I would like to congratulate Allison Tant on being elected the next chair of the Florida Democratic Party. While this was a bitter battle between to very determined sides, the end result was Mrs. Tant winning the position. I wish Mrs. Tant all the best over the next four years.
What will determine how the Florida Democratic Party runs over the next few years is how Mrs. Tant conducts herself as the state’s top Democrat. She now has the disposal of all of the resources of the Florida Democratic Party to make our party successful. While many of our recent leaders have failed to use these resources, we hope that Mrs. Tant will be able to productively put them to use.
The eyes of Democrats around the nation have now turned toward Mrs. Tant to help bring the party out of its current slump. Florida is easily the largest swing state in the nation, and the FDP’s reputation over the past two decades has been tarnished by poor and ineffective leadership. Hopefully, Mrs. Tant will be able to reverse this trend.
Because Mrs. Tant now has these resources, the Florida Democratic Party must move immediately toward building a stronger party. She ran on a platform of change, especially regarding her fundraising skills. Therefore, Florida Democrats should seek nothing less than a large increase in contributions to the Florida Democratic Party over the next six months. Since her fundraising skills was something that Mrs. Tant strongly campaigned on, this expectation should be something that is easily accomplished.
But not only are we going to look at the fundraising, we will look at what the party is doing in general to help Democrats win. This does not only apply to the constitutional offices, such has governor, but it will also apply to other local and state races as well. I have always considered candidate recruitment to be the largest priority of the party. Therefore, we should see some movement in this area as well.
It is also now time for Florida Democrats to stop their politics of divide and conquer, but instead be a party that unites. My first campaign experience in politics was the 1983 Chicago Mayor’s race, which was probably one of the nastiest campaigns in American political history. Even with the negative attacks going in every direction, once the race was done, Harold Washington, Richard Daley and Jane Byrne publicly united days after their bitter primary. While many of their supporters didn’t listen to this uniting message, the candidates themselves did.
It is time to bring civil discussion back to the table. During this race, unfounded charges or racism and sexism were targeted toward both the candidates and supporters of the candidates. With the exception of a few, most of these charges were childish, unfounded and had no place in the political discussion. While many of the things that were said over the course of this campaign were heated, it is now time for us to pick up the pieces and move on.
Now that the race is over, it is time for all parties to recognized that it is time to unite. If you are either a friend or enemy, the greater good of the party is most important. For those that continue this fight beyond today’s vote, you are part of the problem and not part of the solution. Now is the time to look for solutions.
While it is time to unite the party, this does not mean that the new party leadership’s role will go unchecked. If the party is lacking in effort and doing a poor job, we will call that out appropriately. On the other hand, if the party does something that warrants praise, we will give praise. As I said last month, this race isn’t about me, or even about you. It is about us in the Democratic Party. On Election Day 2014, we want to go into the voting booth and know, even if we win our lose, we did our best.
I would also like to congratulate Mr. Clendenin on a hard-fought race. I feel that he had the strong plan to move the party forward, which is why I supported him. Unfortunately he was unable to convince enough voters that his plan was the best. Still, Mr. Clendenin’s entrance into the race led to a battle of ideas and beliefs, which is what a democracy stands for. Nobody should be allowed into any position unchallenged.
With all that being said, it is now time to help progresses win throughout the State of Florida. In this goal, many who follow our website agree. We need to continue that fight defeat Republicans in every corner of the state. Hopefully Mrs. Tant can bring that leadership.
Again, I would like to congratulate Mrs. Tant on your election today.