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:
Palm Beach: $12,559
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.