Tallahassee commissioner submits bid for state Democrat Party Chair following Manny Diaz resignation

by | Jan 10, 2023

  • Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow is interested in succeeding resigned Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz 
  • Matlow has served on the Tallahassee city commission since 2018, winning re-election in 2022 
  • Diaz abruptly resigned as Chairman after months of pressure from the party to do so 
  • Other speculated candidates for the role include former state Representative Carlos G. Smith and former state Senator Annette Taddeo

Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow announced his interest to serve as the next Florida Democratic Party Chairman, less than 24 hours after former chair Manny Diaz resigned from the post.

Matlow, who become a mainstay in local Tallahassee politics in recent years, took to Twitter to make the announcement, citing his history of success in city politics.

“In my last Commission race, Republicans and big special interests spent over half of a million dollars to stop the momentum of grassroots, people-powered Democrats in Tallahassee,” said Matlow. “We fought back, organized at the neighborhood level, and put together a coalition that can win.”

Matlow has served on Tallahassee’s city commission since 2018 and won re-election over challenger David Bellamy in the 2022 midterms. Through his time as an official, Matlow has positioned himself as a progressive and frequently quarrels with long-serving city politicians and large businesses.

“Working together, Democrats can support their local DECs and lay the framework needed to win statewide,” Matlow continued. “It’s an exciting day for the Democratic Party. This is just the beginning and I humbly submit my name for consideration as Florida Democratic Party chair.”

Unclear, however, is whether or not Matlow intends to retain his seat on the city commission as he vies for the state party chair.

Matlow did not immediately respond to an inquiry submitted by The Capitolist seeking clarification on the matter.

Diaz abruptly resigned on Monday night following months of inward pressure to vacate the position.

“After much reflection, I regret to inform you that I have chosen to retire as FDP Chair, effective immediately,” Diaz wrote in his resignation letter on Monday afternoon. “It has been a pleasure and honor to work with you, and, rest assured, I will continue to fight with you to get Democrats elected.”

The Capitolist reported in November that after enduring historic losses on election night that saw the Republican Party of Florida flip several districts red en route to attaining a supermajority, Diaz received scrutiny from the local and national arms of his party.

In the leadup to midterm elections, Diaz faced criticisms from national party leader Thomas Kennedy, who demanded Diaz relinquish his role after the midterms concluded because 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 ran deeper, lamenting the lack of presence the Democrats hold in Florida.

In the days following the midterm elections, rising Democrat star Sen. Shevrin Jones published a letter to his Twitter account in response to the disastrous election cycle.

“It’s no secret that last night was riddled with disappointment for Democrats in Florida,” Jones said the day after midterms.

In a blunt statement that painted his feelings towards Diaz as party leader in a resounding fashion, Jones compared the gains that Republicans made 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.”

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 bid for the position.

Politico Playbook in November reported that ousted central Florida state Representative Carlos G. Smith could also be in line to succeed Diaz, while former gubernatorial candidate Annette Taddeo could also be in the running.


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