise money without proper fundraising lists and are struggling against a barrage of GOP money. The best way these Democrats can communicate or even raise money is through direct voter contact, which is dependent on accurate voter data. Now the party can rely on self recruited candidates to occupy incumbent Republicans in marginal seats but they aren’t seeing it this way.  Basic fundraising contact lists and voter information should be made available to any Democrat running for state legislature free of cost by the party.

Instead, they have taken a seemingly indifferent bordering on hostile stand towards not “chosen” candidates as evidenced on this page of the new Florida Dems website and this video shown at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner last weekend. The vast majority of Democrats running for the House across the state are being visibly snubbed by the state party.

The aforementioned video in particular became a subject of controversy this past week throughout the state as Democratic activists backing candidates running in primaries against those featured in the video became vocal.

Over on the Senate side the FDP smartly recruited candidates to 30 senate seats. Unfortunately one of the seats left uncontested is the urban St Petersburg based SD-22, a district carried both by Alex Sink and Barack Obama.  But according to the Florida Dems site, only three Senate races warrant any sort of mention on the official party website.

As Florida’s Democratic activists work hard to rebuild a party that has been destroyed over the past two decades by self inflicted wounds, the state party should be willing to make at least a minimal effort to help this effort. But it seems the FDP is more committed to playing obstructionist than willing leader in the effort to turn Florida blue again.

18 thoughts on “Florida Democratic Party Leaves Candidates High and Dry”

  1. GREAT post! If you aren’t one of the targeted races you can count on your fingers you get NOTHING from the FDP!

    And people wonder why a purple state us so red on the state level!

    Do you think we have any hope if turning it around?

  2. Activists seem to be more fed up now than ever. Some of these same things were happening in 2002, 2004, etc and everybody (myself included) played along for fear of “hurting” the party. But we are way past that point. More and more new registrants to Florida are Democrats. We have a clear advantage electorally in this state thanks to major demographic shifts over the past decade plus. But our party is still fighting the battles of the 1990s with a 1990s mentality about “swing” voters and the importance of Tallahassee lobbyists, rural North Florida counties and not offending “moderates.”

    This as it has been for the past 15 years is a losing philosophy.

  3. And now they are working with Crist again. At least there are some in the party that know enough is enough. I have lived in Miami for ten years and it is not that bad even here. I think the party screwed up by having Wexler back. That guy is BAD news.

  4. I agree with everything here. In the Sarasota area seats the state party isn’t even trying. Beating Pilon, winning back Fitzgerald’s seat would be easy work in a Presidential year if the party simply bothered. But they didn’t recruit, didn’t raise money or spend anytime here.

  5. Crist would actually be a welcome relief. The party doesn’t want him but he’ll bring his own campaign infrastructure, and network of supporters that could actually give us an option to work around the party and work towards winning the state.

  6. I’m not sure Crist would be a “welcome relief” in that we have lots of good progressives that could and should be pushed forward to run BUT I definitely get the part about his own network of workers and support. I would welcome that for sure in place of an outdated, and insular thinking FDP.

  7. The problems of the party have nothing to do with redistricting or money but with poor targeting, poor party discipline, and simple laziness we’ve been beaten up and down the state.

  8. Nope, costs 750 and the info really sucks. They didnt even update abr returns over the past few weeks.

  9. “It is not that bad even here”? I don’t know if you are precinct captain in the Miami-Dade DEC and, if so, where you have been. I have a duly elected precinct captain in the Miami-Dade Democratic Party for the last 20 years and I can tell you the horror stories of present local DEC, beginning with our chair who contributes to Republican candidates, would make your hair curl. The only thing saving our “brand” here in Miami is the dedicated precinct captains and volunteers who are working through the clubs, caucuses and other organizations to elect Democrats. The Miami-Dade Democratic Party is a totally useless piece of nothing. We hope that we can begin a recovery in this new cycle beginning in 2013.

  10. As the only democrat candidate in the trending democrat swing seat HD#115 which was won by Alex Sink in 2010 (when many dems stayed home), I am truly surprised by the intentional limit of resources provided by the FDP. While their financial resources may be limited and there are a number of seats with better demographics, the fact is the possibility for a win very much exists based on many factors. I have been given the cold shoulder by the FDP and treated as if I had an infectious disease. I don’t understand the leaderships thinking, but fundamentaly when someone decides to put themselves up as a candidate, the truth is you better be prepared to win on your own capacity to make it work and not depend on anyone else other than those in the community you wish to serve, your true friends, and your family

  11. Concerned Democrat

    Yes according to this website your seat is a toss up yet the seats the FDP has actually targeted are leans Republican. So either TPH reads numbers differently than the FDP or they have an agenda.

  12. Concerned Democrat

    This is an excellent article again. Keep up the pressure on the FDP and keep up the good work!

  13. It is incredulous that District 115 which Alex Sink won where you are running is listed as “GOP” on the House Victory document we obtained. It is borderline criminal that our state party will do little help candidates making personal sacrifices to run in marginal seats. Best of luck in the race and you do know the true Democrats who are concerned with building the party and defeating bad incumbents like Bileca are behind you.