Broward Democrats Battle Each Other Over DEC Control

Broward County has long been the most Democratic urban county in the state. For years statewide candidates have sought to maximize vote totals coming out of the county to offset certain losses in other parts of the state.  For many years a faction of local Democratic leaders have worked outside the DEC creating organizations and networks that benefit candidates of both parties. At issue is the perceived performance of Mitch Caeser, DEC Chairman since 1996. He is being challenged by OFA’s Cynthia Busch who is well regarded by activists in the county and beyond.
The critique of the local party is that it is not an effective political organization. This critique, while  having a certain degree of validity, has not been reflected in results. Broward consistently over-performs relative to Democratic and NPA registration, though the numbers have been stable for years. But critics claim that these numbers owe itself to activists  organizing on the side, which is an infrastructure outside the party that has existed now for decades in the county.

As someone who is a seated DEC member and has to cast a vote in this race, I have a few observations. My feeling has been for years that the Broward Party needs to improve its structure, communications and organization. When I was a staffer for the Palm Beach DEC over a decade ago, we maintained a sophisticated targeting operation which utilized the most advanced technology of the day, maintained a presence in all portions of the county and communicated regularly with voters even outside of the election cycles. We also got involved in municipal elections to attempt to build a bench in a county which at the time had more Republican local elected officials than Democrats, despite a heavy Dem performance edge.

Broward’s Democratic Party right now isn’t well organized and doesn’t maintain a real presence between elections. Technology is not being used effectively and communications are spotty at best. This comes despite the fact that Chairman Caeser is one of the most articulate and positive spokespeople the Democratic Party in Florida has, and his presence in both a room and on TV is impressive when contrasted with other Dem leaders across the state.

Question marks exist for the opposition as well. Backed by multiple local political consultants who often work both sides of the street, Caeser’s opponents don’t have a real plan for what they would do differently other than to say they would organize more effectively and engage activists. Running a party is not an easy business and in my experiences around DECs and the FDP, stretching back 15 years, I have seen many local parties run substantially worse than Broward’s. A prerequisite for running for party office should be to produce a public plan that can be dissected much as Alan Clendenin has done on the state level.

The opposition has fielded a slate of candidates that have been around Democratic politics for a long while. Many have for various reasons opposed Caeser’s leadership and that of the other officers in the Broward DEC. Both sides have questions to answer regarding how they would run the party.  These DEC races with an election slated for December 6th are worth watching by Democrats across the state.


14 thoughts on “Broward Democrats Battle Each Other Over DEC Control

  1. Broward is THE most important county for Democrats so trust TPH will keep its readers up to date on the developments.

  2. Telling is that Cynthia’s upcoming meet and greet is being held by George and Seth Platt, Broward über lobbyists. So between the lobbyists and consultants supporting her, it’s hypocrisy for her and her husband to talk about Mitch being a lobbyists.

  3. It’s fair to say Caeser is far from likable and is ruthless in hanging on to power.

    He needs to go and needed to go yesterday.

    His continued presence is annoying to consultants who want party business and cannot get it. I think it is time he went but the coalition opposing him leaves little to be desired. I am glad I am not a DEC member forced to vote in this occasion.

  4. Cynthia is actually the only person in this race that has produced a plan Kartik. I will try and get you a copy.
    Marvin, mine and my father’s interest are altruistic and based on what is best for the community, the Party, and the State. Cynthia is also being endorsed by many within the Party leadership rank and State and local elected officials.
    Currently the Broward Democratic leadership is ineffective and nonexistent and run like a secret club.
    We need far better communication, outreach and integration of technology, among other things. Stay tuned…

    BTW, Great image of the worst website of any County Democratic Party.

  5. Ceasar has raised money from a costly sit-down dinner and used it to print up palm cards. Every county party organization does exactly the same thing every year. The only amazing part is that Buddy finds this to be impressive. Maybe Buddy should travel more. The Pinellas County Democratic Party does all that AND runs an excellent free training program for prospective candidates (“Candidate’s Boot Camp”), basically teaching them how to run a campaign and win. Ceasar does nothing of the sort – he wants candidates to shovel their $$$ into the wallets of his pals, the campaign consultants. To this bare-minimum level of activity, Ceasar adds some TV and radio spokesperson work, also par for the course, though he does more of it and on bigger media channels.

    All the criticism of the past – his alleged sexual harassment of employees, his abuse of the bylaws to deprive everyone else of any voice in the organization, his complete lack of ethics and willingness to commit election “irregularities” to preserve his grip on power, his talent for disgusting and repelling Democratic activists – type “Ceasar” into the Broward Beat search box to pull up all the details – all of that is still completely valid. Ceasar has done absolutely nothing to redeem himself.

    As usual, Ceasar has packed and stacked the precinct captain slots with his supporters (most of whom do very little or nothing in the way of actual work on behalf of Democratic candidates), while genuine and hardworking Democratic activists either flee to the Obama for America organization or to one of the progressive activist groups organized by real Democrats like Phil Busey, Cynthia Busch, and Randy Fleischer. Those organizations, which exist not because of Ceasar but despite him, are the ones that ran a powerful ground game in Broward County. Crediting Ceasar for that, or making mealy-mouthed claims that Ceasar should get credit for it (as if his contributions were not absolutely overwhelmed by all of his malfeasance), is outrageous. You have not done that here but at the same time do not point out the performance you laud has ZERO to do with him.

    We all know what will happen. Ceasar will be re-elected by his carefully stuffed hand-picked group of pals, and the vote-counting will be rigged and wholly non-transparent just to make sure nobody else can possibly win. That isn’t surprising.

  6. Then why bother with the DEC? Stick with the activist groups outside the party doing such a good job? Here in Palm Beach we look at Broward with envy. Shouldn’t we?

  7. Cynthia will do well and she should since like Siegal, Caesar is great with harrassment issue. Really the party of women? Who are they kidding. The difference is that Mitch does not put his foot in his mouth just his hands on women. The PBC Dec is a joke. Siegal is planning to run again. Imagine if a Christian DEC president said something publically like Siegal said. Where are the elected officials with the press conferences? Where is Deutch, Wexler, Rader, Sachs, Abruzzo, Pafford, Clemens, Berman, Slosberg now? Just a bunch of losers…not leaders. That is why we are going to kick your ass in 2014 boys and girls because we know what’s happening locally. Jack sends his hellos.

  8. Broward did better than PBC. With Mitch it does not matter if he wins or loses….it won’t matter much. I do agree with the issue with PBC. They are a mess. I think the local parties and the state party needs a clean up from the bottom to the top.

  9. I think Caeser is the lesser of two evils in all honesty. Do you want manipulative consultants tied directly to political factions like Barbara Miller and Amy Rose running the DEC? Think about that for a minute. A weak and inept DEC is better than one run to settle political scores and force political agendas down the throats of party activists and workers. Caeser should go but not to put this gang in power.

  10. Siegel better get the heck out. Let’s get Tara Laxer to run for chair. She is young, smart and hot. She would be a great spokesmodel for the county. Can we have her move to Broward? I know she would have to leave her driveway-but we need HOPE and she gives me hope.

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