Poor leadership at FDP shows with poor decision making.

Sen. Rich's JJ snub show not only favoritism, but incompetency.

Sen. Rich’s JJ snub show not only favoritism, but incompetency.

Back in 2007, when I worked for John Edwards in Reno, I attended the J-J Dinner which was held the day after the presidential debate between the major candidates. At that dinner, all of the Democratic candidate for president were able to speak at the event. Yes, I met the eventual president Barack Obama. I also met the future vice-president Joe Biden. I also met some of the other candidates, including former Alaska governor Mike Gravel. Basically, the entire Democratic field, even candidates who were not invited to attend the debate on the previous evening, were allowed to speak at the Nevada Democratic Party’s J-J Dinner.

In Florida, it seems we have a different case. The only serious candidate to announce that they are running for any constitutional office position, former Senator Nan Rich, had been told by the Florida Democratic Party that she would not be given a speaking spot at the upcoming J-J Dinner. Mind you, Senator Rich isn’t just someone who threw her name into the mix, with it eventually being removed once the filing deadline rolls around. She is a recent Senate minority leader and has already raised more than what most people expected this far into her campaign. So, Senator Rich’s exclusion from the upcoming J-J Dinner is baffling.

This is the second controversy in a row in which the J-J Dinner has been the center of attention because of poor decision making by the Florida Democratic Party. Last year, the Florida Democratic Party ran a commercial during the J-J Dinner in which they featured candidates who had Democratic opponents, showing that they were purely taking sides in what should have been a party-neutral situation. After the commercial was produced, future Rep. Joe Saunders stated at an Orange County DEC meeting that he and the other participants were unaware that the commercial was going to be shot, and that they were only there to talk about their campaigns. While this statement seems to be true (as Rep. Saunder’s statement was further confirmed by other sources), the Florida Democratic Party still took the steps to show who they favored in the upcoming election.

The question then becomes if they are doing the same thing at the upcoming J-J Dinner? With the initial buzz of the “Charlie Crist Switch” now wearing off, the J-J Dinner would be the perfect venue for Crist to start his run for governor. Not only will he have a captive audience and television cameras (with national media possibly in attendance) , but he will have an audience with deep pockets who can write multiple $500 checks in one night. Therefore, the J-J might not just be a high-visibility media event, but also a large Charlie Crist fundraiser.

If this ends up being the case, then the question must be asked…”why even run in a Democratic primary”? In the case of last year’s video and the behind-the-scene support that the Party is giving Charlie Crist (or, on the other hand, then unfavorable treatment of Senator Rich), has the Florida Democratic Party already predetermined their primaries? Granted, some cases might slip through the cracks, like Andrew Morey defeating the FDP-favored Aaron Bosshardt. But in most cases the Florida Democratic Party will usually gets its way.

But this latest controversy surrounding the FDP brings up bigger questions, and that is in regards to the leadership and staff of the Florida Democratic Party. Since taking over the FDP, Chairwoman Allison Tant has not been able to bring in the untold riches that she promised during her campaign. In fact, the FDP had the worst 1st quarter fundraising in an off-year in eight years. In addition, nobody has been recruited by the Florida Democratic Party to run for any of the constitutional offices or key congressional seats. With poor fundraising and lack or candidate recruitment, what exactly is the Party doing?

Yes, this is a question of leadership, but also a question of the people that Mrs. Tant has surrounded herself with. Many of these staffers worked with Rod Smith’s during his time at the Florida Democratic Party. Smith’s time as party chair showed just as much of a lack of effort as the current Tant tenure is showing. Senator Rich’s snub for the J-J Dinner is just another example of things running as usual. Still, the question has to be asked as to why they decided to snub her in the first place? Did they not think of bad press before they made their decision? One criticism that I have had of the Florida Democratic Party throughout the years is that they only think about the first step, but never about the following steps, where the real news and controversies arise. The are just careless with their decision making, and this latest situation shows their weakness.

With this snub, it can pretty much be assumed that Charlie Crist is going to announce that he is running for governor on June 15th. Isn’t it odd that, only two weeks away, and we have no idea who the J-J speaker is going to be? If the FDP just wants to throw their support behind Charlie Crist, it would be nice if they would just man-up and say so, instead of playing these little games. If their goal was to give less attention to Nan Rich, they weren’t successful. If their goal was to not turn a mountain out of a molehill, they were also unsuccessful. Not only have they helped the Rich campaign, they have also further damage an already fragile Florida Democratic Party.

Correction: I have been out of the loop for a while and didn’t realize that they already had a speaker line up. My bad.

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9 thoughts on “Poor leadership at FDP shows with poor decision making.

  1. Shouldn’t Debbie W Schultz and Bill Nelson insist that they introduce
    the candidates and cut their time…..Guess they aren’t following the
    Democratic model of inclusiveness and ordinary people….It’s troubling
    enough that money dominates the elections…..and now the party (selected few) are dictating the primary results……what happened to fair elections…

  2. It is not the fault of the FDP. They have been set up according to the official propaganda.

    According to Allison Tant and Christian Ulvert this whole thing is the fault of your former colleague Kartik Krishnaiyer. The party claims Rich was okay with the decision and had accepted it until he started writing about it and Lenny Curry took his initial tweet and article and then made it a big deal. That is the explanation they are giving and that Krishnaiyer was fed the story by a few of us “dumb activists” in Broward. They are fingering the Florida Squeeze for “manufacturing” this crisis.

    Of course this is false. Krishnaiyer to my understanding only wrote about the snub after lots lots of chatter began circulating locally that Nan was being excluded from the program despite appealing to be on it.

    Lenny Curry rightfully has taken advantage of this. The RPOF lets everyone speak even marginal/fringe candidates except ironically enough when Jim Greer and Charlie Crist ran the party.

    Coincidence? I do not think so. Ulvert, Tant and DWS are working with Crist to impose a corrupt Greer like party on the FDP. Crist will announce at the dinner so they must stop Rich from speaking at all costs.

    TIME FOR A REAL PROTEST!

  3. I have been following not only this blog, but articles from some of our major Florida newspapers. Bottom line is Tant lacks the leadership to lead this organization. You just can’t walk in off the street with no previous involvement with the party and lead. “you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you have been.” This is what’s happening in Tallahassee. Look at the appointments of chairs to committees. Half of the experienced chairs and members have been replaced with people who never were involved in the FDP Central committee. Most don’t have a clue as to what they should be doing.

  4. This sort of nonsense is absolutely true to form for a “party” whose primary role is to facilitate Republican Party dominance and to preserve the status quo as an ally of the Republican Party.

    As a Democratic candidate for congressional district 5 in 2006 after coming in a close second in the 2004 Democratic primary for the same position (<2500 votes), to a guy from Coral Gables named Rob Whittel who when filing his candidacy was still a REGISTERED REPUBLICAN WHO HAD NEVER BEFORE CAST A VOTE IN A SINGLE ELECTION who was supported by the Party with the FDP Chair Karen Thurman contributing $2000.00 to Mr. Whittel's campaign… in a four person primary race where a gentleman named Rick Penberthy came in a distant last… and after I was invited to and attended a AFSCME sponsored congressional bootcamp which include among the 16 invitees the Time Magazine Person of the Year and FBI Whistleblower on the Sept. 11th problems, the New Mexico Attorney General and other luminaries… Future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi!

    The FDP predictably threw it's "support" behind Mr. Penberthy in the 2006 primary campaign… whom I then defeated handily… then facing incumbent Ginny Brown-Waite who Debbie Wasserman-Schultz quite literally endorsed for the seat using Brown-Waite's campaign language not once… but TWICE in the St. Petersburg Times.

    Back to 2004, Mr. Whittel once securing the nomination put out a bunch of campaign signs ( I put out some of them as a good Democrat), while Mr. Whittel departed back to Coral Gables. The District was in West Central Florida Pasco, Hernando, Sumter, Citrus counties and three others. Nuff said?

    Fast forward to today… The FDP is now led by a woman Mrs. Richard.. Do not be fooled by the Tant business. Allison is the husband of LEAD ATTORNEY in Bush v Gore Barry Richard. Notwithstanding, Mrs. Richards protest that she had nothing to do with being a lobbyist for DBT/Choicepoint which all of you know was instrumental in "scrubbing" 57 THOUSAND African American voters from the rolls in Florida in 1999-2000!

    I had an entertaining little run-in w/ Mrs. Richard errr "Tant" at a Pinellas County meeting not long ago where I inquired specifically about her professional history as well as that of her husband and the appropriateness of her holding the position of FDP Chair position given her "colorful" background.

    FDP Chairwoman Allison "Tant" RICHARD then lost control and rather than provide a cogent answer, she started out with a circuitous pseudo-explanation concluding by screaming out to (hearty applause from the gallery of mostly fools) that the well documented empirical evidence of her work history was BULLSH** while purposefully "neglecting" to address her husband's role in their united effort in giving this country EIGHT YEARS of George W. Bush and Cheney et al!

    I have this all on tape of course. As an aside, I was physically accosted by some elderly lemmings who become most enraged whenever TRUTH is mentioned or their people are called out publicly for their hypocrisy or otherwise dis-conjugated dirty dealings. They reminded me of Republican lemmings who acted similarly when their heroes such as Will Weatherford were called on the carpet by this writer…

    There is plenty more… TOO much more I'm afraid…. There is a book in the offing here no doubt. Florida is perhaps one of the most outwardly in your face corrupt states politically in the country. I have of course renounced my Democratic Party membership as I cannot be associated or listen to people in leadership positions (A Reverse Peter Principle is in place here), as my integrity is blemished by mere association with these people. I am not alone in my appraisal here, just a bit more outspoken. Ask Bob Bowman. Ask a few others… Ask anyone with a scintilla of competency and character and you will hear the same sort of stories.

    The FDP needs to be disemboweled and replaced. Hey if we could get the money out of politics that would be the best possible remedy, but alas how can any sober mind believe that those who live by the current system of PAYOLA, will have a stroke of collective character and will change it. It ain't gonna happen. All we can do is hope to inform the public of the crooks and charlatans and the broken political system in the hope that the word gets out and somehow eventually takes hold.

    When people can no longer afford to feed their kids that is when you will see some action… not before. Thanks for the opportunity!

    John Russell, 2006-08 Democratic Nominee, U.S. House, District 5, Florida

    P.S. And I haven't even told you about 2012 when I ran No Party Affiliation… It got even worse! Have a GREAT day!

  5. Don’t forget Clint Curtis, Jan Schneider, Julie Jenkins, Kathleen Ford! And they are the party of “women”??????

  6. TOTALLY AGREE! As I said there are plenty other than me who have experienced similar treatment. It is the “insider” vs “outsider” thing. It’s tough to keep track! JR

  7. What is the end result? We’ve lived it for the past 15-20 years… Republican DOMINANCE as the Democratic “insiders” continue to do all in their power to prevent and disrupt the rise of solid candidates and potential office holders of character, competence and integrity. J R

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