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Is odd Tweet by FDP trying to justify Allison Tant?

So, in the last few minutes on Twitter, the Florida Democratic Party has put out a tweet which has shown the “accomplishments of Allison Tant”. And if you are wondering if that is a little odd….yes, it is odd. Rarely, if ever, do non-parliamentary political parties boost their leader’s accomplishments, especially if they are so insignificant as the facts which are shown in the FDP’s latest tweet. Here is the picture they added to the tweet:

BREvyhFCEAAZfRZIn this tweet, they talk about extremely insignificant things regarding the Florida Democratic Party. They talk about tweets, Facebook likes, the JJ dinner and so on. Honestly, these thing don’t add up to much, considering candidate recruitment and overall fundraising has been dismal for the party.

But who is this tweet intended to target?

Usually, political parties use their Facebook and Twitter accounts to either promote their candidates or policies, or to question the candidates and policies of the opposition. Why do they do that? Well, usually to get the voters to support of oppose a political party. These social media accounts are usually used to win elections.
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Is Florida Democratic Party preventing Rep. Rouson from doing his job?

Is Christian Ulvert trying to be "Kingmaker" for Florida Democrats?

Is Christian Ulvert trying to be “Kingmaker” for Florida Democrats?

Before I get into the meat and bones of this article, I am going to do something that people in politics never do. I will admit that I was wrong. A few months ago, I questioned whether Darryl Rouson was the right future leader for the House Democratic Caucus. When I made that argument, I had legitimate reasons to come to this conclusion. Being a former Republican, as well as having some questionable comments in the past, I worried that Rouson might try to convince House Democrats to lean more toward the AIF, Florida Chamber and other right-wing-friendly organizations. But after this legislative session, I must say that I was wrong. Rep. Rouson was a reliable Democrat, and had a better voting record than some who I assumed would have a flawless record.

With that being said, let’s move over to the job that Rep. Rouson has been given, which is leading House Democrats to victory in the 2014 election. So far, there hasn’t been any real movement on this front. No serious Democrats have been recruited for key seats, and the Republicans have already recruited formidable candidates against Carl Zimmerman, Mike Clelland and Mark Danish. Even with this being the case, is Rep. Rouson’s hands tied in the matter?
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Has Allison Tant’s campaign manager for FDP Chair “fudged” her educational credentials?

beth

During the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Delaware, people questioned the education credentials of Christine O’Donnell. In her Linkedin page, O’Donnell claimed that she attended the University of Oxford. Upon further review, it was found out that O’Donnell did not attend Oxford, and instead attended a class by something called the Phoenix Institute, which rented space at Oxford.

Little did we know that in Florida we have a similar case. That would be the case of Beth Matuga. Matuga worked, according to her LinkedIn page, as Allison Tant’s campaign manager for the Florida Democratic Party chair’s race against Alan Clendenin.

Going back to LinkedIn, Matuga states that she received her education at Yale University. There is only one problem…she didn’t.
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Democrats Siding With Sugar Again!

The Sugar Industry is getting its way again with the Florida Legislature and the losers will be Florida’s taxpayers, tourism related businesses and ecosystem. The bill which is needed to codify the settlement between the state and feds regarding Everglades cleanup requires Sugar to pay far less than what can be considered a fair share towards the effort. The legislation received unanimous bi-partisan support on Thursday in a House Committee. The legislation represents a tax hike for Florida citizens while sugar gets off relatively easy.

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Future of this Site

Many have noticed that we haven’t posted anything new in a week. It hasn’t been a slow news week at all with the election of Darryl Rouson as House Minority Leader designee, and countless legislative issues, as well continuing fallout from the Greer non-trial. Instead our writers have been focused on new projects while committing to keep TPH relevant.

Our plan is to keep The Political Hurricane going but with more sporadic posts which are  long form analytical in nature. In the meantime, our writers are focused on different projects. Kartik Krishnaiyer will continue his daily look at Florida Politics at a new progressive site which debuts today, The Florida Squeeze. Dave Trotter will be analyzing international elections and voting trends at How The World Votes. In recent days Dave has focused on the upcoming Italian Elections.

We thank you for your continued support of TPH and hope to see you again here soon. In the meantime, check out The Florida Squeeze, and How the World Votes.

House Leadership Election in Final Stages: Some Closing Thoughts

Steve Bousquet reported in the Tampa Bay Times that we will finally have a House Leadership election on February 20th, more than a month after Darryl Rouson (D-St Petersburg) tried to call for a vote. While both Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) and Rouson claim to have the commitments of be elected leader designee, our sources indicate that Rouson has signed pledges from at least  half the caucus and with verbal commitments (which by definition are soft) he has the support of over 2/3 of the 44 member caucus. Jones has the tacit support of current leader Perry Thurston (D-Plantation) and of several party staffers and consultants. It is worth noting once again that for a party that prides itself on being diverse, the Democrats have not had a female House leader in well over a decade.

Rouson is a former Republican whose views on some social issues have “evolved” with time and who has received lots of money from school “choice” advocates. Jones is clearly more liberal, but unlike Rouson who raised money for numerous Democrats running for State House in 2012, even those not targeted by House Victory, Jones own record in helping other Democrats is spotty at best.  During the 2012 cycle Rosuon even personally contributed to the recruitment of  many Democratic candidates, while Jones may have played a role in the underwhelming Democratic performance. This was a cycle where on a newly drawn map, the party captured only 35% of House seats while President Obama carried the state with 50% of the vote and Senator Nelson was reelected with 55% of the vote.

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Darryl Rouson and LGBT Issues

Since Dave Trotter published this 2005 video the other day much discussion has permeated Florida Democratic circles about Darryl Rouson and LGBT issues. Rouson is considered the runaway front runner to be the next House Democratic leader. I have already editorialized that I feel the next leader should be if possible a woman as the House Democratic Caucus has a woeful record of promoting women into leadership positions over the past decade.  However, let me state that it is important to pick the best possible leader and with the discussion of Rouson becoming poisoned recently, I sought out a few reliable sources on this issue.

It appears Rouson has “evolved” on the issue of LGBT rights from advocating outright discrimination in 2005 to being a supporter and some have told me even a champion of these rights in 2013. In fact his “evolution” while perhaps more pronounced than many progressives does mirror to an extent what has happened on the left and in general throughout American society over the past decade.

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Time to Focus on Taking Down Pam Bondi

Much of the attention of Florida Democrats has been rightfully focused on ousting Governor Rick Scott next year. However, little if any time has been spent in discussing the statewide cabinet races, a place where Democrats must take advantage of shifting attitudes and demographics in the state.  Democrats have lots 10 of the last 11 cabinet races with the lone victory coming in 2006 when Alex Sink defeated Senate President Tom Lee who had become unpopular among Tallahassee lobbyists and Republican donors/activists throughout the state.  This record is worse than any other Democratic Party east of the Mississippi over the same time period (since 2000). While defeating Jeff Atwater (who boasts support of many nominal Democrats in southeast Florida) and Adam Putnam, the former number three Republican in the House leadership appears a clean fit for Agriculture Commissioner. While Democrats should by no means concede these two races, the focus should be on Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Consider that many members of the Florida Bar consider Pam Bondi to be one of the worst Attorney Generals in the country. Bondi has been the hyper-partisan ideological law enforcement office Florida Republicans have long craved. This is no surprise considering Bondi’s  prior claim to fame was a conservative hack on FOX News’ Hannity show, which is one hour of pure right wing drivel. Bondi won a competitive three way Republican Primary in 2010 and then benefited from a conservative tide and political attacks bordering on slander towards Dan Gelber, the single state legislator who was most qualified to be Attorney General in the State of Florida in order to win her office. Bondi and her surrogates waged a campaign of fear and demagoguery about “Obamacare,”  feminism and “radical environmentalism.”

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Strange Donation from the FDP to Rep. Mia Jones In Dying Days of 2012 Campaign

I think  Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) who is a candidate for Minority Leader against the favored Darryl Rouson (D-St Petersburg) and the irrelevant Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) is a solid choice, and I would like to see her win the post. However, I am very troubled to learn that in the dying days of the 2012 campaign as Democrats were struggling to raise last minute cash in extremely close races that the Florida Democratic Party cut two large checks to Jones campaign in a safe African-American dominated Jacksonville district.

For some strange reason Tallahassee establishment Democrats were patting themselves on the back for winning 44 of 120 House seats in this election while the party carried the state at the Presidential and US Senate level. That’s less than 36% of the seats that was won by the Democrats on a completely new legislative map, where almost as many seats should go Democratic as Republican.  The FDP choose to not contest seriously many pick-up opportunities, for some  inexplicable reason. Incumbency has advantages no doubt, but those advantages are negated to a certain extent when sitting members must run in new terrain. One such example was HD-63 where 2/3 of the district was new to Rep. Shawn Harrison and Mark Danish won despite the indifference of the Tallahassee based FDP leadership.

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Continued Divisions Throughout Local DECs

The closeness of the FDP Chairs race exposed the fault lines on the state party level that exist throughout Florida. They also demonstrated the strong support two excellent candidates had gained through a bruising campaign. Alan Clendenin put many important reform minded ideas on the table, that were embraced by rank in file DEC members across the state. Allison Tant, who has had a key role in formulating and funding a progressive network of advocacy groups that have helped negatively define Rick Scott, also has a background as a strong fundraiser.

The contest could have served as a springboard for ideas and uniting the party going into a tough 2014 election cycle. But what has instead happened is that feuds, both age old and brand new are consuming DEC’s throughout the state.

Large county DECs seem to always be characterized by factions and right now is no exception. But it seems the energy and possible positive momentum generated by a contentious but necessary race for FDP Chair (the closest in election in at least two decades) may be refocused on petty in-fighting at the DEC level.

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