This message that I am writing is specifically for those who were supporters of Scott Randolph during his run for the chair of the Florida Democratic Party. As many of you know, Mr. Randolph has now said he is not going to seek the FDP Chair position because he will be working full time as the tax collector of Orange County. I am very confident that Scott will do a great job in that position and I wish him the best of luck. Hopefully, he will be able to retain that seat for as long as Earl K. Wood did, if Scott wishes to do so.
If you were like me, you originally supported Scott Randolph for Chair of the Florida Democratic Party because you thought he would bring change to the current party system in Tallahassee. While I had not personally endorsed Scott (mostly because the field wasn’t set yet for the position and we were in the middle of an election), I did plan on supporting him for this position. During his time as a member of the Florida House of Representatives, he has always put progressive causes first and foremost. In addition, he was also there for the people of his district. Scott is very knowledgeable of the issues at hand, and I consider him one of the best Democrats that we have had in the last few election cycles.
In addition to Scott, his wife Susannah has also done a great job at mobilizing Democrats and making sure that more people vote D instead of R. Her Florida Watch Action organization along with the Pink Slip Rick movement has helped unite Democrats in a way that we haven’t seen in a while. A few months ago, I had lunch with Scott and Susannah. Both of them talked about their strategy over the next few years, which was quite interesting.
Even though Scott is no longer running for the Chair, I do want to thank him for bringing up the issues that will change this state. Along with his wife, the Democrats are better off as an organization than they were six short years ago. Every few days I see a Pink Slip Rick bumper sticker on a car. If it wasn’t for the Randolphs, Rick Scott might have been able to weasel his way to a 45% or 50% approval rating. But the pressure that they continue to put on Rick Scott has made a difference. In regards to the party, it was the Randolphs that made it “okay” to say that Rod Smith and the current establishment isn’t doing their job. And for that, all Democrats around the state should be thankful.
Now it is time to look at the next chair, which is why I am writing this letter to those that supported Scott Randolph. Many of you, like myself, are truly concerned about the future of the Democratic Party. We feel that we have the possibility to do more, but yet the current party establishment has fallen flat on its face. Whether it was Scott Maddox, Karen Thurman or Rod Smith, the failure of either the leadership or the structure of the party led to disappointment year after year.
As for the current candidates for the FDP Chair position, Alan Clendenin is the only one that has come up with a solid plan. Not only has he worked hard to lay out the future of the Democratic Party, he also understands that the local DECs and activists are the backbone of our grassroots network. This is something that many in the party have been complaining about for years, including Scott Randolph. Therefore, if you were a supporter of Randolph, the only logical choice for chair is Mr. Clendenin.
Of course, during the next few weeks, we will hear the names of others that are running. The questions that must be asked of these people is if they have any connection to the current Florida Democratic Party. Yes, some big names might pop up, but is it in our best interest to have these people involved in our party, much less running it? Maddox, Thurman and Smith have used this position to make themselves relevant in party politics but did absolutely nothing to improve the standing of the Democrats in the State of Florida. We no longer need a leader like that.
The current candidates for the position that are opposing Mr. Clendenin, Allison Tant and Annette Taddeo, don’t seem to have a plan for the Florida Democratic Party. While we might give Mrs. Tant the benefit of the doubt, since she just announced today, Taddeo still hasn’t produced any concrete plan to get the party back on its feet. Us Democrats slammed Mitt Romney for not having a plan during this most recent election. We should require a plan for those seeking this position as well.
Therefore, I ask Scott Randolph supporters, as well as the Randolphs themselves, to look at Mr. Clendenin’s plans for the Florida Democratic Party. Mr. Clendenin is purely the only choice that has shown he has a true concern about the direction of the party. If we want to have change, we need to make sure that we have someone like Mr. Clendenin in there. I highly doubt that anyone else that is considering running for chair will have as detailed of a plan as Mr. Clendenin. Therefore, we should all consider Clendenin to be on our “short list” of people to run the party. And, as of right now, he is the only real choice for the position.