- Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz is facing mounting pressure to resign
- Even ahead of a disastrous midterm election night, national powers called for the former Miami Mayor to leave the position
- State Democrats have publicly spoken in favor of a recalibration of party strategies and infrastructure
- Carlos G. Smith has emerged as a possible successor after losing his election race on Tuesday night
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz is facing increasing pressure to resign after the party endured historic losses on election night that saw the Republican Party of Florida flip several districts red en route to attaining a supermajority.
Even before the midterm debacle, Diaz was facing criticisms from national party leader Thomas Kennedy, who demanded Diaz relinquish his position following midterms after he endorsed John Dailey for mayor in Tallahassee, among several other localized races.
In a sign of party fracturing, the Leon County Democrats publicly backed Kristin Dozier, Dailey’s opponent in the Tallahassee mayoral race.
Kennedy also told Politico that his dissatisfaction went deeper, lamenting the lack of presence the Democrats hold in Florida.
In the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, which saw incumbent Governor Ron DeSantis beat Democrat challenger and former governor Charlie Crist by an astounding 20 points, the Florida Democrats are left with more questions than answers.
As it stands, statewide infrastructure to attract new Democrat voters is non-existent, evident by a trend of Hispanic voters trending to the right, disproving the fallacy of the claim that minority voting blocs are a monolith of progressive ideas.
With a Republican state Cabinet, along with supermajorities in both chambers of the Florida Capitol, passing legislature to inspire voter turnout presents itself as a daunting, if not impossible task over the next four years.
“At the rate Florida is going, an NPA candidate for governor may have a better shot than a Democrat in 2026,” Democrat consultant Kevin Cate tweeted last night. “It’s that bad. Complete collapse.”
According to Diaz, a coalition of Democratically affiliated groups spent $40 million in the state in 2018, but just $1.56 million this year, demonstrating the national party’s lack of confidence in Florida.
In response, rising Democrat star Shevrin Jones published a letter to his Twitter account, responding to the disastrous election cycle.
“It’s no secret that last night was riddled with disappointment for Democrats in Florida,” Jones said on Wednesday.
In a blunt statement that paints his feelings towards Diaz as party leader in a resounding fashion, Jones compares the efforts that Republicans have performed statewide to that of the Democrats, presenting one side as effective and the other as faltering.
“Republicans have done the work as they’ve built one of the most effective operations in the country. The other side has played the long game: prioritizing and investing in a statewide infrastructure with real depth and breadth, drawing favorable maps, and implementing consistent, concise messaging — and it’s paid off as they have gained control at every level of government.”
Jones also spoke out against Democrats taking for granted portions of the electorate, failing to build a sustained and effective presence in all corners of the state.
Jones was one of few Democrats to win his seat back and will remain in the Senate as one of 12 elected democrats in the chamber.
The next problem facing Florida Democrats is who takes over as Chair if (when) Diaz resigns.
Former Commissioner of Agriculture and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried suggested she could lead the way moving forward before posting to Twitter to clarify that she does not intend to vie for the position.
Politico Playbook on Thursday morning reported on ruminations that ousted central Florida state Representative Carlos G. Smith could also be in line to succeed Diaz.