On November 11th, Allison Tant Richard announced that she will not be seeking the another term as chair of the Florida Democratic Party. In her announcement, Tant Richard said that most of the reasons are “closer to home”. She talks about the ups and downs of her family life, which every person, whether Democrat or Republican, political or non-political, should respect. It does seems like she does have many personal reasons why she wants to leave the party, and everyone should wish her the best of luck.
However, when she penned her letter to not seek another term, she did not take any responsibility for the continued poor performance of the Florida Democratic Party. As I said a few days ago, the Florida Democrats were handed the Senate on a golden platter, yet managed to mess it up. And in some races, like Florida State House District 44 (the seat I ran for, briefly, in protest of the FDP), Hillary Clinton won 54% of the vote, yet the Democrats did not field a candidate. It isn’t that the Florida Democrats were not prepared, it was that they weren’t even trying.
Besides being complacent (or just not caring), the way in which Tant Richard operated the Florida Democratic Party should be questioned. If we look at the election itself, super-voter Democrats were sent direct mail pieces from the Florida Democratic Party in the last days of the campaign. Additionally, the party did little to build grassroots organizations or help local DECs. Basically, the FDP’s operation was run poorly.
When it comes to those who run the Florida Democratic Party and its associated organizations, the staff choices are even more puzzling. The staff of the party has ranged from an unprofessional communication director who gets into Trump-like Twitter wars with everyone possible, to the head of Senate Victory, Beth Matuga, who has received $566,402.04 from the Florida Democratic Party since taking over Senate Victory, and STILL claims that she went to Yale, which is a false claim in itself. And what did we get out of Ms. Matuga for all that money? One flippin State Senate seat. And for the minuscule two State House seats that were picked up, the FDP paid Dan Newman $199,471 since January of 2015.
If we look at the money, the Florida Democratic Party still seems to recommend business to Christian Ulvert, whose Edge Communication firm has netted $659,588.62 from Democratic candidates and the Florida Democratic Party since resigning.
This complete mismanagement of Florida Democratic Party funds, the questionable hiring practices of the chair, as well as the continued patronage system that exists in the FDP needs to end. Luckily, Florida Democrats have an opportunity to make a change. We need to make sure that the change is purely a separation from the past.