Should House/Senate Victory operate separately from everyone?

fl_bigOver the last few days, the debate regarding the Democratic House leadership in 2015 has taken on a new dimension. Of course, both sides have their reasons why they oppose the other side. And in all fairness, both supporters of Darryl Rouson and Mia Jones have valid points. But is the current structure of House and Senate Victory fueling a fire that doesn’t need to even exist in the first place?

Democrats need to decide if they want to continue to have legislative priorities mixed with electoral priorities. How the current system is set up, that is the case. Whoever is elected the next Democratic leader of the Florida House will be in charge of House Victory. Is that productive? Is that right?

I think it is time that both House and Senate Victory were operated separately from both the Florida Democratic Party as well as the Democratic House and Senate leaders. Basically, they should be organized like the current DSCC and DCCC, where we have specific leaders for House and Senate Victory only. Here are the reasons why this should be:

1. Setting priorities – The battle for Democratic House leader has more to do with the upcoming elections than it does with legislation being proposed in the Florida House. Not once during this debate have we heard supporters of either candidates talk about legislative priorities. Instead, the debate is who controls the electoral arm of the Democratic Party. The discussion is usually “if Mia Jones wins she will hire this person” or “If Darryl Rouson wins he will hire that person”. Nobody ever mentions how either one of these candidates will contribute on the legislative front. And, honestly, I think both are poor choices as far as being productive legislatively (for totally different reasons).

2. Currently, we have to take the good with the bad – Those who support Darryl Rouson only talk about the electoral aspect of him being elected as Democratic House Leader. Could Rouson be a productive candidate recruiter and fundraiser? I am not entirely sure, but I think that could be the case. Therefore, if Mr. Rouson is this recruiting and fundraising guru that his supporters say that he is, then he should be the leader when it comes to helping Democrats get elected to the Florida House.

The issue then becomes should the Democratic Party have Darryl Rouson be the face of the “legislative arm” of the Florida House Democrats? Let’s say that Rouson has a good history of fundraising and recruiting…should be still be the legislative representative for the millions of Democrats in Florida? This is where I say no. His views on too many of the issues flies in the face of many Democratic values. As far as legislation and representing what a majority of Democrats support, Mia Jones would be the better, but still weak, option.

So, do we take the pro-school voucher guy that will help with recruitment and fundraising? Or, do we take the true Democrat but risk House Victory being unproductive for yet another election cycle? Again, we have to take the good with the bad no matter who wins, since the person that assumes this position is both the legislative and electoral face of Florida House Democrats.

3. Spreading leaders thin – Honestly, we do ask a lot of the House and Senate leaders. Because we ask them to be the workhorse for both electoral and legislative agendas, we do spread them thin. This eventually leads to one or both of the responsibilities being neglected. And while we are a minority party, it is important that we are a loyal opposition in the Florida Legislature, and that we let those that support Democratic candidates know that we are fighting their fight even though we are vastly outnumber. But with the current structure, the House leader has to pick their priority, which will hurt the other priority in the end.

4. Passionate and productive leaders on legislation – No matter how we look at it, the roles of both an electoral and legislative leader are vastly different. The electoral leader is more of the “behind closed doors in smoke-filled rooms” type of person. On the other hand, the legislative leader is the public face for what the Democratic Party stands for. Again, in the case of Rouson, I am not entirely comfortable with him being the legislative face. But if he can do the “back door deals” and help Democrats win, then he should, without a shadow of a doubt, be the leader of that process.

5. Opening up the legislative leadership process – One question that I have regarding the current setup is how many quality legislative leaders we miss out on because of the heavy workload and dual responsibilities? There could be some members that would be great as far as legislative leadership, but refuse to take the role of Democratic House leader because they do not want to be involved with the electoral aspect of the position.

All of this together brings up a very important question…”would Democrats be comfortable with Darryl Rouson running House Victory as long as he isn’t the legislative leader of the Democrats in the Florida House?” I would say yes. Even on a personal note, I do agree with that statement. The main reason that I do not support Mr. Rouson for Florida Democratic House leader is because of what he can say and do on the House floor during the legislative session, not by what he can bring to House Victory.

On a personal note, this does not mean I support Mia Jones. In fact, I am not a supporter of hers. I feel that she brings very little to the table as far as legislative accomplishments and electoral success. Also, the presumptive people that she would bring into House Victory  is extremely worrying.

We are at a point where we seriously need to consider the restructuring of House and Senate Victory. Putting everything under one person isn’t the answer. Also, putting it under the Florida Democratic Party isn’t the answer. If House Victory ran entirely separate of the House leader position as well as the FDP, that could be the most productive way of conducting business. That is how the DCCC currently operates. Therefore, why can’t we do that? If we go this direction, the “House Leader” can worry about legislation, the “House Victory Leader” can worry about elections, and the FDP can worry about everything else.

Honestly, this is a win-win situation for everyone. Again, this is how many other Democratic parties around the nation run (which are much more successful than Florida), as well as the national House Democrats. We should consider doing the same.


18 thoughts on “Should House/Senate Victory operate separately from everyone?

  1. That’s not entirely how the DCCC or DSCC works. The leader of both is selected by the Democratic Leader in that branch, ie. Minority Leader Pelosi appoints the DCCC Chair, Senate Majority Leader Reid appoints the DSCC Chair. If we were to operate similarly to either, then the power of the Democratic Leader would still be more important as they would choose the Victory person

  2. True. I am mostly talking about the general idea of having both separate. As far as selection of the House Victory chair, I didn’t really say how that should happen. That would be something that could be discussed later,

  3. Someone should tell the little girl in the video that the 3 of them took public education funds out of the budget and war profits in their money.
    These people are fucking sick. I am done with this party.

  4. Dave, the main goal for the leader designates in SV and HV is to raise money. If they are not promised any power over future legislative and political direction of the caucus they will have zero fundraising juice.

  5. I also believe that with our pretty shallow bench and without the promise to take over as leader, no one would want to take on the burden of fundraising and running campaigns. It truly is the hardest part of the 4 year leadership commitment.

  6. People wake up the party in Florida are a bunch of thieves or just plain stupid. The party is not concerned with legislation and the reality is seen by them trying to push Crist. Notice how No one is writing about the Greer trial. My hope is that Bondi will hit it out of the ball park and bring them all down.

    Scott/Bondi 2014
    Cleaning up corruption one party at a time

  7. That’s why they only raise 1/4 of what the repubs raise. Lack of power. It’s another reason why we can’t challenge every single race. We don’t have the funds. Bc of these realities, we can only go after a handful of seats a cycle and hopefully slowly build up our numbers. Your suggestion that sv and hv leaders should be diff than the legislative leaders is so wrong. That 1/4 of what the r’s raise is based on our numbers. It will increase slowly when our numbers increase.

  8. We only raise 1/4th of what Republicans raise because we have crappy candidate recruitment. If you get a good candidate, they will be able to raise money on their own. Take Mike Clelland for example. He was a good candidate in a district that was more than likely going to go Republican. Before the FDP decided to target his race, he was able to raise nearly $50,000 on his own. When you have strong candidates, then more people will feel confident in “investing” in Democratic candidates. So candidate recruitment is EVERYTHING!

    Of course, Sara, you have to ask yourself “how did we get to the point that we have a lack of power?” Easy, we don’t give anyone a reason to donate to us. And, I’m sorry, some “kick ass fundraiser” isn’t going to do it. It all comes down to the right candidates, pure and simple.

  9. Pingback: Would Mark Pafford be a better option for Democratic House leader? « The Political Hurricane – Florida Political Blog.

  10. Candidates are important but even good ones can’t raise what they need to run a full blown senate or house race in most parts of the state without signif party support. When has a candidate been able to raise over a million on their own…a dem candidate for house or senate? That’s the bare min of what it takes to run for senate in most parts of the state. Candidate recruitment is good bc it helps you sell the caucus races but one (fundraising) is not exclusively more important than the other (recruitment). Fundraising and recruitment go hand in hand.

    And Dave, caucus fundraising works in a pretty unique way. Donors have diff motivations for giving. Some care about candidates and some care about the power of the caucus during session. If you don’t understand that dynamic you shouldn’t pontificate about how things operate.

  11. I fear the folding of HV/SV into the FDP is just a way for certain consultants to control everything more easily. These are the same consultants that over the past 10-15 years have run the party into a hyper-minority status and have used their control over the party apparatus to enrich themselves while maintaining the status quo in both legislative chambers. In theory it may be a good idea but in reality it will further complicate things. As Sara states many donors simply won’t give to a party if they cannot be assured of where the money is going. The FDP has previously taken money earmarked one place and sent it elsewhere which was why we needed the caucus break offs to begin with.

  12. It is also worth noting that the greatest advocates of folding HV/SV back into the FDP are the very consultants who stand to profit, as well as the mouthpieces they control. That should say something.

  13. As usual, you use code words like “pro-voucher” (negative connotation) for Rep. Rouson and “real Democrat” (positive connotation) for Rep. Jones…that is not helpful at all because you are marginalizing many centrist and conservative Democrats in your commentary…believe it or not – and it is a fact – not ALL Dem’s are liberal…I know this will be a shock to you…having been a former Executive Director of FDP at a time when the legislature required that legislative fundraising be brought in under the auspices of the Party, there is in reality NO seperation between fundraising and legislation…they go hand in hand…one feeds the other…and if you try and seperate them you WILL be unsuccessful in fundraising except for Dem die-hards…and the Party needs more money thatn jus tthe die-hards can provide…

    The Dem party will continue to fundraise poorly for legislative races until (gasp) they adopt a more nuanced approach with the business community…if the Dem’s are only going to be trial lawyer and union-oriented, despite their millions of dollars, it will not ever be enough to outweigh what the business community puts on the table…when I was the ED, the business community in fact supported the Party…but we began to lose our grip when lobbyists and their contributions were taken for granted…and this has the potential to happen to the GOP as well and some lobbyists believe it is already happening…lobbyists and their clients, be it trial lawyers, unions or businesses are not going to contribute to candidates that do not share their philosophy – whatever that may be…so for the Dem’s to overcome the GOP fundraising advantage that will only happen when the Dem’s return to supporting business issues enough that lobbyists and their clients will donate the money…that DOESN’T have to be that the Dem’s forsake the unions/trial lawyers…it does mean that more Dem’s need to move to the middle in order to see their coffers fill up more by biz interests…

    In the next Governor’s race however it will be radically different…with Charlie Crist being the candidate to beat, the trial bar and unions will pour extraordinary dollars into the race and then if you add the millions that Obama will add to the equation the Dem’s will be able to be competitive in the fundraising arena for the first time in a long time in the top state race……

  14. I know you were the former executive of the FDP, which was about the time that the party started to fall apart. And, yeah, I don’t want a return to those days, sorry.

    Honestly, Mr. Bishop, you need to get outside of Tallahassee and look around. We have candidates like Mark Danish who won NOT because he was a pro-business moderate, but was a progressive on issues such as labor issues. Along the I-4 Corridor, Democrats had the largest success of any year previously. And look at who was elected…Linda Stewart, Joe Saunders, Mark Danish, Victor Torres and a host of others. And guess what…..they were all liberal. Again, blowing your theory out of the water.

    You know, 100 years ago many southern states didn’t allow African-Americans to vote. I’m not saying this because I think you oppose minority voting rights. I am saying this because times change, and people like you don’t change with the times. Take, for example, your candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. Why did they lose? Because they didn’t change with the times. When you were ED, the Hispanics were usually only Cuban and solidly Republican. Nowadays, it is totally different. Using the approach from when you were ED is like saying the Model T is comparable to the Ferrari 458.

    Of course, you might say “what does this have to do with being pro-business”. It has everything to do with it. Yeah, so the Democratic Party becomes pro-business and starts passing conservative legislation. Guess what, progressive turnout is reduced and Democrats lose, pure and simple. At that point, it doesn’t matter how much money a candidate has. This is EXACTLY why Alex Sink lost. She ONLY lost because progressives didn’t turn out to vote, that was it. And, trust me, as a progressive, if she became more “pro-business”, then she would have done ever worse.

    Mr. Bishops, the Reagan and Clinton years are long gone my friend. It is time to get off the Model T and jump into the new Ferrari. Also, get in the car and actually spend some time outside the panhandle.

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