Florida Democratic Party

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Florida Democratic Party
ChairpersonTerrie Rizzo
Senate Minority LeaderAudrey Gibson
House Minority LeaderKionne McGhee
Founded1834; 184 years ago (1834)
Headquarters214 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Student wingFlorida College Democrats
Youth wingFlorida Young Democrats
Women's wingDemocratic Women’s Club of Florida
IdeologyModern liberalism
Progressivism
Social liberalism
Political positionCenter-left
National affiliationDemocratic Party
Colors          Azure, green
Senate
17 / 40
House of Representatives
47 / 120
U.S. Senate
0 / 2
U.S. House of Representatives
13 / 27
Website
Official Website

The Florida Democratic Party (FDP) is the state branch of the United States Democratic Party in the state of Florida, headquartered in Tallahassee.

History[edit]

The Florida Democratic Party has historically dominated Florida's state and local politics. As Florida moved from territory to statehood status, the FDP emerged out of the locofocos.[1] John Milton led the party, and became Governor of the state, during the Civil War era.[2]

There were no Republican governors from 1877 until 1967, when Claude R. Kirk, a Republican from Jacksonville, was sworn in as Governor of Florida.

Florida politics was largely dominated by the Democrats until Richard Nixon's Southern strategy, which took advantage of white objections to the advances of the Civil Rights Movement which resulted in a regional political realignment for the South. After Nixon's victory in 1968, the state voted Democratic in only four Presidential elections: 1976 (Jimmy Carter), 1996 (Bill Clinton), 2008 and 2012 (Barack Obama). The presidential election in 2000 was decided by a margin of 537 votes out of approximately six million cast in the state, earning George W. Bush the presidency over Al Gore.

The Florida Senate was dominated by Democrats until 1992, when a majority of Republicans was elected. The Florida House of Representatives turned Republican after the November 1996 election. Since then, the number of Democrats in both chambers have continued to drop. The Florida Legislature became the first legislature in any of the states of the former Confederacy to come under complete Republican control when the Republicans gained control of the House and Senate in the 1996 election. However, in the 2006 election the Democrats actually gained seats in the State House, the first time this had occurred since the early 1980s.

In the 2006 election, the Democratic nominee for governor was U.S. Representative Jim Davis from Tampa, Florida. He lost the election to Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist.

The most Democratic region of the state is South Florida, which contains the large cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. The Tampa Bay region is also relatively Democratic, although it has become much more competitive in recent electoral cycles. Leon County, which contains the state capitol of Tallahassee and Florida State University, and Alachua County, home to the city of Gainesville and the University of Florida, are also strong Democratic areas. North Florida and the panhandle are also very Democratic on the local level, although those two regions are solid Republican strongholds in presidential elections.

Florida Democrats demanded, on March 13, 2008, a new primary vote, and state party officials had a proposal for recouping the 210 delegates the Sunshine State lost when it moved its primary ahead of the approved time frame.[3] After weeks of negotiations, the Florida Democratic Party said on March 17, 2008 that it would not hold a second primary in the state.[4]

The current chairwoman of the FDP is Terrie Rizzo, who succeeded Stephen Bittel on December 9, 2017.[5]

Governance[edit]

List of chairs[edit]

  • Scott Maddox (2003-2005): Maddox, the former mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, served as FDP Chairman from 2003 to 2006, leaving the post to run for governor. The Associated Press noted that while Democrats suffered electoral defeats during his tenure, party activists recognized he had built up the party's infrastructure and volunteer base."[6]
  • Karen Thurman (2005-2010): Thurman, a former five-term member of Congress from Florida's 5th District, served from 2005 to 2010. She was elected Chairman of the FDP in 2005, succeeding Scott Maddox, who resigned in order to seek the Democratic nomination for governor. Thurman resigned on November 12, 2010, following the midterm elections.[7]
  • Rod Smith (2010-2013): In November 2010, Smith was elected Chairman of the Florida Democratic Party (FDP), succeeding Karen Thurman who resigned on November 12, 2010 following the midterm elections.[8] Smith, a former Alachua County State Prosecutor and State Senator from the 14th district, became chair following his unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor in 2010.[9] Smith's term expired in January 2013, when he was succeeded by Allison Tant.[10]
  • Allison Tant (2014-2016): In December 2013, former lobbyist, philanthropist, and Democratic fundraiser[11] Allison Tant announced she would seek the chairmanship of the FDP.[12] She was elected in January 2014, after a closely contested race against Hillsborough State Committeeman Alan Clendenin.[10] After large national losses in 2014, Debbie Wasserman Schultz commissioned the Victory Task Force to "take a deep dive" to figure out what went wrong in 2014.[13] Similarly, Chair Tant created the state-level LEAD Task Force, to learn the lessons of the statewide Democratic defeat.[13]
  • Stephen Bittel (2016-2017): Bittel, who founded Terranova in 1980, is still an active Democrat in the state.[14] He was chosen primarily for his fundraising ability after the 2016 election, but many critics noted his ability to curry influence with his immense wealth.[15] In November 2017, he was accused of inappropriate office behavior, and subsequently left his role.
  • Terrie Rizzo (2017-Present): In December 2017, Rizzo was elected to replace Stephen Bittel, defeating Stacey Patel in an 830-291 vote.[16][17]

Organization[edit]

The Democratic Executive Committee of the FDP is organized into nine standing committees: Standing Committees include: Finance, Credentials, Rules and Bylaws, Affirmative Action, Voter Registration, Issues, Campaign, Legislative Liaison, Interclub Council, Young Democrats, Labor, and Communications.[18]

Platform[edit]

The Democratic Party of Florida has adopted a platform that covers a wide range of topics and issues under the following headings:[19]
  • Access to Healthcare
  • An Economy That Works for Everyone
  • Quality Education
  • Protecting our Environment
  • Immigration Reform
  • Preventing Gun Violence
  • Civil Rights
  • Government Accountability
  • Protecting Voting Rights
  • Women and Families

Current elected officials[edit]

The following is a list of Democratic statewide, federal, and legislative officeholders as of October 23, 2018:

Federal officeholders for the 115th United States Congress[edit]

United States Senate[edit]

Photo U.S. Senator
Bill Nelson.jpg Bill Nelson, Senior Member of the United States Senate from the state of Florida. (defeated)

United States House of Representatives[edit]

Photo U.S. Representatives
Al Lawson 115th Congress photo (cropped).jpg Al Lawson, 5th District- Jacksonville, Tallahassee.
Stephanie Murphy official photo.jpg Stephanie Murphy, 7th District- Orlando, Winter Park.
Darren Soto 115th Congress photo.jpg Darren Soto, 9th District- Orlando, Kissimmee, St. Cloud.
US Rep Val Demings.jpg Val Demings, 10th District- Orlando, Ocoee, Winter Garden.
Charlie Crist 115th Congress photo.jpg Charlie Crist, 13th District- St. Petersburg, Dunedin.
Kathy Castor, official 110th Congress photo.jpg Kathy Castor, 14th District- Tampa.
Alcee Hastings Portrait c111-112th Congress.jpg Alcee Hastings, 20th District- Belle Glade, Pahokee, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale.
TedDeutsch2016.jpg Ted Deutch, 22nd District- Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale.
Lois Frankel, Official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg Lois Frankel, 21st District- West Palm Beach, Wellington, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.jpg Debbie Wasserman Schultz, 23rd District- Miami, Pompano Beach, Weston.
Frederica Wilson official House portrait.jpg Frederica Wilson, 24th District- North Miami, Miramar.

State Senate & State House[edit]

State Senate[edit]

Democrats hold a 17-23 minority in the 40-member Florida Senate.

State House[edit]

Democrats hold a 47-73 minority in the 120-seat Florida House of Representatives.

Mayoral offices[edit]

Some of the state's major cities have Democratic mayors. As of 2018, Democrats control the mayor's offices in five of Florida's ten largest cities:

Former Florida Governors and U.S. Senators[edit]

Governors[edit]

Photo Former Governors of Florida
Buddymackay.JPG Buddy MacKay
SenatorChiles.jpg Lawton Chiles
John Wayne Mixson.jpg Wayne Mixson
Bob Graham, official Senate photo portrait, color.jpg Bob Graham
Florida Governor Reubin Askew.jpg Reubin Askew
42 Burns.jpg W. Haydon Burns
Cecil Bryant.jpg C. Farris Bryant
LeRoy Collins.jpg LeRoy Collins
Daniel Thomas McCarty (1912–1953).jpg Daniel McCarty
37 Warren.jpg Fuller Warren
Millard F. Caldwell.jpg Miller Caldwell
Spessard Holland.JPG Spessard Holland
Florida Governor Frederick Cone.jpg Fred Cone
33 Sholtz.jpg David Sholtz
Doyle E. Carlton.jpg Doyle Carlton
Florida Governor John Martin.jpg John Martin
Cary Hardee portrait.jpg Cary Hardee
Park Trammell.jpg Park Trammell
Florida Governor Albert W. Gilchrist.jpg Albert Gilchrist
Napoleon Bonaparte Broward.jpg Napoleon Broward
William Sherman Jennings.jpg William Jennings
Florida Governor William Bloxham.jpg William Bloxham
Henry L Mitchell.jpg Henry Mitchell
FPFleming.jpg Francis Fleming
Florida Governor Edward A. Perry.jpg Edward Perry
Florida Governor William Bloxham.jpg William Bloxham
Florida Governor George Franklin Drew.jpg George Drew
Florida Governor Abraham K. Allison.jpg Abraham Allison
John Milton Florida.jpg John Milton
Florida Governor Madison S. Perry.jpg Madison Perry
Florida Governor James E. Broome.jpg James Broome
Wiliam Dunn Moseley gv000500.jpg William Moseley

United States Senators[edit]

Photo Former U.S. Senators from Florida
Bob Graham, official Senate photo portrait, color.jpg Bob Graham
Lawton Chiles Governor portrait.jpg Lawton Chiles
Richardbernardstone.jpg Richard Stone
George smathers.jpg George Smathers
Sen Spessard Holland.jpg Spessard Holland
Charlesoscarandrews.jpg Charles Andrews
Scottloftin.jpg Scott Loftin
Claude Denson Pepper.jpg Claude Pepper
Williamlutherhill.jpg William Luther Hill
Park Trammell.jpg Park Trammell
Nathanpbryan.jpg Nathan Bryan
JamesPTaliaferro.jpg James Taliaferro
Duncanupshawfletcher.jpg Duncan Fletcher
Williamhallmilton.jpg William Milton
Williamjamesbryan.jpg William James Bryan
SamuelPasco.jpg Samuel Pasco
Charles W. Jones - Brady-Handy.jpg Charles Jones
SRMalloryII.jpg Stephen Mallory II
Wilkinson Call - Brady-Handy.jpg Wilkinson Call
Hon. John A. Gurley, Ohio - NARA - 528705.jpg Stephen Mallory
James Westcott
David Levy Yulee - Brady-Handy.jpg David Levy Yulee

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Willis, Lee (31 August 2018). "Southern Prohibition: Race, Reform, and Public Life in Middle Florida, 1821-1920". University of Georgia Press – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Weinfeld, Daniel R. (19 March 2012). "The Jackson County War: Reconstruction and Resistance in Post–Civil War Florida". University of Alabama Press – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "Florida Dems devise plan for new primary - CNN.com". edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  4. ^ "No new primary for Florida Democrats - CNN.com". edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  5. ^ https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/florida-democrats-choose-palm-beach-county-terrie-rizzo-chair-vote/AgbPnb3xQqRgEFZZNQe3pK/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Jacksonville.com: Maddox to step down as Florida Democratic Party chair 3/16/05". jacksonville.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  7. ^ "Karen Thurman retires as Florida Democratic chairwoman". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  8. ^ "Florida Democratic Chair Karen Thurman's resignation letter". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  9. ^ "Local attorney Rod Smith elected to head state Democratic Party". Gainesville.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  10. ^ a b "Allison Tant elected chairwoman of Florida Democratic Party". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  11. ^ "Power Couples - Tallahassee Magazine - March-April 2012". www.tallahasseemagazine.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  12. ^ "Former lobbyist Allison Tant joins race to lead Florida Democratic Party". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  13. ^ a b Sun-Sentinel, South Florida. "Democrats seek fixes for voter disapproval". Sun-Sentinel.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  14. ^ "Home - Terranova". Terranova.
  15. ^ "Wealthy Donor Redefines Pay-to-Play, Buys Himself Top Dem Position". observer. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  16. ^ http://www.floridadems.org/our-party/our-leadership. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2017/12/09/rizzo-elected-as-next-florida-democratic-party-chair-140224. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ http://www.miamidadedems.org/ourparty
  19. ^ https://www.floridadems.org/values

External links[edit]