Trotter’s Commentary: Scott Arceneaux should resign as FDP Executive Director.

Scott Arceneaux working as Tant's campaign manager in Leon County.
Scott Arceneaux, Tant’s campaign manager, at a Leon County DEC meeting.

Over the past few years, I have been quite critical of the Florida Democratic Party. Most of this criticism has come from the horrible performance of the FDP in recruiting quality candidates when it comes to our legislative seats. Also, the fact that we continue to only win our minimum amount of seat continues to be something that should be of concern to many Democrats around the state. During the term of Scott Arceneaux as Executive Direct of the party, no real movement has been made to make the Democratic Party better.

Over the past couple of days, I have been informed by a number of highly reliable sources that Scott Arceneaux is working as Allison Tant’s campaign manager in her race for the Florida Democratic Party Chair position. Because of this, Scott Arceneaux should resign immediately as the Executive Director of the FDP.

Why should he resign you might ask? Well there are a number of reasons. First, not only is Mr. Arceneaux taking sides in a race where FDP staffers should be neutral, other people that are highly involved with the failures of the party, such at the consultant for House Victory in 2012 Christian Ulvert, are actively campaigning for Tant. This is something that we discovered just days after Mrs. Tant’s announcement that she was running as FDP Chair. Therefore, if you are one of those people who feel that things need to be “shaken up”, Mrs. Tant seems to be heavily supported by the current staff of the FDP. What does that mean? Yep, business as usual.

Not only has Arceneaux solidified the FDP staff to support Tant, he also has the resources as the FDP Executive Director to manipulate the race in favor of Tant. First of all, he has already flexed his power by moving the race for the FDP Chair from December to January. Second, as FDP ED, he has information that is vitally important for running for the position. In many of the small counties, they do not have press releases or websites announcing the newly elected officials for their DECs. But, as the ED of the party, Arceneaux has all that information at the tip of his fingers.

For example, let’s say that a small county has their DEC election. They notify the FDP about their new officers. Scott Arceneaux is immediately privy to that information, which he can solicit support himself or ask Mrs. Tant to solicit support. On the other hand, if Mr. Clendenin asks for that information, Arceneaux can stall the process, possibly even refusing to give the information to Mr. Clendenin. Therefore, the position that Arceneaux has within the FDP gives Mrs. Tant a completely unfair advantage in this race.

But not only does having information before anyone else an advantage for Tant, the purse strings of the FDP can also be used as a tool to forge support for both Mrs. Tant and Mr. Arceneaux.

One example of this is the Orange County DEC. Back on November 14th, 2011, Scott Randolph was elected as the Chair of the Orange County DEC. Up until that time, the Florida Democratic Party hardly invested in the Orange DEC. In fact, when Mr. Randolph first took over the reigns of the local party, the FDP still gave very little to the Orange DEC.

Then Mr. Randolph stated in April that he was going to run for the Chair of the FDP. Up to that point of Mr. Randolph’s term as DEC Chair, the FDP had only given the Orange DEC a $250 check. After Mr. Randolph announced he was running for chair, the FDP became a little more interested in the Orange County DEC.

Just after Mr. Randolph’s announcement in April, the FDP gave the Orange County DEC a $20,000 check on April 18th, 2012. On July 23rd, the FDP gave the Orange County DEC a $15,063 check. On October 16th, two checks totaling $10,000 came into the DEC. On October 18th, another check comes in for $10,000. On October 25th, another $5,000 check finds its way to the Orange County DEC. So, in total, from the time that Scott Randolph announced he was going to run for FDP Chair, the FDP gave the Orange County DEC just over $60,000.

Of course, you might say “well, I’m sure they did this in 2010 as well.” Nope. The FDP gave the a grand total of $0 to the Orange County DEC in 2010. Though, in 2008, it is a little different. The DEC was given a $23,930 check, but that was to pay for local filing fees. Records at the Division of Elections also indicate that the FDP did this with a number of other counties around the state as well. This doesn’t seem to be the case with the Orange County DEC contributions from the FDP in 2012 though.

Even looking at the 2012 election, how much did the Orange County DEC get compared to other DECs? Interestingly enough, a lot more. Orange County had nearly double the amount of contributions from the FDP than Broward County. Here is a list of the top 10 DECs that the Florida Democratic Party gave to from the time that Mr. Randolph announced he was running for DEC Chair until Election Day 2012:

Orange: $60,063
Broward: $30,386
Hillsborough: $16,651
Leon: $14,177
Palm Beach: $12,559
Pinellas: $6,756
Duval: $5,855
Brevard: $5,720
Pasco: $4,258
Monroe: $2,997

While the “follow the money” tactic is quite interesting, what is also interesting is what Mr. Randolph said after he was elected Tax Collector of Orange County. According to the Orlando Sentinel, he stated the following:

“The Orlando Democrat said two factors are driving the decision, which he plans to make by this weekend. He said he wants to make sure to fully tackle his new elected post and that Scott Arceneaux, the party’s executive director, stays on in that role.”

For those of us that wanted change in the Florida Democratic Party, and were originally looking at Mr. Randolph to provide that change, we expected that he would easily sack Mr. Arceneaux from his currently position. Therefore, when he made this statement it was quite odd. Or was it?

In May, I was talking to a staffer with the Florida Democratic Party. This person stated that “I guess I will have to get along with Mr. Randolph, since he is going to be my boss.” Again, I thought that to be an odd statement coming from someone that I was almost certain was going to be sacked by someone wanting to “change” the party. In addition, we were hearing as early as June, from highly reliable sources, that if Randolph was elected to the position, he would keep all of the staff. His insistence on making sure that Mr. Arceneaux remains as the Executive Director of the Florida Democratic Party seems to give credence to these rumors.

Was the amount of money that was directed toward the Orange County DEC from the FDP “writing on the wall”? I am not entirely sure. Although I do have to say that it is quite odd that Orange County would get more money from the FDP than the “Big Three” counties combined. Again, something doesn’t pass the smell text. And yes, Scott Arceneaux is the one that controls the purse strings.

Everything that Mr. Arceneaux has done in the race for Florida Democratic Party Chair, whether the candidate was Mrs. Tant or Mr. Randolph, seems ethically wrong considering his position. The overall point is that Mr. Arceneaux does not have the interest of the Party in mind. Instead, his interest is to keep his job. And in pursuing this interest, he gives any candidate that he picks to be his favorite an extremely unfair advantage in the race for FDP Chair.

We do not need to have a “kingmaker” in the Florida Democratic Party, and Mr. Arceneaux needs to go…now.

23 thoughts on “Trotter’s Commentary: Scott Arceneaux should resign as FDP Executive Director.”

  1. While my sentiment is to agree with this article, my common sense tells me that it’s going to continue being business as usual because democrats seem to always eat up other democrats.

  2. Lewis in Lauderdale

    He should not resign due to this Tant stuff. That’s his right to support who he wants. Democratic Party officials are openly backing your guy also, like the Black Caucus and such.

    He should resign or be fired based on the results achieved by the party in elections.

    The Republicans have 76 State House seats! 76!!! The Tampa Bay Times found after redistricting only 66 seats favored Republicans. Your site or more accurately Kartik has said they only have 59-62 seats. In any event we are way underperforming. Either 10 seats shot or 17 seats short, either way it is bad.

    It is on SA’s watch that we recruited the most lackluster set of statewide candidates ever and got our clocks cleaned in 2010. It is on his watch that we did not take advantage of huge waves in 2008 and 2012 to capture more legislative seats or even make more seats competitive.

    Even of the 12 seats all of which favored Democrats and were won by Obama that Christian Ulvert who was hired by SA targeted, we won only five!

    Do your homework and write a piece saying all the staff should resign over such consistently piss poor targeting and performance.

  3. He just sucks. You also have the issue of Scott allowing the bs to be send out under Ron Klein’s name (the SS number). The guy is not very bright and Christian is nice though. His issue is that he believes that Aronberg is not going to get in trouble. He will even as State Attorney.

    The party is a joke on every level.

  4. Some of the money to Orange County was pass through, especially after Randolph was chosen as the replacement candidate for Tax Collector in October

  5. Lewis, those that are members of a caucus aren’t “staff” of the Florida Democratic Party. Arceneaux is staff, which is quite different.

  6. As far as targeting and performance, I don’t think they should resign over that. That is the reason that we are supporting Alan. That should be put up for an election. Just like the President of the United States. If a president does a poor job, you can kick him out of office. I just think that asking them to resign over poor performance isn’t correct. That is what elections are for.

    But influencing an election in this way by being a staff member is quite a bit different.

    As far as the targeting, I think that those that read our blog already know where we stand as far as the FDP’s targeting. That is nothing new whatsoever. These revelations about Arceneaux are.

  7. Christian Ulvert? I got 48.84% in my state house race instead of 50.01% because Christian Ulvert told my county DEC that HD114 was unwinnable. Tell me who Christian Ulvert is supporting and I will shout from the rooftops to support the other person because Florida needs Democratic legislators!

  8. Lewis in Lauderdale

    Ulvert is openly campaigning for Allison Tant. For some reason with all the shots at Tant on this site, Kartik & Dave have yet to mention him. Maybe they don’t think he is that important or maybe they are saving it. In any event the articles here are invaluable to framing the debate. Keep it up.

  9. You might still have won, had it not been for other mistakes. For instance, your campaign Website indicated that HD 114’s western boundary stopped at 67th Avenue. Apparently not, because a friend of mine and I reside west of Ludlum (he, close to the Palmetto), and the HD 114 race was on our ballot. Had you been aware of the true boundary, you might have made an appearance at one of the Waterway Neighborhood Association meetings like you did elsewhere (at which your opponent was a no-show). Could have meant game-changing votes for you. After learning your position on the various issues, I attempted to make an online contribution to the campaign. Your Website didn’t “take” it. So, I tried to send an email to alert you to the boundary error and to the contribution problem, but your inbox was full and not accepting messages. My friend and I both voted for you and were disappointed that you did not prevail, especially because the margin was close. I believe you could have won. Please run again. Florida needs you.

  10. Arceneaux is not the issue. The issue right now is a party adrift on policy and the collapse of the grassroots. I do not know Alan Clendenin but this site keeps pushing him and I guarantee you knowing Allison Tant that she cannot lead. I know this personally. Nothing against her but she’s not chair material. That is the issue.

  11. Lewis in Lauderdale

    They are all issue. The issues that should get all these people fired and removed is longer than the St John’s River. They have been negligent in their duties.

  12. Thanks Dave, but for a county as large as Miami Dade this is an insult. I was DEC Vice Chair and I did not know we got this money. It did not go for GOTV or any operation of the DEC.

  13. The whole staff should be fired not just him. Piss poor performance in consecutive elections. We won only what we were handed with few exceptions.

  14. Lewis in Lauderdale

    I agree. Fire them all. We do not even have a person that handles day to day maintenance of the voter file OR day to day relationships with DEC. I do not know what all these staffers get paid to do other than to go to cocktail parties and act important. We need change NOW!