Florida Democrats search for a “path to power”

by | Jan 31, 2019

After losing contests for the U.S. Senate and governor in November, Florida Democrats are looking to formulate a strategy that will produce more favorable results for the party in 2020.

The chair of the Florida Democratic Party, Terrie Rizzo, announced Thursday morning the creation of a commission, made up of elected officials, party and community leaders, and progressive activists.

It’s called the 2020 Path to Power.

“Democrats had a lot of bright spots in this election: record turnout for a midterm including African Americans and young people, two Congressional seats flipped, flipping 8 legislative seats, Democratic control of the five largest counties in the state and we elected our first cabinet member in more than a decade,” Rizzo said in a statement.

But Democrats had their share of disappointments in last year’s election. Incumbent Bill Nelson lost his U.S. Senate seat to Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis defeated his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum in close races.

“We also had some tough losses and as a Party and we need to examine and assess the 2018 outcomes,” Rizzo added. “ We have put together a group of Florida’s most experienced and talented leaders who will be crucial in our efforts to forge a ‘Path to Power’ in 2020.”

The group will be headed by one of the Democratic success stories in  2016. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. The first Democrat to be elected to the Cabinet in more than a decade, Fried will serve as the commission’s honorary chair.  Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville and Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, the Democratic leaders in both chambers of the Legislature, will serve as honorary co-chairs.

Former state legislators Cynthia Chestnut,  Sean Shaw and Jeremy Ring, will serve as the commission’s chairs. Shaw lost to Ashley Moody in the race for Attorney General last year, while Ring lost the race for Chief Financial Officer to Jimmy Patronis. Chestnut is a former state legislator.

Members of the group will include U.S. Congressmen Darren Soto and Ted Deutch. As well as a number of state legislators:  Sens. Jose Javier Rodriguez and Gary Farmer, and Reps. Amy Mercado, Carlos Guillermo Smith, Anna Eskamani, Ramon Alexander and Shevrin Jones.

The Florida Democratic Party has released a statewide survey and is “engaging leaders across the state in dialogue and regional meetings to provide input to a plan to take back our state in 2020.”



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